Large holes in a woven material are best mended by either patching or darning. This is an example of how to mend a hole by patching on the wrong side of the fabric (which is called backfilling the hole).
The sample is done with contrasting thread and fabric, for a visible mend (for the sake of being able to see it clearly in pictures). You can choose to mend your clothes visibly (with fun fabrics and colours) or invisibly, in which case you would try to match the fabrics and threads as best you can to the original fabric.
It is best to pick a patch fabric that has a similar weight, drape, and texture to your garment, so that the patch will blend in more smoothly.
- Sewing Needle
- Thread (the demo shows a six-strand embroidery floss for maximum visibility, but for an invisible mend, a doubled up strand of normal sewing thread is fine)
- Material for the patch (1cm or 1/2 an inch bigger then the hole all the way around)
- Optional: Fray Check
- Optional: Thimble
Step 1: Trim Hole and (Optional) Apply Fray Check
Use scissors to carefully trim away all frayed edges and stray threads around the hole. If you like, you can also trim the hole into a shape (like a square, circle, heart, or star).
Optional: for fabrics that fray easily, you can apply fray check (which is a fabric-safe glue that prevents fraying) around the raw edge of the hole for stability.
Step 2: Place Patch Behind Hole and Stitch Around Perimeter.
Place patch behind the hole. If you find the patch moves too much or slips around, you can hold it temporarily in place using pins, spray adhesive, or a bit of fabric glue stick or kid’s white glue stick (that are machine washable)
Thread your needle with a double thickness of thread, tie a knot at the end (OR take a few small stitches in place on the wrong side as an alternative to tying a knot)
Beginning from the wrong side, bring your needle up and stitch around the hole, keeping far away from the frayed edges. This stitch is to hold the patch in place and prevent puckering and pulling while we work on the rest of the stitching. In the sample below, we took long stitches on the wrong side and prick stitches (tiny, almost invisible stitches) on the right side.
Tie knot in thread near where the thread meets the fabric.
Step 3: Blanket Stitch Around Frayed Edges.
Do a blanket stitch (good example of blanket stitch here: The 8 Most Helpful Hand Sewing Stitches) around the frayed edges of the hole, sewing through the main fabric and the patch with the good side facing you. Blanket stitch finishes the edge of the hole, re-enforcing the edge and stopping fraying.
To do a blanket stitch, you stick the needle through the fabric and – before you pull the needle all the way through – wrap the thread around the needle. Then when you pull the needle out and tug the thread downwards, it will make a series of neat knots along the edge of the hole.
Step 4: Trim Away Excess Patch Fabric
The next step is to turn to the wrong side of the work and use scissors to carefully trim away the excess patch outside of our perimeter stitching.
Step 5 (Optional): Catch Stitch Edge of Patch
The patch as it is is pretty strong and will have limited fraying, but if you are interested in one further step, you can catch stitch around the edge of our patch on the reverse side of the fabric. To do this we look at the wrong side of the fabric and take big stitches over the raw edges of our patch, but on the front we only catch a tiny amount of fabric (like one thread’s worth), making it almost invisible on the front of the work.
Step 6: Finished!
Tie off all loose threads and snip them away. You are done and ready to wear your beloved garment once again!