How To Patch Torn Clothing

This article discusses how to patch torn clothing.

When your favorite jeans or t-shirts end up with holes and tears in them, it is hard to just toss them out. Fortunately, it is often fairly easy to patch torn clothing.

First, take a look at where the tear is located. If it is on a seam, your clothing may be dry-rotted and will probably keep tearing. Repairs will not do you much good in this case. However, if the tear was made when your clothing was snagged on something, such as a nail, you will be able to make a permanent repair.

Next, decide whether you can make a repair without patching your clothing. If the tear is large, you will need to patch the clothing, but smaller tears can just be darned or mended. Just bring the two torn edges of the clothing together and sew with a zigzag stitch so that the two edges are rejoined. If the tear is in the seat of a pair of pants, you should mend it with a patch even if the hole is on the small side so that it will not just tear out again when the wearer bends over.

To mend clothing with a patch, you will need a sturdy piece of cloth that contrasts nicely with the color of the clothing. You can buy iron on patches from your local fabric store, but they can be expensive. You can also make an inexpensive patch using fabric that you already have and some double-sided iron on interfacing. Carefully trim the ragged edges of the hole in your torn clothing. Next, cut a patch that is an inch larger than the hole on all sides. Turn 1/2 inch of the patch's edges under and hem them so that your patch has a neat and finished look. Cut a piece of the double-sided interfacing that is the same size as your patch. Iron one side of the interfacing to your patch. Then, iron the patch to the torn clothing so that the patch faces right side up. For added strength, reinforce the patch by sewing it to the clothing, as well.

However, if you want to make your patched clothing look decorative, just sewing on a patch may not be enough for you. Before you start any repairs, take a look at where the damage is located. Would a pocket look good in that spot? If so, patch the clothing as you normally would, but then cut a square of fabric that is an inch bigger in diameter than the patched area. Turn under 1/4 inch of the top edge of the fabric and then turn down another quarter inch so that the top edge is finished. Tack the ends of the turned under area so that it does not come undone. Turn under 1/2 inch on the other three sides of the pocket and press all four sides well. Next, sew the pocket to the patched area, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Make sure that you leave the top edge open so that your pocket is functional.

If a pocket isn't the right look for your torn clothing, you can still give your repair a decorative touch. You can use many different decorative elements to camouflage smaller rips. For example, if you are mending a girl's torn sweater, you can make bows using ribbon in a contrasting color. Then, sew one bow directly over the patched area and then sew the rest of them all over the garment. Other items that can quickly disguise the patches on your clothing are buttons, fabric flowers, and upholstery trims. If you use your imagination, you can turn the patched garment into a fun piece of clothing. For example, to cover up the patch on a man's t-shirt, you could sew on a few fishing lures without hooks.

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