How to Cover Up Burn Holes in Clothes

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Maybe you got too close to the campfire. Or maybe you or a friend who smokes accidentally flicked a bit of ash in the wrong direction. Either way, now there is a small but obvious hole burned in your clothing. Whether it is a shirt or a pair of pants, you don’t have to toss out the burned item just because of one or two small holes. There are a couple of different ways to cover up or repair them, saving you money and saving your clothes in the process.

Things You'll Need

  • Patch or decorative applique
  • Straight pins
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Scissors

Patching

Lay the garment on a flat surface like a counter top or table, positioned so that the hole is visible and can be worked on.

Place the patch over the hole, rearranging it if necessary until you’re satisfied with its position and how it looks on the garment.

Pin the patch securely into place with the straight pins.

Sew the patch to the garment with the needle and thread. Use small stitches to keep them as invisible as possible.

Pull the needle and thread to the wrong side of the fabric and tie a knot in the thread close to the cloth. Cut the thread with the scissors.

Mending

Thread the needle and tie a knot in the thread.

Place your hand inside the garment so that one or two of your fingers are directly beneath the hole, supporting the fabric around it.

Draw the needle up through the fabric, sticking it into the backside through the hole and up through the right side very close to the edge of the hole. Pull the thread up until the knot is secured against the back of the fabric.

Insert the needle into the opposite side of the hole directly across from where you brought it up. Before entirely pulling it through to the backside, stick the tip of the needle through the right side of the fabric very close to where you brought it through the first time.

Pull the needle all the way through the fabric, drawing the thread with it and pulling it taught, but not so tight that the fabric puckers. Continue drawing the needle through the fabric in this “whip stitch”, keeping the stitches close together to keep them as small and invisible as possible until the hole is entirely closed.

Insert the needle down through the fabric very close to your last stitch so that it is on the wrong side of the fabric and tie a knot in the thread close to the cloth. Cut the thread with the scissors.

Tips & Warnings

  • Sometimes if the hole is small enough you can soak a cloth in vinegar, then place the cloth under the hole and run a hot (not too hot!) iron over it. This technique supposedly makes small holes nearly imperceptible.
  • The mending option works best for very small holes, as they will be less obvious after being sewn.
  • You can make a patch that matches the garment exactly by cutting it from a piece of the garment itself. You'll want to cut it from a place that won't be obvious, like from behind a pocket or under a hem and the edge will need to be finished to keep it from fraying.
  • You can purchase iron-on patches that need no sewing. You simply place them where you want on the garment and press them permanently into place with a hot iron.

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