How to Mend a Torn Seam by Hand or Machine

An easy mending fix: how to mend torn seams by hand or by machine.

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I’ve been on a bit of a mending tear (ha!) recently. I had this huge stack of things that needed to be fixed, and I have other things on my list, but I’m plugging away and thought I would share some basic mending methods with you. An easy mending fix: how to mend torn seams by hand or by machine.

Probably the most common problem that requires mending — and one of the easiest to deal with — is tears in garments along seams. Here’s how to mend a torn seam.

How to Mend a Torn Seam by MachineAn easy mending fix: how to mend torn seams by hand or by machine.

If you have a tear along a seam in a pair of pants, skirt, dress or shirt, you can probably mend it pretty easily with a sewing machine if you have one.

This torn seam is in the armpit of one of my favorite shirts, and it’s a super easy fix with a sewing machine.

Just make sure you’re only sewing through the two pieces of the garment that need to be sewn together, and try to place your stitches so that the seam allowance is the same as it was. Use straight stitches (I go for medium length) and you can sew forward and backward over the hole to reinforce the seam, if you like.

Give the garment a stretch when you’re done sewing to make sure the thread doesn’t pop through and open up the seam again. Trim the excess thread and you’re ready to go.

How to Mend a Torn Seam by HandAn easy mending fix: how to mend torn seams by hand or by machine.

If you don’t have a sewing machine or the seam isn’t something you can sew on a machine, you’ll need to sew it by hand. That was the case with this black sweater, where the collar was ripping off the sweater along the back.

The method is pretty much the same, you’re just using hand sewing to re-create the seam where you need to. I used matching thread and a basic sewing needle and a whip stitch (which is just sewing both pieces together from the outside, going around and around the seam, so the stitching is visible).

I love this sweater, too, and had been wearing it for more than a year with the seam ripping out.

It makes me so happy to have been able to bring these two pieces back to life. Sewing the machine seam literally took less than five minutes, and the seam I did by hand, maybe half and hour (there were lots of little holes). Well worth it to bring some pieces I adore back into good wearing condition.

Do you do mending? Have any questions or things you need to tackle but aren’t sure how to do it? Let me know and I’ll try to help!


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  1. When any of the family have a hole in something I’m always relieved when it’s the seam – so easy to fix. Your photos are super clear, perfect for a beginner.
    I’m a big fan of mending rather than getting rid so I’m always happy to see someone else sharing the message too!

  2. I use Addi Express King-Size Knitting Machine on a regular basis to make scarves, and blankets for family and friends, once you get used to it, it’s very easy to make what you want without having to worry about it skipping needles. Sarah, thanks for post!

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