How to Sew on a Repair Patch

Kate Miller-Wilson
repair patch

Getting a hole in a knee of your favorite jeans or a snag in the fabric of that pretty skirt doesn't mean you have to relegate that item to the garbage bin. You can extend the life of your wardrobe by adding patches to cover damaged areas in articles of clothing. You can also use this sewing technique to repair slipcovers, sheets, towels, pillows, and any other fabric item around the house.

Sewing an Over Patch

One of the easiest ways to repair a hole is to applique a patch over the top of the damaged area. This works well for many items, and it's an easy project for anyone to try. This is a great method for repairing household goods, clothing, and even luggage.

When choosing fabric for the patch, consider whether you want the repair to be conspicuous. In general, it's extremely difficult to make a patch blend in perfectly with the surrounding fabric, since there is often fading and wear to the piece. Instead, many people choose to make the patch a style statement in itself. For a more subtle look, choose fabric that closely matches the color and texture of the original item. For a fun statement, choose a fabric that contrasts with the article you're mending.

Things You'll Need

  • Item to be repaired
  • Fabric for patch
  • Iron
  • Hand sewing needle and thread
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Tape measure

What to Do

  1. Start by measuring the hole you'll be repairing. Closely examine the fabric surrounding the hole. It too may be worn and frayed. If this is the case, extend your patch to cover this area as well.
    repair patch
  2. Add an inch to each of the dimensions you found. This will accommodate a turned edge for your patch, as well as enough space to sew the patch to the item you're repairing. Cut the patch to these dimensions. If you're feeling especially creative, cut the patch in a fun shape.
  3. Use your iron to press the raw edge toward the back, turning over a quarter inch of fabric. Place the the patch over the hole and secure with pins, if desired.
    repair patch
  4. Thread your needle with a double length of thread and use a slip stitch to sew the patch in the desired location. This keeps your stitches hidden and provides a secure repair. When you have sewn all the way around the patch, knot your thread and trim the ends.
    repair patch

Sewing an Under Patch

patch

While an over patch hides the raw edges of the damaged area, an under patch allows those edges to show. You can actually make the raw edges part of a stylish look by trying this method. It works especially well for jeans or kids clothing, and this type of repair lets you express your creativity with fabric choices and embroidery.

Things You'll Need

  • Item to be repaired
  • Decorative fabric in a contrasting color
  • Double-sided fusible interfacing, such as Heat N Bond
  • Embroidery floss
  • Embroidery needle
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure

What to Do

  1. Measure the damaged area you'll be repairing, including any threadbare fabric near the hole. Add an inch to the dimensions you found, and cut two pieces of decorative fabric to this size. Also cut two pieces of interfacing to the same dimensions.
  2. Slip one piece of interfacing behind the hole. Use a pencil to trace around the edge of the hole onto the interfacing. Take the interfacing out and cut out the center where you marked. Set the piece of interfacing aside.
    repair patch
  3. Lay the other piece of interfacing with the adhesive side facing the wrong side of the decorative fabric. Use your iron to adhere it. Remove the backing and align the patch with the wrong side of your other piece of decorative fabric. Use your iron to make sure the glue melts properly. You now have a sturdy patch of fabric with two right sides.
  4. Place the patch on your work surface. Stack the piece of interfacing with the hole in it on top of the patch. Use your iron to adhere it.
    repair patch
  5. Remove the backing and align the patch with the hole in the item you're repairing. Iron the item well to adhere the patch.
    repair patch
  6. Thread your needle with your desired color or colors of embroidery floss and use decorative stitches to secure the patch to the item you're mending. You can sew a cute zig-zag, make squiggles or waves, or create a pattern of flowers and vines. No matter what you choose, sew in several locations around the hole to make sure the patch is secure.

Stretch Your Budget

Mending your worn home items and clothing can stretch your budget and allow you to get more use out of your things. Whether you choose to sew a repair patch behind or in front of the damaged area, your item will be functional and strong enough to last for a few more years.

How to Sew on a Repair Patch