Custom leather knee-patches

Our 5-year-old wears holes in his jeans faster than any other kid I know. A new pair of jeans last approximately 3 weeks until the knees wear through! Given that I’m constantly having to patch them, and then replace the patches that he wears through, I thought I’d try laser cutting some leather patches to see how they fared.

Using a drawing that Olly made, and also tracing his handwriting, I made an EPS file with pre-cut 1mm holes round the edge: the drawings and text were heavy raster engraved and outlined with heavy vector engraving for better definition. I then selected the 1.5mm upholstery leather in driftwood from the NZ catalogue.

The patches turned out well and in January 2012, I hand sewed them on:

In less than 2 weeks, however, it became apparent that I shouldn’t have used heavy vector engraving, as it cut right through some places in the leather. One of the patches didn’t stand up to being worn nearly every day:

So I re-made this patch, using medium vector engraving.

After nearly 4 months of hard wearing, concrete scratching, machine washing and machine drying, the patches are still working. They’re not as crisp as they used to be, they’re covered in paint from school and have been scribbled on with pen - but they’ve certainly done the job better than any other patches I’ve ever used. I took this photo 10 minutes after I pulled the jeans out of the dryer:


I'll definitely make more of these, and have learned that: bigger-sized patches work better; because it's a natural product the material thickness varies; and medium vector engraving is good to use as it won't cut fully through the leather.



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