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Mending clothes: The basics

Everyone should know the basics of mending clothes. Now, with our guide you can learn how to sew a torn seam or a hole in your favourite jeans!


By Cleanipedia Team

When it comes to mending clothes, there are a couple of basic skills everyone should know. Mending holes in jeans and learning how to hand stitch split seams closed is actually easier than you think. Read on for two simple guides to the basics of mending your clothes.

Key Steps

  • Start sewing with the edge closest to you.

  • To create invisible stitches, work from the inside out.

  • Push your needle along the fabric for around 5mm before pulling through.

  • Jump from side to side until you reach the end of the hole or seam.

  • For large holes, add a patch.

If you want a super strong fix when mending clothes, create the stitches as small as possible. 5mm stitches will do the job, but smaller ones will offer greater durability.

How to do an invisible stitch

If you’ve split a seam, knowing how to invisible stitch is invaluable. Here are 10 easy steps to follow for how to do a hidden stitch.

  1. Select your thread.

    We recommend trying to find a colour which matches as closely as possible to the fabric.

  2. Check the folds.

    On the ‘wrong’ (hidden) side of the fabric, make sure the edges you’re sewing together are both folded over themselves so that the folded edge is the one that connects. If you are repairing a split seam, this is probably already the case.

  3. Knot the thread, then hide the end.

    To do this, bring your chosen thread inside of the folded edge nearest you and pull it through the fabric to the outside, directly opposite the other folded edge.

  4. Place your needle into the edge furthest away from you.

    It should enter the fabric directly opposite where the thread has come out of the side closest to you.

  5. On the inside of the opposite folded edge, move the needle along the fold of the fabric for approximately 5mm.

    When learning how to do a hidden stitch, all the stitches along the edge should be about this length, and then you can adjust this depending on the thickness and density of the fabric.

  6. Pull the needle through and draw the thread out of your fabric.

    Again, the stitch should come out along the folded edge.

  7. Place your needle into the edge closest to you.

    As with your first stitch, it should enter the fabric directly opposite where the thread has come out of the other side.

  8. Repeat step 5.

    Create another hidden 5mm long stitch.

  9. Repeat steps 4 to 8.

    This process should create 5mm long stitches jumping from side to side of the seam you are stitching and gently pulling the thread to draw the two edges together until you reach the end of the area you need to sew.

  10. Now you know how to hand stitch a seam!

    To make the invisible stitch extra-strong you can sew back over it again, before securing your sewing by making a few small stitches over each other in a hidden place to anchor them in place.

The key to knowing how to do an invisible stitch is in the name — when you’re done, the stitches should be invisible! As you go along, check the ‘right’ or visible side every now and again to make sure that you can’t see the thread from the outside.

How to stitch up a hole

Now you know how to stitch a seam, what about if you have a hole in your favourite jeans or jacket? Here are a few ways you can mend a hole in your clothes.

  1. Use an invisible stitch.

    If it’s only small, the best answer to how to stitch a hole may be to use an invisible stitch. See the steps above for tips.

  2. For larger tasks such as elbow rips or mending holes in jeans, you may need to reinforce them with fabric.

    Cut out a piece of fabric to a size and shape that’s slightly larger than the hole (at least 1cm all the way around), not including fraying areas. You can use fabric that matches the garment to hide the hole or add a unique touch with bright colours or patterned fabric instead.

  3. Use scissors.

    These will help neaten up the hole in your garment.

    Line up your patch with the hole so that it covers it entirely, with around 1cm extra fabric around the edge.

    Use a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine over the edge of the patch to secure it over the hole.

How concerned are you about disinfecting while cleaning?

Now you know the basics of mending fabric with our guide to how to sew a torn seam or sew a hole. Take good care of your clothes and avoid further damage by using mild detergent and good quality fabric conditioner such as Comfort Intense Fushia Passion when washing them!

Read other articles from the Clothing Care category

How to get colour run out of clothes

What do the symbols on washing machines mean

How to remove static from clothes

How to stop clothes bobbling

How to make clothes smell good and stay fresh

Originally published