By Yarn and Needlework Contributor Stephanie from the blog Twilly 23
Clothing naturally rips or tears over time but that doesn’t mean it’s destined for the trash bin. Tears near inside seams can be tricky to repair discreetly. By using fabric with bold colors or patterns, you can repair clothes by giving them a stylish upgrade. This tutorial will show you how to patch your clothing while also making the repairs look like an upcycled design choice.
My favorite pair of pants recently split in an unfortunate spot. I heard ripping noise as I was working in the garden. My pants had ripped right under one butt cheek area all the way to the inner seam! Sewing the rip back together was my first thought. But what if a future stretch just ripped it back open? Putting a patch of fabric over the repaired seam would be a better repair as it would take some of the tension from future pulls.
However, with a rip in the butt and inner seam areas of my pants, using similar colored fabric as a patch didn’t seem wise. That would just draw attention to the area that something wasn’t quite right. Instead I decided to use fabric with a bold design that looked completely different. My fabric of choice was originally a pair of bright pants that came from a thrift store. I’ve slowly been using them for various sewing projects. By using a piece of fabric that is distinctly different from the clothing you’re patching, you are making the patch look intentional and stylish.
Before stitching the rip back together cut off any loose fabric or threads around the tear.
Seam edges together using a whip stitch. Sew together firmly but not tight enough that it causes the fabric to strain.
Cut out a piece of fabric that overlaps the seam by several inches. This will let the patch take any strain so the seam will not be pulled against.
Fold over the edges and hand sew into place with a straight running stitch. I also added a whip stitch around the edges to ensure the patch would lay flat.
Because the rip curved downward toward the inner seam I put in a small dart into the patch as I was sewing it down. If your clothing rips in a crease area or spot that will stretch a lot due to natural movement, incorporating small darts into your patch will help patch and clothing move together. To make this dart I simply pinched a half inch of fabric over and sewed it into place.
Turn your clothing inside out to examine your work. I decided to add another round of whip stitch to the repaired seam just to make it more secure.
To make the patch look more like an intentional design choice, add extra patches to the piece of clothing. Since I use these pants while gardening the knees are already starting to wear faster than other areas. To make knee patches I cut out two rectangles.
A perk of adding patches where there is no current hole is that you are not confined by size. I chose rectangles since I often kneel and then sit in the dirt while weeding my garden plot. Larger patches will help protect my pants from rubbing up against dirt and rocks.
If you are comfortable using a sewing machine you can use one to attach your patches. I used both straight and zig zag stitches to attach my knee patches. However, adding patches to existing pants via a sewing machine is difficult because the space is so restricted.
Whether you hand sew or machine sew your patches, pin the fabric into place and work steadily around the edges, sewing them into place.
Now your clothing is revamped and ready to be worn again.