How to Fix a Hole in Your Shirt

How to Fix a Hole in Your Shirt

For finer fabrics, in places that show, you'll want to take extra care when mending a wardrobe mishap. Try this technique with a basic cotton or cottonpolyester blend shirt. Make sure your iron is ready to go on the appropriate setting for the fabric.

1 Start smart. With sharp fabric scissors, cut around the hole, making a neat square. Trim any loose threads or frayed edges. At each corner of the square hole, cut a ¼-inch notch at a 45-degree angle. Turn your garment inside out, then fold the narrow flaps formed by your cuts onto the material's inside, aka "wrong" side, and iron flat.

How to Fix a Hole in Your Shirt

2 Match and mark. Find a matching piece of fabric. If the hole is small, you can sometimes use part of the shirttail. For broadcloth oxford shirts, it's sometimes possible to find a near match at the local thrift store. Barring all those, try your local fabric store. (Don't forget to bring the garment you want to match!) Mark and measure a square of the size you'll need from the matching fabric, and cut it a ½ inch bigger than the square hole you've cut in your shirt.

How to Fix a Hole in Your Shirt

3 Line it up. Turn your shirt inside out and line up the patch on top of the square hole. Make sure the right side of the fabric is turned up and the grains are going in the same direction. Turn your shirt right side out and use straight pins to secure the patch. Baste all around the patch (see How to Baste). Remove the pins.

How to Fix a Hole in Your Shirt

4 Sew it together. Turn your shirt inside out. Fold back the ½ inch of excess fabric so it's flush with the folded edge of the hole, folding the corners over each other. Insert the needle through the folded edge of the replacement fabric patch, just catching the very edge. Next, stitch up diagonally through the folded edge of the original shirt, securing the two fabrics together. Do this around the entire square. When you've sewn the whole square, remove the basting thread by snipping the knot off with scissors and gently pulling it out.

How to Fix a Hole in Your Shirt

5 Add a finishing touch, or "create a clean edge." Use a catch-stitch to finish the edges of the patch inside the shirt. Catch-stitches hold fabrics against each other, as in hems or seam allowances. To make one, you need to "catch" a few threads from the underside of the top layer of fabric. Insert the needle, and then gently pick up a few threads from the very surface of the top fabric layer, without pushing the needle all the way through. It's a delicate procedure, and you have to kind of feel your way to it, so try a few sample stitches to get the hang of it. You may need to unstitch some initially. This style of stitching is referred to as "blind" stitching because it is invisible from the outside. It has some give, but it holds well. Using this technique will ensure that the patch stays in place.

6 Tack the patch. Cut off the tips of the patch's corners at 45-degree angles. Fold back each edge ¼ inch. Cross-stitch the edges to the shirt, picking up only one or two threads with each stitch. Inserting the needle from right to left, create a series of tiny Xs.

How to Fix a Hole in Your Shirt

7 Press it and go. When you're finished with the sewing, iron the patch in place with the shirt inside out. Allow the area to cool, then iron the shirt from the front, starting with the patch.

How to Fix a Hole in Your Shirt

Over 2 billion T-shirts are sold every year, worldwide. A single T-shirt can require up to 700 gallons of water to produce (so learning to mend them is helpful to the environment)!

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