Bell Bottoms Are Back! (But Holey & In Need of Repair)

Don’t take my word for it because I kinda hear what I want, and wear what I like. I had heard that they were making a come back though, and I found a super cute pair at the store that fit really well.

They were on the sale rack though so I guess this means they’ll be on their way out again, better snatch up this style before you can’t find it for another decade or two. For a while I wasn’t seeing anything but skinny jeans in the store! Not that I mind skinny jeans, they are good for showing off boots.

Kind of Off Subject: Fav Shoes To Wear With Flares

I have quite a boot collection since many jeans shrink to be 1 – 2 inches shorter than I prefer, and cold feet run in my family. I am a super fan of Bear Paw boots because they solve both of these problems.

Why would I talk about boots in a post about bell bottoms? Well if you have ever worn them in wet weather you understand!

I’ve found that if I wear my water-proofed Bear Paw boots with my flares, then water could soak up almost to the knee before I might feel it. These days I’m not usually in the weather that long, but it’s nice to know I’ll stay comfortable even if I step in a massive puddle.

When I’m not wearing sandals in the warm season, my ankle boots are my favorite pairing, and do the job of keeping me a comfortable temperature, and keeping my feet dry (you know how cats hate wet feet…).

I was however surprised at the fact you can barely see my giant tall Bear Paw boots under my flares. I thought they might make my calves look lumpy, but they don’t!

Back to Fashionable & Functional Flares

It had been such a long time since I’d had a good pair of flare jeans. I missed them! I think flares are one of the styles that look great on those with curvy hips and skinnier ankles. It balances the shape and makes one look less knocked kneed as my mom would say.

The ones I found at Rue 21 were a super comfortable, fitted, ripped-jeans style. I usually won’t buy a ripped style because I like my jeans to last longer, and I usually end up ripping them at some inconvenient point in time.

Ripped jeans just don’t have longevity in my care. Once there is a tear in the knee, I will inevitably rush through getting dressed and pretty much tear off a pant leg in the process of putting them on.

This leaves me with the possibility of some board shorts but feels like a waste of money if I have gotten at least a year worth of wear out of them before that happens.

All that being said these jeans were on sale for around $18 and they reminded me of my favorite jeans in high school (which I had ripped myself). I didn’t patch those quick enough and destroyed them as a result. You live and you learn…

If you also are sad your best bell bottoms are gone, you can try your luck at your local Rue 21, or you can take a peek and see if Amazon has anything to offer you. I liked this pair below, and they look to be a little longer than mine, which would be good for me!

My new bell bottoms/flares are a bigger size, a lighter color, and are high-wasted (instead of the dreaded low-rise that was so popular in the late 90’s early 2000s).

They are a very similar cut in leg-shape. The biggest changes being the higher waist, and having super comfortable stretch fabric. Even though they look similar, my new jeans are a super improvement over my originals. They are so darn cute and comfortable I couldn’t pass them up.

Is Patching Jeans a Tradition?

I did have it in mind to patch them when I bought them because I’ve always liked that look. I’ve always thought of both my parents as hippies, but my mom said my dad was the real flower child.

While most people think of sewing as passed down by the women in their family, my mom had actually been taught by her father. He had once been a tailor, before his career as an insurance salesman.

What I remember was my mom patching all sorts of things of when I was a kid. She patched anything from holiday decor, to stuffed animals, to shirts and sweaters, and many pairs of pants. I guess some lessons do stick with us.

Anyhow even though I intended to patch the jeans when I bought them I probably would have procrastinated for much longer if I hadn’t almost ripped off the leg the first time I put them on. How did I know?!

So before I totally ruined my new favorite jeans I thought I’d better patch them, before washing! I am not fully new to sewing as my mom taught me some tips and tricks.

It’s easier to hand sew patches on jeans if you don’t have a sewing machine with a really long throat area. Even though sewing down the pants leg is pretty easy, I find it challenging sewing across the leg on a machine and prefer hand-sewing jeans patches.

