How to Mend Your Clothes

Lead Image
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 10
What You'll Need
Needle
Thread
Needle threader
Safety pins
Fabric
Iron on patch

Whether it’s a tear, rip or, hole, you don’t have to say goodbye to your favorite clothing when it gets a little beat up. Learning a few simple clothing mending hacks can help you keep your favorite garments in great shape and save your wallet in the process.

Mending Jeans

Jeans take wear and tear better than most clothes, but rips and tears can certainly make your favorite pair of Levi’s unwearable. If you’ve got a rip in a seam, use an invisible stitch to quickly sew up the hole. There are a few variations of an invisible or disappearing stitch, all of which are done by hand. It’s important to use strong thread, or even embroidery floss, to make the repair. You will also need a strong needle as well.

If you have a hole in the knee of your jeans, patching is usually the most functional option. While you could try to give the invisible stitch a try, you’ll likely lose the ability to bend your knees in your jeans if you do. Patching gives you a full range of bending motion in your jeans when you choose a fabric with some stretch. To patch a knee, take a piece of fabric and cut it slightly larger than the hole in your jean. Then place the fabric inside your jeans and topstitch around it on the outside of the jeans to secure the patch in place.

knee patches

If you can’t hack the patch, you can distress your jeans to make the hole look like it came on purpose. Use a seam ripper to pick out the hem of your jeans to get a trendy look and use a cheese grater to distress the thighs of the jeans. You can add more holes with fabric scissors or splatter a little bleach for some patterning. You can even add embroidery or external patches to spruce up the pants and turn them into a whole new jean dream.

zig zag sewing pattern for denim mending

Mending Tops, Dresses, and Skirts

Because clothing comes in all different fabric types, it can be a little harder to mend. If you are working with a really stretchy fabric, skip the machine and mend by hand. If you’re working with a stiffer fabric or cotton, you may be able to sew up your clothing on a machine.

If you’re working with a small hole, purchase some iron-on patch backing. This will allow you to close the hole with a small piece of the iron patch. If the hole is small enough, a little iron patch may do the trick. If your hole is a little larger, you will want to stitch over the top of the patch to secure it and make sure the mend stays mended. Match your thread to the fabric as best you can and keep your stitches tight.

sewing kit with patches and thread

If you find that the hole in your clothing is more of a tear, you may be able to use an invisible stitch to bring the clothing back together again. If not, you may need to get creative and consider making your top a crop or your midi a mini. Don’t be afraid to get a little messy and cut your clothing, add something new, or turn it into something else entirely.

After you patch up a hole, things may look a little gnarled still. If that’s the case, get creative. Add embroidery over the top of the patch job or an external patch. Even dressing up a top with pins and buttons can add some personality and double as a cover for a botched patch job.

Stitch Kit

Make up a stitch kit to keep in your car, send to college with your kids, or to gift to a newlywed. These handy kits make mending clothes easy and save time and money. In a small bag place a few needles of different sizes, basic threads in black and white, a needle threader, and a few safety pins. This simple kit is a great gift and a must-have around the house for people who don’t have full sewing collections.