Garments will inevitably wear out over time, regardless of how well you take care of them. Fortunately, when your favorite garment does rip, tear or form a hole, you can easily repair it yourself with a few key items for a far lower cost than taking it to a tailor. Depending on the size of the hole and type of fabric, a few minutes is all that’s required to get your clothing looking sturdy and presentable again.
Things You'll Need
- Sewing needles
- Thread of various colors and thicknesses
- Thimble (optional)
- Straight pin (optional)
Turn the garment inside out before beginning. If repairing a curtain or drape, sew from the back side.
Choose a thread of a matching color, or as close to matching as you have on hand, and a thickness or tensile strength that is relative to the type of fabric. Then choose a thin, short needle for thinner fabrics; a thicker, longer needle for coarse, thick fabrics, leather and suede.
Thread the needle. Make a loop and knot both ends for medium to heavy fabrics. Leave one end shorter and only knot one end of the thread for thin, delicate fabrics.
Insert the needle at one edge, then go under and across to the other side of the hole. Crisscross a few times until the hole is securely closed, then knot the thread very close to the fabric and snip with a scissor, leaving 1/16 of an inch of extra thread above the knot. For a larger hole, turn the edges inward and then hold the two sides of the hole together like a sandwich. While sewing the hole, either hold the sides together or fasten them with a straight pin. This type of hole requires that you weave the needle in and out along the seam, where the two sides are held together.
Go across the repaired line with a loop stitch or insert the needle at the base of the repair line on one side, pull it out on the other side, loop the needle around and repeat at a quarter inch up the seam. Knot and snip thread. This will provide additional support for a repaired hole that will be stressed or pulled on during wear.
The more closely your thread color matches the garment, the less careful you have to be about hiding your stitches. Space your stitches according to size of the hole, the amount of stress that will be placed on the torn area, and possibility for gapping during wear. If the hole is so large that sewing it shut will make the garment look unpresentable, consider either patching the hole or cutting arms and legs off shirts and pants to create a whole new garment. Invest in a thimble if you are planning to mend suede, leather or heavy fabrics. This will save you many finger pricks from your sewing needle!
Do not pull the thread too hard, or you will have obvious puckers in the fabric that will draw attention to the repair.