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How to mend a small hole in cotton clothing

Updated February 21, 2017

Small holes in cotton clothing often result from snagging or destructive moths and insects that eat tiny holes into the clothing typically no bigger than a pellet. Small holes are easy to mend and unnoticeable after repairs. Larger holes are more noticeable, but there are ways to hide the larger holes so that you do not have to throw out a favourite cotton garment over one or two small holes.

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  1. Examine the garment to find all small holes that need mending. If necessary, mark where each hole is by circling with a fabric pen, marker or a simple piece of pastel chalk that will wash out easily.

  2. Take the garment you are mending with you to purchase a spool of cotton thread that is the exact same colour as the garment or that spot on the garment. For a broader selection of threading, visit a crafting, hobby or sewing supply store.

  3. Cut an arm’s length piece of cotton threading for small holes under ¼-inch in diameter. Thread the needle, doubling the string and tying a small knot at the end of the string to make a complete look from the string.

  4. Turn the garment inside out and hold the piece up and pucker the edges of the holes together. Sew long stitches over the hole instead of around the hole in order to cover the hole without making the sewn spot noticeable.

  5. Unfold and stretch out the piece before securing the thread once the hole is mended; this ensures that the cotton does not pucker around the mended spots. Pull the threaded needle underneath the previous stitches then cut off the excess string and repeat the entire process on another small hole.

  6. Tip

    Holes larger than ¼-inch require repairs with plain or decorative patches to prevent puckering around the mended spots. For such repair, iron on a patch and then sew the patch into place around the perimeter of the hole. Match the mending thread as closely as possible. For multicoloured colour garments with several holes, use several different thread colours in order to mend each small hole in the appropriate colour.

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Things You'll Need

  • Fabric pen or marker or piece of chalk
  • Cotton thread
  • Scissors
  • Needle
  • Iron-on patch
  • Clothing iron

About the Author

Stephanie Daniels is a freelance writer residing in Louisa, Kentucky. Daniels focuses on parenting, children, gardening and home-decor articles. She was the manager of Home Decor for Home Depot for 4 years. Daniels has written for many online publications and enjoys ghostwriting.

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