Tutorial: Patch Mend

8:48 AM

This ugly tear happened to my favorite wool coat when the button got caught on the shopping cart at the grocery store. I didn't notice that the button slid inside a slat on the cart and as I stepped away I heard a shredding sound, I looked down and saw a flapping button. I love the coat too much to throw it out, so I decided to mend it.

This is my favorite method for patch mends. This is how I would always do mends in my tailoring shop, and it works especially well on jeans.

1. Cut a piece of fabric large enough to cover the area that needs to be mended. Use the same type of fabric if possible, but if it's not available, something of the same weight and color will do. Lay a few strips of stitch witchery on your patch, enough to cover it almost completely.
*This is stitch witchery. It should be available in your local fabric store, but if you can't find it, you can buy it here.
2. On the inside of the garment place the patch over the area to be mended and apply heat and steam with an iron. The heat melts the stitch witchery and adheres the patch to the garment itself. It also works as a light-weight interfacing and stabilizes the damaged area before mending.
View from outside after the patch is secure.
3. Using a straight stitch, sew back and forth to secure the tear.


-Match the thread color to the area being mended. For example, when mending blue jeans, you won't be using blue thread. You'll more likely use grey, because worn out denim ins't blue.

-Don't use a zig-zag stitch. It makes the mend look sloppy. A straight stitch is just as secure and hides away very well.

-If the fabric you're mending has a visible grain (like denim) stitch in the same direction as the grain line. It's just another trick to  make the mending stitches hide.

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  1. Wow!!! What an awesome job! Thanks for sharing tutorial!
    Hope you have a wonderful week!
    Hugs from Portugal,

    Ana Love Craft

  2. It looks very nice but isn't that a zigzag stitch?

    1. no, this is a straight stitch sewn in a zig-zag pattern (straight stitch sewn forward and back working across the hole, which becomes a zig-zag pattern as you work across to the side) The problem with a zig-zag stitch is the width of the stitch is just open thread across the span of your set stitch width. Sewing with a straight stitch links the stitches more often, and the pattern of sewing secures the layers for a strong mend. Hope that helps!

  3. I've always done this mend by hand, because you can come up through the patch, then under the piece. Up through the piece, under the patch. It makes a very tiny seam and secures the edges with almost a blanket stitch.
    I've also done it with a piece of interfacing bigger than the hole, and a piece of fabric (denim, usually) exactly the size of the hole. The interfacing, ironed on, holds the fabric in place. I repeat with the same type of stitching.

    I'm sorry about your pretty coat. That gray is beautiful and you did an excellent job. I'll bet that particular button is stronger than the whole coat! :) Oh - did you get the extra fabric from the hem? It's such a great match.

    1. It was actually just a scrap of heavy-weight gaberdine that I used.

  4. Oh thank you! I stumbled across your blog in a google search for something else but I've been meaning to fix a school dress with a shocking tear. Your tutorial has just told me what I needed to know to do it properly (after I unpick the shocking zig zag attempt I made a few weeks ago!).
    Kate from Melbourne, Australia

  5. Mending is not the most fun thing we do as people who sew, but it's necessary. We have favorite clothing items or towels or other things we hold dear. When they tear, wear out, or have seen better days, we have to use our imaginations and come up with a way to make them either functional or rags.
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  6. AMAZING tutorial--quick & easy for fixing/mending a tear in clothing. You did an excellent job. I plan to use this method plus tell several friends about your technique. THANSK FOR SHARING. Sarah in Minneapolis


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