Being a typical little boy, my son Robert is a master of ripping the knees out of his jeans. I saw some inspiring Pinterest posts showing monster knee patches and decided to create my own version. To begin, I made a sketch and got some feedback from my little man. He actually wanted the entire Monster to be blue, including the inside of his mouth. We had a discussion on color theory; he gave me a blank stare that said, “you’re crazy”. I played with Illustrator a little bit more and we finally settled on this…
Click to download the pattern for free.
Next, I went to the fabric store without Robert (hallelujah) and picked up some quilting fabric in dark blue, light blue, red and black. I also picked up some medium sized ric rac (monster teeth), some buttons I was going to use as eyes, and embroidery floss. I already had some fusible interfacing at home, so I used that to trace the pattern pieces onto. The interfacing serves two purposes: making the fabric thicker and more durable and making it easier to sew the design. I just used a fine point Sharpie to trace the designs:
And again, with all the tracing finished … Note: I ended up skipping the eyelids by the end; they are far too small to deal with.
Now that I had all of pattern pieces traced onto the interfacing, I cut each piece out and attached each of them to the wrong side of the fabric. If you accidentally iron on the wrong side of the interfacing; remember you can fix your iron. Once the pieces are attached, go ahead and trim off the excess fabric, leaving about 1/4″ seam.
Fabric with interfacing attached:
Monster pieces cut out, showing seam allowances (and “helpful” 3.5 year old):
I forgot to add a detail in the pattern about cutting out the black circle for the mouth background. All you need to do is use the pattern shape of the body (top and bottom of the mouth combined), trace it and cut it out.
Next, I took the black background and attached the tongue, using an applique stitch to attach the tongue. I stuck with a simple single stitch on the bottom section of the tongue, since that part won’t show on the patch and doing a wide, applique stitch would add bulk. Once the back of the mouth and tongue are attached, pin it onto the knee hole and hand stitch all the way around the edge. Make sure you stitch it on well, this thing is going to get some abuse.
Now it’s time to make the mouth. Fold over the edge of the tooth line on both the top and bottom jaw, pin on the ric rac, and sew it in place. Pay attention to how the ric rac is placed, since you want your monster “teeth” to be fairly centered.
Once the teeth are sewn on, trim the extra seam allowance from mouth pieces, pin the mouth onto the lighter blue background, and once again use an applique stitch to combine them.
You’ll notice that in my picture the black background for the mouth is shown. I realized later that this was less than ideal because parts of the background didn’t get grabbed by the blanket stitch, causing part of the “tongue” to want to bunch out of the mouth when the patch was finished. Lesson learned.
For the eyes I was going to use some buttons, but I thought that might get uncomfortable and decided to hand embroider eyes onto the monster. Actually, I tried to convince Robert that the monster didn’t really need eyes. His response, “but how will he see?!”. So I drew them on using a fabric pencil and embroidered the eyes before sewing the patch in place:
Now comes the super annoying part. Because you’re sewing onto a finished jean leg, you have to hand sew the patch onto the knee. Through thick denim material. Ugg… I went ahead and folded the seam allowance over the edge of the “furry” background, hand stitched it onto the jean leg, and then added some fun blue, embroidery floss detailing to the outside.
I stayed up way too late sewing this patch onto his jeans, but I did get a number of episodes of Veronica Mars in in the process. Robert woke up the next morning and was absolutely thrilled about his new monster. He insists on wearing these jeans all the time now, and is already looking forward to new monster patches in the future.
Maybe I’ll come up with a slightly simpler version for next time…