If you love your clothes as much as we do ours, you’ll be keen to keep them for as long as possible. Sometimes a small repair or alteration is in order though – if you don’t already know how to do small repairs on your clothes, follow our easy guide and you’ll be back to wearing your favourites in no time.

This guide is adequate for small tears or holes in woven or jersey fabrics, half an inch wide or smaller. This type of stitching will work best in loose garments and light to medium-weight fabrics. We also have similar guides on how to repair larger holes in woven or jersey fabrics, and how to repair a hole in knitwear.

First, here are the basic supplies you’ll need:  

  • Scissors
  • A variety of coloured threads
  • Pins
  • Needles
  • Seam ripper (optional)

You can keep them all in a small sewing kit, which makes life much easier when small sartorial emergencies emerge.

Now let’s gothrough the key steps to sew a small tear in your clothes:

  1. Start by assessing the damage and the type of fabric you are dealing with. If your hole or tear is surrounded by long pieces of loose thread, you’ll want to tie them off as close as possible then cut the excess. If this is a tear and there are no loose bits of thread, proceed to the next step.
  2. Grab a needle adequate to your fabric (thin if you’re dealing with a fine woven fabric, medium for jerseys and medium-weight woven fabric). Select a thread of about the same colour as your fabric, and thread your needle with a long piece as you’ll want to sew with the two pieces at once (by tying both ends together when you start sewing).
  3. Turn your garment inside-out, visualize a rectangle that goes around the close edges of your hole or tear (you can draw it using white chalk or the edge of a bar of soap), then do a small stitch at one of the corners and tie the ends off.
  4. Start working your way around the rectangle with running stitches, short and almost invisible on the outside. The last stitch should take you back to the corner where you first began. Ensure the stitching is taught. Leave the needle on the outside of the garment.
  5. Once this is done, turn your garment out again. Work the needle to thread through all of the stitches visible on the long edges of your rectangle, in a zig-zag pattern.
  6. Once you get to the last stitch, gently start pulling on the thread to close the gap between the two edges and hide the hole. You might need to use the needle to pull the thread along (like you do with shoelaces).
  7. Finally, push the needle to the reverse of your garment, turn it inside out again, do a couple more of small stitches to ensure the thread remains taught and tie it off before cutting.

You’re all done with your repair! Before wearing your garment you might want to iron or steam the area where you performed your repair to open up the stitching and work out any awkward volume/ creasing around the stitching.