A piece set in a garment to take the place of a worn or torn part. A patch is used when the hole is too large to be darned.
There are many ways of patching. Different kinds and values of materials and the amount of strain which will be put upon the repaired portion call forth different treatment. The repairing necessary in garments when certain parts have worn out and must be replaced, such as cuffs on shirt waists and hems on skirts, is also called patching, but it requires special knowledge of the making of the different parts needing renewing.
It is better to take an old piece of the same material for the patch as the new will often tear away the fabric. If the old cannot be obtained, new material of a lighter quality than the original condition of the old will serve better in a very old garment than the original. The pattern, if there is one, should be very carefully matched; the right side of the patch should come on the right side of the material; warp threads should join warp threads and the woof, the woof. If there is a nap, as in flannel, it must run the same way as it does on the garment.
The worn place must be examined to decide on the size of the hole as well as on any weak parts beyond it which may need strengthening. The character of the material and the strain it must bear, must be considered to determine the manner of repairing. When the garment is very old, worth little trouble, and does not have to be laundered, the simplest means of patching may be used, such as running or hemming the right side of the garment to the patch and overcasting the raw edges on the wrong side. If, however, the material is of value, the strain on the place small and the repair must be as invisible as possible the patch may be cut the exact size of the hole, and darning or fine drawing may be used to hold it in place. When a very substantial patch is needed in a garment which will be laundered, a quite different treatment will be required. In such cases both the right and the wrong side of the garment must be strong and complete. To prepare for this there must be careful calculation of the exact size needed for the patch. The hole and any weak parts must be covered and folds must be turned in on the garment and on the patch. The thread for repairing depends on the character of the material. Where seams are to be made fine, strong thread should be used.
When the size of the part needing strengthening, the manner of repairing it and the required dimensions of the patch have been considered, the hole must be prepared for patching. If a square or oblong patch will serve best, the center of the place needing it must first be found. A crease (or a line of basting stitches) should be made down the warp through this center, and another crease should be made along the woof. Both creases should extend well beyond the hole. Where the lines cross (or should cross if a hole is worn) is the center of the hole. The hole must now be cleared and prepared. It is usually cut square or oblong (circular patches are seldom desirable. Irregular edges are sometimes left in wool material which is to be darned down on the patch.) The piece cut out of the garment may be used as a guide in matching. If, however, a hole has been worn, the repairing material can be slipped underneath and the pattern matched. The center of the patch as well as the garment should be indicated by creased or basted lines. Measure the patch from its center along the creased lines and cut it out as exactly as possible. Prepare it according to its special requirements. When folds must be made on the raw edges of the patch, turn two opposite sides before folding the clear sides over them so there will be regularity at the corners. The creased lines in both the garment and the patch should make the final matching an easy matter.
Patching requires judgment on the part of the worker. It is not enough to simply teach a child how to make a certain kind of patch under given circumstances. She should have experience in deciding what to do. It is better not to rely on dictation for teaching the subject. Each step should be thought out and various kinds of holes cut by the children, so they may learn to calculate the size of the patch for themselves.
The same kind of hole in varying materials necessitates an entirely different treatment. For illustration, where a worn place in silk merely requires a piece of the same placed underneath, matching the pattern, but held down with a minimum of stitches showing on the surface, a similar worn place in a linen pillow-case must be patched and strongly sewed, with hems turned back, that it may stand the laundry. Comparison of ways of repairing, as well as much practice, should be given to the classes. Darning and patching are often required on the same worn place. The classes must consider how best to preserve garments. A good gown is often ruined by poor repair.
Repairing of parts of garments such as cuffs, hems, collars and under arms, should be discussed also by the classes. When a patch is to be put under the arm, the seam should be opened, the material separated from the lining, the patch inserted and the parts again united. The teacher should bring to the class garments requiring repairing of various kinds and also examples of patching. The children should also, when possible, bring small garments needing repairing from home. Small articles or parts of garments can be made in the class and repaired. The whole subject should have thorough discussion.
Practice in paper is an excellent means of teaching patching. Manila or striped tissue paper may be used. In classes where there is not time to make all the different kinds of patches, certain varieties may be made in paper alone so the children may get ideas on methods of handling.
Circular patches are sometimes used in table linen, in the knees of boys' trousers and in the elbows of their coats. The wear on these points makes it sometimes desirable to have seams turned in the cloth. They can be stitched in, stretched into shape usually without nicking, dampened and pressed with a hot iron.
As the object of patching is to make an invisible repair, the material to be used for the patch should be as similar to the garment as possible. The use of old material, the washing of the new or the fading of it in the sun often helps to accomplish this.
It is advisable that each one who will make the following kinds of patching should vary the place and the shape of the hole to be repaired and decide for herself on the size of the repairing piece. For the sake of clearness a definite shape will be described in the practice pieces.