How to Mend a Torn Seam by Hand

Ever wash your clothes in the washing machine* only to find a rip in one of your garments? Don’t you hate it when that happens? Even when you use the supposedly gentle delicate cycle, tears happen to the best of us. Don’t fret chic-a-dees! If you happened to find a tear at the seam of one of your favorite items, here’s a quick step-by-step tutorial on how to mend it by hand.

A little side note: I always recommend hand washing all vintage garments that can be washed. The dress I used in the photographs below is from a high street retailer that probably had been washed one too many times.

Don’t let a silly tear get you down! Make do and mend. It’s quick and painless, I promise!
What you’ll need:

  • A needle
  • Thread that matches the dominant color of your garment
  • A pair of scissors
Step 1

Thread your needle and turn your garment inside out. A simple enough step, but if your a sewing newbie here’s a video tutorial to help you thread your needle and tie a good knot.

Step 2

Starting from the right and just below of the tear, insert your needle in the seam and weave your needle in and out, gently pulling the thread through. This is called the running stitch. Continue with this stitch across the length of the tear.

(Top tip: I like to start the running stitch about a quarter of an inch to the right of the tear and end about a quarter of an inch to the left of the tear, just to make sure the stitches are extra secure.)

 

 

 

Step 3

After you’ve reached the end of the tear (or a quarter of an inch after the tear as explained above) bring the needle around the top of the seam and insert the needle through the back of the seam towards the side that is facing you. Pull the thread through but don’t pull too hard.  You don’t want the edge to fold down. This will create a loop around the edge of the seam.

This “over stitch” will secure the stitches you’ve already done and prevent the edges of the seam to fray.

 

This is what your stitches should look like when you’re done.
Step 4

Finish up and “tie off”. Tie at least two or three knots and to be extra secure sew two or three small stitches in the same place. Pull hard on the thread and snip the end as close to the fabric as possible.

 

Step 5

Turn the garment back around the right way and Bob’s your uncle! You’ve mended the tear! Make yourself a Manhattan and admire your work!