Hand-stitched patch case study

Hand-stitched patch case study

There are just a few basic techniques that you need to know to be able to mend just about anything. The rest, to me, is about combining these techniques and experimenting! This post is about reinforcing fabric around a hole by hand by attaching a patch to the back (under) side of the garment.

This underpatching technique works well with non-stretch fabrics in any weight, though it can easily be modified for something stretchy. You can change up the colour scheme to make your stitches more or less subtle against the garment :):)

1) cut a patch to fit over the entire hole or worn/threadbare area: in this case, there were just two small holes with no sign of wear around the holes

Left image: Two hands showing two holes in black striped garment. Right image: covering holes with black patch.

2) pin patch in place


Pinning patch in place behind garment. Hands shown adding pins to hold black patch under black and grey striped garment.

3) optional: tuck the raw edges under and pin in place: here, I snipped the holes bigger in order to get the seam allowance to turn under! I could have cut even bigger to reveal a clean rectangle for a different look.


Pale hands tucking raw edges of black and grey striped garment under and pinning in place with black patch positioned to cover the holes.

4) stitch stitch stitch! the specifics of this are up to you. I went around the hole in whip stitch (green)

Stitching black patch in place using green thread. Second photo shows reverse side (black patch with green stitches arranged in two odd circles)

...and then echoed the stripes with running stitches (pink).

Adding running stitches to secure patch to garment. Horizontal rows of pink stitches cross over two abstract black circles that are outlined in green whip stitches.

I could have gone more minimal with just the whip stitch + a round of running stitches around the holes, or if I hadn't turned those edges under I might have omitted the whip stitch altogether! Or, I could have trimmed the holes square and tidy rather than the abstract amoeba shapes. This technique is very adaptable and I use it all the time for a result that is both strong and beautiful. Would love to see your take on it!

happy mending:)

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