how do you sew a hole

How Do You Sew a Hole?

Holes, rips, and tears are an inevitable part of life. Have you ever noticed a small hole in your favorite shirt and wondered how to fix it? Mending these imperfections may seem daunting, but sewing a hole is more accessible. Utilizing some crucial tools and methods, you can carry out hidden repairs that will increase the longevity of your favorite clothes. Read on to learn how to sew different holes for various fabrics.

What You’ll Need to Sew a Hole

Sewing Machine

For large holes, loose seams, and long tears, a sewing machine offers the most secure and tidy repair. The straight stitch function is perfect for mending holes and reinforced seams. Set the stitch length to 2.0-3.0 mm for secure closure. If the fabric is delicate or stretchy, try a zigzag stitch, which allows more give. Always match the thread color to your fabric so the stitches blend invisibly. And don’t forget to use a sharp needle – it will punch through layers cleanly. Investing in a home sewing machine like the Singer Promise or Brother CS6000i pays off when it comes to clothing repairs.

Hand Sewing Tools

Hand-sewing is often the most accessible route for small holes less than 1 inch wide. You likely already have the necessary supplies like sewing needles, thread, a thimble, good lighting, and a comfortable seat. Needles for hand-sewing come in various types and sizes – aim for sharps or embroidery needles in sizes 8-10. Select an all-purpose polyester or cotton thread that matches your fabric. A thimble prevents painful pricks from the needle. Some people also prefer the control of hand-sewing repairs.

Techniques for Sewing Different Types of Holes

Now that you understand the essential tools for mending holes, let’s explore techniques for sewing holes in specific fabric types.

Undersized Holes in Knit Fabric

Tiny holes in t-shirts, sweaters, and other knits are easily fixed by hand. First, knot the end of a 12-18 inch length of matching thread. Beyond the hole’s edge, raise the needle by approximately 1/4 inch from the wrong side of the material before proceeding. Insert the needle back down into the fabric on the inside edge of the hole, making sure to only catch a few threads with each stitch. Use a simple running or darning stitch to sew around the hole’s perimeter. When you reach the starting point, knot the thread securely on the wrong side. For extra strength, circle the hole twice with stitches before finishing.

Larger Holes in Woven Fabric

Larger Holes in Woven Fabric
Photo credit: freepik

Gaping holes and shredded seams in pants, dresses, or coats require machine sewing for a secure repair. Start by pinning or using fabric glue to hold the torn edges together in position. Adjust your sewing machine’s stitch setting to a straight stitch, and set the length to the standard 2.5mm. Sew along the damaged seam or hole to reconnect the edges, removing pins. Once closed, go back and stitch a second line of reinforcement 1⁄4″ from the original. This prevents the mending from tearing out with wear. Trim excess fraying threads when finished sewing.

Holes in Stretchy Fabric

Activewear, leggings, and knit pants are prone to wear and tear holes. For small holes under 1⁄2″, hand-sew a simple running or ladder stitch to draw the edges together. Embrace visible mending with fun, colorful threads! If you’re working with bigger holes, it’s recommended to utilize a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine. This is because the needle’s side-to-side movement helps the fabric stretch. Apply an iron-on patch behind the hole for a foolproof fix. Make sure to stabilize the fabric by pinning a piece of tissue paper or stabilizer behind the hole as you sew.

Finishing Touches for Invisible Mending

To complete your sewing repairs, here are some tips for polished finishing:

  • Knot your threads securely, then sink the knot into the fabric using a needle before clipping excess threads. This hides knots for invisible mending.
  • For stable edges, apply a dot of fabric glue or Fray Check on frayed seams once sewn closed.
  • Iron-on patches and appliques applied to the inside of a hole add extra stability once sewn.
  • Please ensure that the color of the thread matches the fabric as closely as possible. Neutral tan or gray shades also blend well.

With careful stitching and a few camouflaging tricks, no one will know you have mended holes in your favorite garments! Extend the lifespan of clothing while reducing waste.


The hole’s edges are fraying and won’t stay together?

Apply a small amount of fabric glue or Fray Check along the edges before sewing to prevent fraying.

My thread keeps bunching up on the wrong side of the fabric?

This usually means the tension is too tight. Loosen the thread tension slightly until the stitches are even.

How do I pick a thread color that matches my garment?

Matching is easier if you have the original thread spool. Otherwise, hold a strand of the garment’s fabric next to the thread options and select the closest match. Neutrals like tan or gray also blend well.

The mended area feels stiff and less flexible.

To maintain stretch, use a zigzag stitch and avoid overly dense stitching. Cut away fabric glue once dry to regain softness.


Sewing repairs may seem complicated, but holes and tears can easily be mended through simple hand-sewing techniques or machine stitching. Learn to recognize holes before they spread into more significant disasters. Listen for tearing sounds and regularly inspect well-worn areas. Now that you know how to mend holes in knits, wovens, and stretchy fabrics, you can restore beloved items when wear and tear strikes. What other DIY sewing repairs would you like to learn? Let us know in the comments!


Main image: freepik

Priti Nandy
Priti Nandy
Articles: 169

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