Got a tear in your sweater sleeve? Or maybe there’s a big hole in your favorite denim jacket? Sewing unfortunate holes in your favorite clothes is a cinch, so don’t toss those torn jeans just yet! All you need is a needle and thread (and in some cases, a little extra fabric). We’ll show you how to thread a needle, backstitch a torn seam or small rip, and sew a patch to a large hole. Don’t Nix It, Fix It!
[Edit]things you should know
- Use a thicker needle for heavier materials such as denim or layered fabrics, and go for a thinner needle for more delicate fabrics such as cotton or nylon.
- Turn your garment inside out and backstitch along the length of the torn stitch or hole to join the edges.
- Measure the larger holes, then cut a patch of matching fabric to size. Then, sew the patch to the underside of the garment.
[Edit]thread the needle
- Choose a thicker needle for tougher fabrics and a thinner needle for softer fabrics. If the fabric is thick and tough (such as denim, leather, or layered fabric), use a sharp, heavy needle to pierce the fabric without much effort. If the fabric is soft or thin (such as cotton or nylon), use a thinner, more delicate needle. To make sure you’re using the right needle, check the packaging to see what type of fabric it’s recommended for.
- The larger the needle, the smaller the “gauge”. For example, an 8-gauge needle is very thick, so it’s best for heavy, woven materials. A 16-gauge needle is very thin, so it’s suitable for more delicate fabrics.
- Use a circular-tipped needle for knits and a pointed-tipped needle for knits.
- Cut a thread about 2.5 times longer than the hole. For larger holes, the general rule is that you’ll need about 2.5 times as much thread as the size of the hole. For smaller holes go ahead (about ) and cut about the thread – this will give you enough slack to comfortably make stitches and close the fix.
- To better hide the stitches, use a thread that matches the color of the fabric.
- Thread the needle and knot the thread. Pull the thread through the needle so that you have 2 threads of equal length on either side of the eye of the needle. Then, tie the two ends together with a simple knot almost at the ends—an overhand knot will work.
- When repairing loosely woven fabrics, double or triple tie the knot to make sure the knot doesn’t slip through the fabric.
- If the tip of the thread is frayed, trim it down from the worn end, or lick it to get a clean tip before threading the needle. Alternatively, use a needle threader if you’re having trouble.
[Edit]mending a seam or tear
- Turn the garment inside out and iron out the hole. Turning the fabric inside out gives you better access to the hole, and also makes the stitching invisible when you sew it. When you find the hole, go ahead and cut off all the loose threads.
- Use this method to repair holes that are almost as wide—sewing wide holes without a patch can cause the garment to shrink or deform.
- This method can be used for simple tears, where you only need to join 2 sides of the rip.
- Make the first stitch at one end of the hole. Pinch the edges of the hole together so they align with the inside of the garment. Then, insert the needle through the edge at one end of the hole, knot the two edges together, and pull the thread all the way through so the knot comes off the fabric. Then, thread the tip of the needle back up through the edges along the tear.
- Alternatively, wear a thimble or 2 to protect your fingers while you work.
- Backstitch to the end of the hole. To backstitch, insert the needle about halfway through the stitch you just made, and then insert it again so that it emerges the second half the length after the end of the first stitch. Repeat this stitch until you reach the end of the hole, and the tear is sewn shut.
- Loop the needle through the last stitch to tie off the yarn. To finish the stitch, make one last stitch, insert the needle, and pull it through. Before you tighten it, thread the needle through the loop created by the partial stitch, and then tighten it. Make another 1 or 2 stitches in this way, thread the needle through the same hole and insert the thread through the loop each time to bind off. Then cut the thread just above the new knot, and your hole is fixed!
[Edit]patching a big hole
- Measure the length and width of the hole. Use a ruler or soft measuring tape to find the measurements of the widest parts of the tear or hole. Larger holes need to be reinforced with a patch, so we’ll use these measurements to gauge the size of the patch.
- Cut a patch approximately larger than the hole. Use the same or similar material as the garment, matching both in color and weight. Make sure the patch is large enough to cover the entire hole, and then some. You don’t have to cut it to shape, just a square or circle will do.
- Patches come in several common fabric types, such as denim or cotton. You can even use some scrap fabric from another piece of clothing.
- Many repairers opt to use a decorative cloth instead—it’s difficult to make invisible repairs to large holes, so why not show off your handiwork instead?
- Pin the patch in place at the bottom of the garment. Bring the edges of the hole as close together as possible so the fabric lies flat and won’t crease. Then, use sewing pins to temporarily fix your patch to the inside of the garment, so that the patch is visible through the tear.
- Use a running stitch around the perimeter of the patch. Insert the needle up through the bottom of the patch, then down through the fabric again along the edge of the patch, attaching the patch to the garment. Then, bring the needle up through the fabric from the last stitch, making a dotted line or “running stitch.” Continue this stitch around the edge of the patch.
- If possible, stitch at least along the edge of the tear.
- Strengthen torn edges with rows of stitches. If your hole has irregularly shaped tears, lay them flat on the patch and sew to the bottom of the patch, then stitch back and forth across the entire area of the patch, keeping each row away from the next. ,
- If the hole is particularly worn, reinforce it with a liquid seam sealant before you begin sewing. This can help make the fix more durable.
- Thread the needle into your last stitch to bind off and cut the yarn. Once you have secured the patch to the garment with enough running stitches, loop the needle through your last stitch, and pull tight to tie it off. Repeat this 1-2 more times to secure the thread, then cut it just above the knot.
- To better hide the fix, iron on a decorative patch over the mended hole.
- Embroider a design over the patched hole to give your craft some flair and add character to the garment.
- Use a seam ripper to remove unwanted stitching on any type of fabric.
- Alternatively, use a sewing machine to perform any of these stitches. Sewing machines make very quick work of large holes.
- Wrap any broken needles in paper and throw them away. To salvage the thread, tie the remaining thread to a new thread threaded through a new needle, and snip off the portion of thread attached to the broken needle.
- To repair large holes in loosely woven fabrics like knitwear, hem rather than patch the hole.
[Edit]Things you’ll need
- sewing needle
- patch of cloth
- ruler or soft measuring tape
- sewing pins
- seam ripper (optional)
- thimble (optional)
- zigzag stitch by hand
- use sewing machine
- [v161406_b01], 1 May 2020.
- [v161406_b01], 1 May 2020.
- [v161406_b01], 1 May 2020.