If you’re Rhinebeck-bound, we would love to see you at Jill Draper’s studio in Kingston on Saturday night–details here.

Can I Boro Your Jeans?

Dear Ann,
Ever since your fan-pfaffing-tastic post featuring boro textiles, it’s been all boro, all the time around here. Anything that is getting a little scruffy, I feel like I ought to put a patch on. Trouble is, it’s a quick slide back to my personal 1970s, with ‘patchwork’ print fabric (polyester double-knit being the medium of choice), hippy embroidery on dirty jeans (“Um, Kay, the blue eyeshadow and hot-rollered hair? Not so Janis Joplin.”), and the dreaded iron-on fake denim patches that never faded, but slowly peeled off your pants, leaving you utterly humiliated.
I exSPECIALLY like the idea of knitted denim patches. (Is there anyone who didn’t see that coming?)
Joseph has a pair of Original Fit jeans from the Gap. Size 6, so skinny they could make you cry. One knee is kaflooey and the other one has a white spot that is going to blow any minute. They are the perfect length, just grazing the tops of his sneakers. Since his ankles surely will be peeking out by Thanksgiving, I didn’t want to buy another pair in this size. I had no choice, really, but to knit up two denim patches.
Installation was easy, since I have a million yards of 2-ply Texere denim, which makes tough sewing thread.
I sewed the cable patch on the inside, to preserve the cool-looking hole.
Joseph put them on and wore them for about 12 hours before he noticed anything different. When he asked, I told him, in my best la-la-la-there-is-nothing-wrong-here tone of voice, that they were patches to cover the holes in his jeans.
As you have pointed out, boys can be quite linear in their reasoning. Joseph now insists that the cable patch be removed and put on the outside, to better serve my stated purpose of covering the hole. The hole still shows. Who can argue with that?
The inside cable patch looks so cute when he bends his knees. I am going to try to wait him out. HAHAHAHAHAHA.
And not for nothing, but even Lilly Pulitzer is jumping on the boro bandwagon:
Bless her heart, this girl had to cut up all her capris to make a pair of jeans! Seriously, I think this concept would be way cuter on a little girl whose mom has a righteous stash of Amy Butler fabric, for example.
Three Hours to Buy a Witch Costume
My kids used to wear handmade Halloween costumes that were months in the planning and shipped all the way from Nebraska by my best-friend-since-second-grade, who cares truly, madly and deeply about Halloween costumes and the hand-making thereof. Those days are gone. These days we go to Ricky’s and buy cheesy costumes like everybody else. A dubious ‘vampire’ dress, a wig-hat, and a makeup kit, and you’re good to go. One match and you’d melt into a puddle of polymer, but you’re plenty scary:
The key is finding the right stoop to stand in front of.
But most New Yorkers don’t really have to dress up for Halloween.
(Aw just kiddin’ Jane and Leslie! MUCH hair and makeup was required to make you look like horrible crones. SO MUCH!)
Have a great trick or treat,
Love, Kay




  1. I love the patches, especially the cabled one that preserves the artful knee hole. I have just the pair of jeans in mind for similar repairs.

  2. i love stories where knitters’ children demand to display more of their parents’ handwork, rather than the (much-dreaded — but is it inevitable?) refusal to wear anything hand-made. (i confess to tearing a lemon-yellow scalloped-crochet touque from my head as soon as i was out of mum’s view for an entire winter, in TIMMINS, Ontario, no less– timmins is the coldest place i have ever lived) but have now passed to The Other Side. thankfully, the boys are still young enough to not care very much…

  3. I want jeans JUST LIKE THAT! [I’m amazed, as an aside, that a) he will wear them now that he has discovered you patched them, and b) that he actually WANTS that cabled patch on the outside! Cabled? On the OUTSIDE? For a BOY?! Score!]

  4. Quick! Copyright and patent that. Sue CK next year over knit patches. And what Norma said.

  5. Oooh, I like the patches. What gauge you using there? You know me, I’d go for the smallest gauge possible in homage to the incredibly meticulous patches those boro makers made. You know, a patch on a patch on a patch. Teeny patches. When these patches wear through, you just add another patch.

