How to Mend a Torn Seam

A seam that is torn, ripped, or falling apart is one of the most common damage issues that can happen to a garment. Fortunately, repair is typically easy. Smarten up your wardrobe and save your favorite well-worn items with this quick guide to stitching up seams.


  1. Image titled Mend a Torn Seam Step 1 preview
    Locate the torn seam. If it is not immediately obvious, turn the clothing item inside out and pull gently at the seam to locate the hole.It is usually OK if the seam opens a little more in the process.
  2. Image titled Mend a Torn Seam Step 2 preview
    Thread the needle. Use a mid-sized needle, and a thread which matches the clothing. Cut a length of thread roughly as long as your arm. Wet one end of the thread to smooth the fibers together, push it through the hole at the top of the needle, and pull halfway through. Tie a small knot at the end of the thread. If you are sewing really tough material like denim, you can use a thimble to push the needle through without hurting your fingers.
  3. Image titled Mend a Torn Seam Step 3 preview
    Stitch it up. Push the needle through the seam just below the tear.
    • Weave it through to the other side of the seam and back again.
    • Gently pull the thread through, creating a running stitch.
    • Continue this stitch along the length of the tear.
  4. Image titled Mend a Torn Seam Step 4 preview
    Over stitch. From the point where you finished your running stitch, insert the threaded needle into one side of the seam, and directly out the other side. Then pull the cotton over the top to repeat the stitch, entering from the same side as before.
    • Continue back along the length of the tear. This secures the running stitches and prevents the seam from fraying.
  5. Image titled Mend a Torn Seam Step 5 preview
    Cast off. Tie 2 or 3 simple knots at the end of the stitches.
    • To finally secure it, sew several small stitches in the same place.
    • Pull hard on the thread and snip it as close to the material as possible.
  6. Image titled Mend a Torn Seam Step 6 preview
    Turn the item back around the right way. Admire your handiwork. As good as new!


  • Always clear away any loose threads around the seam before sewing.
  • The right needle for the job is important - the thicker the fabric, the stronger the needle; the thinner and more delicate the fabric, the thinner the needle.
  • Places to find needle and thread (besides a fabric store): drug stores, big retail stores, dollar stores, and many hotels may have such supplies at the main desk.
  • If you cannot match the thread exactly, try to find one that is as close as possible. Given that it is a seam, it will be barely noticeable, as seams do not show. In an emergency, generally any thread color will be's better than nothing.
  • If you have never done this before, note that it is easy! It does not take very long to get the feel for this simple style of sewing and it can mean the difference between tossing a good piece of clothing and keeping it for many years to come.
  • A staple or two will do in an emergency if no needle or thread are available, but it will not be a washable repair--the staple will eventually rust. Remove the staple when possible, then fix as described.


  • Don't make the running stitch too close or too tight.

Things You'll Need

  • Some thread the same color as the clothing. (Or any thread, if you cannot match exactly)
  • 1 mid-sized needle
  • 1 pair of scissors (a nail clipper to trim threads will work if no scissors are available)
  • 1 thimble (optional)

Sources and Citations

  • VideoJug A video of mending a torn seam. Original source of article. Shared with permission and appreciation.

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