When I was 18ish, I worked in fast food.  In fact, I worked my way up from the drive-thru girl to a shift leader.  Yay for me.  But I hated spending tons of money ordering out of the company uniform catalog, especially for things like pants.  Then again, it was harder than hell to find a decent pair of work pants that didn’t make me look twice as big as I am.  So I made a few pairs of pants, but I was never honestly very happy with any of them.

One pair that I made had a center back zipper (don’t ask, I have no idea how anyone thought that was a good idea) and I was in a hurry to finish them in time for work.  So I did a good job of basting in the zipper and skipped machine sewing it in planning to finish it when I got home that night.  At the time I had a penchant for those lacy boy-shorts style panties, they were pretty but still comfortable to wear all day long.  That day I happened to be wearing a nude-colored pair.  As I bagged orders at the counter one of the guys, a few years older than me and a little gross looking though very nice, was cleaning tables in the dining room.  He was one of the ones that I had noticed leering at me before, but I ignored it.  Until that day.  My careful stitches had apparently come loose, and he came up behind me and made a suggestive comment that I won’t repeat here.  Mortified, I ran to the office, tied the nearest jacket around my waist (it happened to belong to the assistant manager who spent equal amounts of time flirting with me and explaining why us dating would be like cats and dogs forced to cohabitation), and then I called the AM who’s jacket I had appropriated over to inform him that I was going home to change right then.  No discussions.

It wasn’t the last time that a pants failure would send me running home from work to change.  Though I’ve avoided that particular hazard since then, I’ve had more pairs of pants just flat wear through the inseam than I care to count.

Think back about the last 3 or 4 pair of pants that you had to throw out because they were worn out.  What was wrong with them?  If you’re like me, the most common wear and tear injury to my clothes is a worn out inseam.  Plus sized girls have to deal with thigh rub, which is no fun all by it’s self.  But to have to throw out an otherwise perfectly good pair of pants because you’d worn holes in the inner thighs?  That bugs me to no end.  It’s hard enough to find pants that have pockets, no pleats, and are sturdy enough to stand up to daily wear at work.

Men’s work jeans often have a double layer of fabric in their highest wear areas: the front of the thigh and the knees.  But women’s jeans don’t have a corresponding option.  So here’s what I did with my current pants today:

See the lovely worn spots?  I’ve even got some baby holes sprouting up there next to the seam.

Entrance stage right, one pair of matching iron on patches (repair type, not decorative type).

Heat up your iron with the steam turned off.  Double check the tag of the pants to make sure that they’re 100% cotton or able to take a high heat ironing.

On the right side of the pants, center the patch over the worn area (or the area that you know that you frequently wear out).  Patch should be shiny side down.  Mine has most of the patch on the back part of the leg with a little overlap on the front part of the leg, covering the inseam.  When the pants are on, unless I’m being very unladylike in how I sit, you’d never know that I have patches.

Press for 40-45 seconds.  Repeat as needed if you’re unable to cover the patch completely with the iron the first time around.

Let cool and check that it’s fully adhered to the fabric.

Using a wide zig-zag stitch with a short stitch length, stitch around the edge of the patch.  This will seal the edges down to your pants to prevent fraying and peeling.

With a new pair of pants, you might want to wear them a time or two first to determine where you put stress on the fabric before you reinforce them.  But it’s better to reinforce them early rather than when you’ve already got holes starting.  Because the longer you go, the better your chances that when you bend or squat down at work to pick something up, you’ll split out your inseam and have to go home for a change of clothes.

And that, my friends, is bad news indeed.