  6. ….such wonderfully supportive children, kay……and you must be setting all sorts of trends in the N.Y.C. school system!

  7. coolest. mom. ever.
    the cable patch peeking out behind the frayed edges of the hole looks fantastic.

  8. Hey Kay, I’m sure I could find some things that need mending if you start running low…
    Best Halloween costume ever: kid dons my mother’s old safari jacket. Adds t-shirt, khakis and a baseball cap. Slings camera case around neck. Spends happy morning cutting out animal pictures from National Geographic and pasting them into a spiral bound notebook. Ta Da! Wildlife Photographer!!

  9. Love the patches! And those are a couple of skeery witches there.

  10. finally a great idea to fix my favorite old jeans so my husband will stop rolling his eyes when i wear the ripped pair.

  11. Great — suggest that you have the parents’ association at Joseph’s school auction the patches
    at the next fundraiser!

  12. I am totally stealing – I mean “boro-ing” your patch idea.

  13. I love the idea of the patch going on the inside. I may have to cut a hole in my jeans this instant.

  14. EEEEK! Those Lilly Pulitzer jeans scare me.

  15. You definitely need to patent the idea. Pronto. And, you can always tell your son it is to keep the cold air out–and the patch can do that equally well on the inside.

  16. Oh GOSH, I LOVE the jeans patch idea! And I have so much motherscratching Texere that I could just knit a pair of jeans with it.

  17. Ditto what Susan said –

  18. Hi Kay! I realize this is a little off topic, but I was just curious about your wool allergy…I haven’t knitted too terribly much with wool, aside from the buttonhole bags and a few other felted projects. This past week or so I have been working on Fuzzy Feet (from Knitty) for Christmas and after working on them, my hands itch and my eyes get all puffy and itchy. Do you think it is the wool, Dr. Kay?
    P.S. The quilt to knit conversion is finally in progress. I got the Tahaki Cotton in the mail Friday. Thanks so much!!

  19. Man I am so in awe of your excellent ultra chic and cool patching work- you should be doing it on used levis for designer boutiques. Seriously! They’d go down an absolute treat with my local fashionista (they’re a picky bunch too).

  20. I have to say those are way cool patches Kay. I need to get some jeans so i can copy you.
    No. Wait. You’ve just solved my cable problem. I’ve been trying to find a nice cable to use on the front of my Kersti sweater. It’s stalled because the cable in the pattern is not symmetrical. I want to alter the neck to be a v neck and I really can’t bear an asymmetric centre cable on a v-neck. Um, yes I am that obsessive.
    Now I’m going to play around with versions of the one you’ve done. You can bet I’ve just sat here at work copying the picture onto a post-it note. You’re a genius! Cheers!

  21. ‘Tho I didn’t go whole hog and knit the patch, I did once fix my daughter’s jeans (one of the holes was not on the knee!) like the “Joseph (now) heirloom embellished jeans”, with red plaid flannel on the inside of the just-below-the-back-pocket hole and red thermal (old long-johns from the rag bag) inside the knee holes. (She was in 8th grade and preferred the holes, so the inside patches were a compromise which I really liked once they were done). Imagine my surprize/outrage when her math teacher told her she couldn’t wear the jeans to school because the patches made them look raggedy!! After a short talk with the principal, she was allowed to wear them and the fact that the math teacher had complained made them that much cooler! (Several of her friends came over to rummage in my rag bag and we gave “Patching 101” lessons). I never could talk her or my other girls into the beautiful hand embroidered denim patches left over from my high school baby sitting busy work. Sigh. Well, there’s always the 5yr old and her denim jacket…..

  22. I enjoy the creative things on your blog, and thought you might appreciate this quilt seen on an astronomy website. Here is the link http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap051016.html

  23. Some friends told me about this site, and now i’m glad they told me about it. Astonishing Boy Win or not: http://www.euronews.net/ , Table will Game unconditionally to Anticipate Circle you should be very Astonishing , Profound Plane becomes Small Player in final Do Grass is very good Chair


A bit of news from us, every now and again.

(Your email is safe with us.)