How to Sew a Hole


Use a simple needle and thread to swiftly make repairs in any fabric.

Using a needle and thread to sew a small hole in a white cotton t-shirt.

How to Sew a Hole in Fabric

A shirt with a small hole needs to be repaired.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

A shirt with a small hole needs to be repaired.

Honing sewing skills can help you preserve your favorite fabrics and help them last for years to come. Whether you want to extend the life of a pair of leggings or fix a tear left by cat claws in the curtains, learning how to sew a hole offers many benefits in your life. Making simple repairs to your fabrics can help keep items out of the trash and reduce costs for replacement products.

This tutorial works great for sewing small holes in fabric. You can even use it to sew damaged seams. For larger holes where fabric was lost, consider sewing a patch that can easily cover the hole. A patch will serve as a substitute for fabric that was torn away.

Supplies

  • needle
  • thread

1. Prepare the Fabric

Check the area around the hole in your fabric. If there are long, loose threads, trim them back so the edges of the hole are clean.

2. Feed Your Needle and Knot the Thread

  • Cut your thread. Trim a long piece of thread and feed it through the hole in the needle. Use a needle threader to save yourself time.

  • Choose whether you will sew a single or double strand of thread. If you’re fixing a delicate hole in a delicate, lightweight fabric, create a knot at the tail of one of the ends of the thread, leaving the other end loosely pulled through the needle. You can easily create a knot at the end of your trailing thread by looping the thread around your finger and then rolling the loop between your fingertips until it tangles into a knot. If you tighten down on the knot, it will hold tight. For thicker fabrics, double up the thread and knot both ends together at the same time.
Using a needle and thread to sew a small hole in a white cotton t-shirt.

How to Sew a Hole in Fabric

Create a knot in the thread.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Create a knot in the thread.

3. Begin Your Backstitch

  • Position the needle on the backside of the fabric. The needle must come through the backside of the fabric so that the knot in the thread remains hidden once you finish sewing the hole. Also, remember to keep the needlepoint close to the edge of the hole — within 1/8 inches of the frayed area is best. If you’re closing a long tear, start at one end and plan to work across the hole. If you’re repairing a round hole in fabric, you can start at any point around the edge.

  • Push the needle through the fabric. Continue pulling the thread gently until the knot catches and is firmly in place against the backside of the fabric.

  • Did your knot pull through the fabric? If your knot was too small for the weave of your fabric, you may need to layer extra knots. Triple or quadruple-tie the thread to make it more substantial.
Using a needle and thread to sew a small hole in a white cotton t-shirt.

How to Sew a Hole in Fabric

Initiate the backstitch.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Initiate the backstitch.

4. Complete Your First Stitch

  • Pierce the needle through the topside of the fabric close to where the thread emerged. Keeping it in close proximity will lessen the chance of the thread pulling, pinching or puckering the fabric.

  • Pull the needle to the backside until the thread is taut but not over-tightened. You just completed the first stitch.
Using a needle and thread to sew a small hole in a white cotton t-shirt.

How to Sew a Hole in Fabric

Complete stitches across the small hole using a needle and thread.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Complete stitches across the small hole using a needle and thread.

5. Continue Sewing to Close the Hole

  • Repeat with additional stitches. Loop the needle from the backside through to the front side of the fabric.

  • Keep the stitches in close proximity. The wider the stitching, the more likely you’ll be able to see the site of the hole. Stitches that are nearly as tight as the fabric themselves will help completely heal the hole and make it less visible.
Using a needle and thread to sew a small hole in a white cotton t-shirt.

How to Sew a Hole in Fabric

Use a needle and thread to sew a hole.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Use a needle and thread to sew a hole.

6. Knot and Trim the Thread

  • Pull the thread back to the backside. Once you’ve closed the hole, push the needle back to the backside of the fabric.

  • Use your fingers to create a loose looping knot in the thread. Slide it toward the fabric and tighten the thread into a knot as close to the fabric as possible. Then, use the needle to your advantage and create an additional two or three knots around the end stitch.

  • Trim the tail of the thread with scissors and admire your work.

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