Ever get sick of buying new gear? Does your gear get torn up as much as mine does? I know you street hockey guys especially know what I’m talking about. So far I’ve been fortunate enough to only go through two pairs of shin guards, one pair of gloves, and a pair of elbow pads in the past three years of playing once a week. Although my gear is incredibly smelly by now, it is still hanging in there. As far as the shin guards, all it took was a little bit of duct tape to mend them up after they cracked. However, my gloves took a little more TLC to last this long.
I noticed that my gloves kept getting small holes after 3 -4 weeks of play. The holes eventually got big enough for me to feel the tape on the top of my stick. As weeks went on, my finger started poking through small (dime- to quater-sized) holes which was really annoying. If you’ve read any of my other posts, you probably get that I am kind of cheap when it comes to gear that I know I’m going to be thrashing up anyway, so I needed a cheap fix. I didn’t want to use hockey tape because that only lasts a few games, plus I didn’t like the sticky feeling on my hands while gripping my hockey stick. After a couple months of trying different things, I finally came up with a solution. Patches.
One problem with this quick fix: I couldn’t find any patches (similar to the suede-style material) meant for hockey gloves. When I finally came across something that was similar it had a weak adhesive on the back that wasn’t worth wasting the $2.00 to have it come off the next time I played. So… I manned up and went to the local craft store. I found a material in their Vinyl section called “Spradling”. The material said it has 100% PVC face with 100% mesh backing. The color I chose was “White Whisper”… go figure. I purchased a foot or two of the material for $22.00/yard. I know this may seem expensive, but you will get a TON of patches from a small amount of material. I also purchased some black “Outdoor Strength” thread for around $3.00 to sew the patches on.
Go to the craft store? SEW?? I know what you’re thinking…how can I be as cool as you? It’s OK, just because I’m an Eagle Scout and I earned my sewing merit badge many years ago doesn’t mean you can’t do this too. Don’t worry, it is VERY easy to sew the patches on. The last thing I needed was a bottle of super glue that I found at the local dollar store for, you guessed it, a dollar (for a 2 pack).
As you can see below, all you will need is the material previously mentioned, a pair of scissors, a sewing needle, and thread.
Step 1: Making a Patch
- Eyeball the size (and shape) of patch you will need to cover the hole. It is important to add an additional 1/8th of an inch -or so- to each side to make sure you have enough room around the hole for the thread to attach.
- Cut a rather long piece of thread from the spool. Loop it through the needle and tie the ends together.
Step 3: Sew the Patch
- Align the patch so it is centered over the hole. Stick the needle through the patch first then stick the needle through the glove.
- Make sure to only poke the needle through the area around the hole. You will also be going around the hole (rather than looping the thread from the outside then back into the hole and up.
- Continue this until you have completely bordered the patch.
- You will want to end with the needle pointing toward you (rather than inside the glove). This will make it a lot easier to tie off the thread.
Step 4: Finishing the Patch
- Once everything has been sewn together, you will have two ends of thread poking up.
- Take the super glue and put one drop over each of the knots where you tied of the thread (for your first and last stitch). This is done so that the thread will not fray or come undone.
- Let the glue dry and you are ready to play.
- Below, I provided a picture of the gloves I’ve been using for the past three years so you can see how many patches I’ve put on over the years. This should give you a good idea of what the finished patch should look like.
If you want to go even more extreme you can replace the whole entire palm of the glove. I would suggest against that though. I have been working on a pair of gloves for a year or so that both need the palms replaced. This not only takes a lot of time, but takes a great deal of patience. I would HIGHLY suggest just maintaining your gloves and have 5 or 10 patches on the palm rather than having to replace the whole palm or even a finger or two.
I will try to make an update if ever I eventually get those gloves done so you guys can see how they look. Let me know how it goes for you and if it was worth your time or money. I figure a $10.00 investment now could prevent you from having to spend $100s on gloves in the future.