I bought a beautiful fashion fabric in a traditional style under the Pioneer Woman brand. I believe it was called Vintage Floral. I found the pattern I used at Walmart. It looks like the Pioneer Woman fabric is being sold exclusively at Walmart for the time being.

I’m sure I could have found something suitable in my fabric hoard, but I wanted something eye-catching and colorful and when I saw this one I couldn’t pass it up. I have enough fabric left, and I might make myself something to match at some point. I am thinking it would make a great swing top.

Preparing Patches

I started out hand sewing a hem on my patches using a running stitch. It’s worth the extra time to hide the raw edge of the fabric. It gives everything a tidier appearance and it makes repairs last longer. I did this step before hand sewing them onto the jeans. You could probably just fold and pin (or iron in your hem instead of sewing it before you sewed it to your pants) but I found this way easiest for me.

You really don’t need anything fancy to get started with hand-sewing. I do have some thoughts if you are buying one though. I like kits that keep supplies organized. One with a seam ripper is helpful. It’s easier to remove stitches with a seam ripper, if something unplanned happens. I also think putting some thoughts into what you sew is helpful. I stitch a lot of different colored items. I find it helpful to have a variety of colors to choose from. I’ve also considered trying embroidery, but I haven’t jumped down that rabbit hole yet!

Making Mistakes

I ended up machine sewing the hem on the bigger patches, and then hand sewing those patches onto the jeans. The last machine hem I did backwards (which doesn’t make a huge difference when you sew them on the inside of your pants).

On the right side of this picture is where I messed up. I should have folded the hem onto the pretty side instead of away from it.

I could have picked out the seam and sewed the patch correctly, but no one but me (and blog readers) sees it, and I don’t think the longevity will be greatly decreased. I left it as is. Time is money!

Could you have left the mistake as is? I hear the sewing community as a whole is very detail oriented, and has trouble with perfectionism. Is this something that would bother you enough to fix it?

If it was for someone else I would have fixed my mistake. Since it’s for me I decided it wasn’t important at the moment.

Sewing On Patches

My favorite way to sew on jeans patches is a running stitch that isn’t super tight. I didn’t pre-wash my fabric or my jeans so I knew there would be some shrinking.

If you don’t make the stitch too tight, it allows for a generous amount of movement and stretch, especially if you chose cotton fabric. I used a light blue thread for most of the patches so it isn’t super noticeable from the outer side of the jeans.

Why did I chose to make the patches so big? Well with the amount of holes they put in these jeans, I figured it would be less work.

I stand by my decision to make big patches and cover multiple holes at a time. If you have the time sewing individual patches closer to the frayed edge could slow the fray more, but it might also mean your patch loses integrity and falls off faster. You can make your own decision about which method is best for you.

Take Care When Washing

I turn my jeans inside out when I wash and dry them. Your stitches should hold up nicely to the wash, and are certainly better at taking a beating than the part that is trying to unravel.

Keeping the frayed area inside the jeans will slow the fraying substantially, and I think you will be surprised at how much longer a frayed pair of jeans will last if you use this patching technique and wash your jeans inside-out. The fact that the jeans last so much longer is why I patch them (versus wearing a pair of leggings underneath, or letting skin show).

Wrapping It Up

I love my patched flare jeans and really enjoy wearing them. I had had some concerns that the cotton-blend fabric I had chosen was too thin to hold up in the knee area, but so far so good. The patches are holding up really well to both wear and washing. I have no complaints so far other than the fact that I don’t feel as young as I did the last time I was sporting bellbottoms!

How do you feel about patching clothing? Do you like the vintage feel or do you feel like it’s a look better left in the past?

Do you know of a fun patching technique you’d like to share? Leave it in the comments or send me a message.

Thanks for reading with me today!

Kat @CraftingGlow

P.S. Apparently holey is a real word, grammarist said so. Here I thought it was made up! You thought I never spell-checked, didn’t you?

From Grammarist:

Holey means full of holes. It is a perfectly good word, no matter what spell check says. Its more common homophone holy has several definitions: 1. sacred, or associated with a deity; 2. worthy of worship; 3. saintly; 4. deserving reverence.


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