Bigger Holes? No problem!

Maybe you have a hole or a rip too gaping to darn. Or your favorite jeans have worn dangerously thin and you risk putting a knee through every time you wear them. (This happens quickly with distressed or faded jeans because of the chemical processes used to make them look worn.)

Let’s discuss a number of techniques used to patch holes and sagging rips. There are two major types of patches, overpatching and underpatching, and several different ways to attach the patch that will change the final look.



Overpatching is what most people picture when they think of a patch: a piece of fabric covering the outside of a hole. Common methods of application include:

-sewing or serging around the edges,

-using iron-on patches

-using fusible webbing around the edges of the patch.



Underpatching is applying a patch to the inside of a hole, so the fabric shows through. This method shows the ripped edges of the hole but hides the edges of the patch. Many people use a patterned or colored piece of fabric underneath for visual interest, lace also works well. Iron on patches don’t work well with this method, but fusible webbing does.



Sashiko is a sewing method that works well with both over- and underpatching. Originally a Japanese method for mending kimonos, sashiko involves covering a patch with a repeating pattern of stitches. These stitches hold the two layers of fabric together, disguise the patch’s edges, and look decorative. Sashiko ranges from lines of running stitches, to elaborate geometric patterns.


To apply a patch, first pick a piece of fabric and either baste it or use fusible webbing to hold it in place.

Then, sew through the patch and the garment around the edges of the damaged area.

Trim the edges, and, if overpatching, turn them under to create a hem, sew in place.
Lastly, add embroidery or sashiko as desired for extra stability and decoration.

Written by Lady M

Lady Marigold Fairfax, dubbed Lady M by society columnist G. M. Parker, regularly sets the London social scene abuzz with her cutting edge fashions. What no one knows is that she creates all her masterpieces at home in her costumery studio, with the help of her Romani seamstress, Zelda.

W R I T E   T O   L A D Y   M

Have a fashion question or a fabulous and frugal tip you’d like her to share in this column?
You can email Lady M directly at

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