A piece of fabric stitched over another for primarily practical or decorative reason. Leather patches sometime come as part of the package with a tweed jacket purchase – designed to be worn for countryside pursuits or rural labours the elbow areas wear out long before the body. Patching is not only commonplace, but something of a design feature, and a right of passage for a good quality garment.

In furnishings, accidental tears or indelible marks are caused by a variety of means, not least by children –  toys, pencils, pens, rumpus and buckles. The arms of sofas and chairs, the hems of curtains and corners of cushions are particularly vulnerable to damage and therefore open to the remedy of patching. A good textile can always withstand a patch or two, even a sewn on strip, both in terms of the stitching and of how it looks. In fact, for dens and high useage rooms the question of how the fabric can be repaired when it becomes damaged  is a main consideration of the selection process.

It’s a question of making the patches well- not many of  us have the time, or the inclination, to exactly match one pattern to another when it comes to repair work, so the challenge is to make it look purposeful.

Patching is more than likely to  be required in hard wear areas, places that are already busy, and even chaotic at times, where the odd patch to two can just blend in with everything else. An option is to  add more than the patch that’s currently needed – look to the places that might be next in line and do these as well, or replace a whole arm and then the outside back and a cushion, for example, so that it looks intended. Another trick is to make, or extend the  patches into pockets – again so that they look planned.

Etro produced a chair with each plane in a different  colour and even fabric, many years ago, and right now patchwork in general is quite fashionable. So thats’ another way to go- replace one  section at a time, with a remnant or an offcut from another room, or collected,  or picked up on your travels.

Making patches is an applique technique. Shaped cut-outs from similar or diverse materials are stitched to a main fabric – these can be more or less intricately worked, depending as much on the strength and weight of the materials as the end use.


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