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How to sew knee patches with a free cat template

How to sew knee patchesMy kids have been rough on their clothes lately, so I have another mending tutorial to share! This is an easy sewing tutorial for how to sew knee patches; you can follow these steps with any shape you’d like but I share the kitty face template if you want to copy it exactly, too! My daughter was over the moon about her new kitty knee pants and I love saving them from further disrepair or the landfill.

hole to be mended

Here’s a ‘before’ of the hole so you can see what I was working with, it wasn’t huge but the whole knee area was starting to thin as well so I figured I’d go big.

tutorials to mend kid's clothes

If you want more templates (including some exclusive to the ebook) and more tutorials to read on patching options, check out my e-book on the topic!

If you like this post, check out these other posts while you’re here!

mended kids clothes diy knee patch

Ta-da! The after; I couldn’t get her to stand straight to save my life but I love how they turned out. I was tempted to flip one kitty face upside down so it was looking up at her but chickened out, asymmetry is a challenge for me.

diy iron on patch free pattern

I did this with all machine stitching but it would be perfect for some sashiko stitches too, don’t you think?

Pin this how to sew knee patches tutorial for later using this link or collage image:

diy knee patch tutorial

How to sew knee patches


  • 1 pair of pants or shirt to mend
  • Denim scraps
  • Free PDF pattern-sign up for my newsletter and get the free download once you confirm your subscription! If you’re already a subscriber, you can access the pattern with the password in each newsletter, in the resource library.

There are three ways of sewing a patch like this on with a machine and I thought I’d take a picture of two of them; the third is to seam rip the side seam and sew the patch on flat and then sew the side seam back up. The best choice will depend on  your patience and the size of the pants! These were a 5/6 pair, for reference with the size of the kitty face.

Here is method two, where you can see I’ve just mashed and moved the fabric around so I’m making sure not to sew through both layers.

Method three is to utilize your machine’s free arm, sliding the pant leg over it and slowly shifting it around.


step 1 heat n bond

Step 1- Print pattern out and then trace it with the heat n bond sticky stuff down. In an ideal world I’d just print the pattern directly on to heat n bond sheets, but my inkjet printer was out of ink! My hands shake a lot so pretend the tracing is more precise.

Step 2– Cut roughly around the shape and iron sticky side down on to the wrong side of the scrap you’re using. These are pink scraps from this denim upcycle project!

Step 3– Carefully cut out along the lines and peel the paper backing off.

machine sewing mending

Step 4– I used a zig-zag stitch to darn over the hole, with a few straight stitches backward & forward at the beginning and end of each row to secure them.

diy iron on patch tutorial

Step 5– Position the patch over the hole and iron on according to the package instructions.

raw stitch applique cat

Step 6– Last but not least, stitch around the edges! After experimentation, I found it was easier to take a straight line over the whiskers instead of doing a true loop around the edges

cat sewing project

And you’re done!

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Beth E Bennett

Sunday 25th of October 2020

I would like to get the cat face patch please

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Monday 26th of October 2020

Hi beth, it is free for newsletter subscribers, look under 'supplies' for a link and then confirm your email and it'll send you a link and password to get the PDF!


Wednesday 29th of April 2020

Dear Stephanie, Thank you for the detailed patch tutorial. Please could you describe to me how you turn the leg of the trousers on the arm the sewing machine tó sew round the cat face? I have plenty of trousers to sew for two 4 & 6 year old kids haha Many thanks in advance. Emese

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Wednesday 29th of April 2020

Hi Emese! I have a picture before the "steps" comment of 2 options; it depends a little on how big the pants are, how stretchy they are, how patient you are in terms of what will be easiest. The absolute easiest way to do it is to seam rip up one side and sew it flat, then sew the seam back together! Let me know if that helps, maybe I need to do a video for this tutorial :D

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