Embrace The Tears

Skill Level: Beginner

Banner Image

Let’s show off the wear and tear of our garments by using fabric scraps, making hearts and flowers, and playing with different stitches! Starting with the basics, I’ll show you how to mend a hole in a pair of jeans. Next, we will use a buttonhole stitch to secure the threads of your worn sweater. Building on these principles, I’ll show you how to use a whip stitch and fabric scraps to turn a simple sweatshirt into something unique and fun! Once you know these techniques, you can play with your stitches and fabric scraps to embrace those tears!


  • Anchor® Sparkles Embroidery Hoop & Frame 6”
  • Coats & Clark™ Embroidery Floss
  • Susan Bates 5 Pack, Steel Yarn Needles 2”
  • Coats & Clark™ All Purpose Sewing Thread
  • Pair of Scissors
  • Heat erasable pen or chalk
  • Pin
  • Fabric scraps: When mending, I think it is best to use fabric scraps since they add charm and whimsy to your project. I enjoy using vintage textiles in my sewing projects. I then save the scraps to use for mending. You could use a fabric napkin, dishcloth, or piece of clothing you would part with.

Start With The Basics - How To Mend A Hole

1. Cut a scrap of fabric that is larger than your hole.

Select your fabric image

2. Trim the edges of the hole to clean any loose threads with scissors. Using a piece of chalk or heat erasable pen mark a square or circle your hole. This will help to ensure your stitch line holding your patch in place looks good.

3. Place fabric behind the hole and pin into place. I move the pins around as I stitch so I don’t poke myself.

Arrangrment of the pins image

4. Place Anchor® Sparkles Embroidery Hoop & Frame 6” around hole.

5. Using Coats & Clark Embroidery Floss, stitch a square or circle your hole to hold your patch in place. Use tiny running stitches to catch both your project and your patch. Go slowly and do one stitch at a time.

Basic hoop hole image

6. When your circle or square is finished, stitch your Coats & Clark Embroidery Floss into your hole

Basic Sew Square image

7. Whip stitch: using a whip stitch come up through the patch and down through the patch and your project. Make sure your stitches go through a sturdy part of your project instead of just catching the fray, you want to make sure this is a sturdy mend!

Whip Sitch a hole image

8. Tie off the end of your Coats & Clark Embroidery Floss at the back of your project.

Tie off the end of the thread to the back side image

9. Trim excess material of patch.

Excess thread trimming image

10. The finished product will look something like this:

Final Project Look Image

11. With an irregular shaped tear you can use the same technique.

Irregular Tear On The Fabric Image

Buttonhole Stitch

Next, let’s work on a Buttonhole Stitch to show off some holes in a favorite sweater. I enjoy using a buttonhole stitch in this application, although a blanket stitch works great too!

1. Place Anchor® Sparkles Embroidery Hoop & Frame 6” around tear in garment.

2. Secure a knot in Coats & Clark Embroidery Floss.

Buttonhole Stitch Image

3. Working around the perimeter of the hole, use a buttonhole stitch to secure the loose yarn ends.

Buttonhole Stitch Around Perimeter Image

4. Buttonhole stitch: Insert the needle through the hole, bringing Coats & Clark Embroidery Floss under the eye and tip of the needle. Pull the thread through, creating a little knot.

Buttonhole Stitch Insert The Needle Image

5. Secure Coats & Clark Embroidery Floss by weaving through stitches and securing with a double knot.

Buttonhole Stitch Secure Image
Secured Buttonhole Stitch Using Double Knot image

Fun Shapes With Fabric Scraps

Cut fun shapes and play with the colors of your thread and fabric scraps to embellish your garment. The sweatshirt below was a great color; by adding these fun mended circles, we created a unique one!

1. Draw circles on your project in any design you wish. I used a heat-erasable pen and water glasses to ensure perfect circles.

2. Cut out circles.

Cutout scrapes Image

3. Place fabric behind the circles and pin into place.

Placing Fabrics Image

4. Place Anchor® Sparkles Embroidery Hoop & Frame 6” around one of the holes. Your project and fabric scrap mustn't be stretched around the hoop, which will distort your circle's shape.

Placing Hoop Image

5. Using Coats & Clark Embroidery Floss, whip stitch around the circle coming up through the fabric scrap and down through your project and fabric scrap.

Whip Stitch Image

6. Repeat for all the circles you have cut out in your project.

Repeat Steps Image1
Repeat Steps Image2
Repeat Steps Image3

7. Turn the sweatshirt inside out and trim down your fabric scrap, leaving ¾” border.

Turn The Project Inside Out Image

8. Using Coats & Clark All Purpose Sewing Thread whip stitch around edge of fabric to reduce fray. You can catch a thread of your project to hold the fabric scrap in place.

Whip Stitch Around Edge Image

Let's Make A Heart

Using a combination of the above techniques you can make any shape you want! Here’s how I made a heart!

Draw A Heart Shape On The Fabric Image
Cut Out The Heart Shape Image
Use A Whip Stitch Image

Play With Stitches To Create Fun Designs

I used a tight whip stitch around the tear for the patching of these jeans. I then played with different running stitch lengths to create a floral or sun pattern!

Stitching Jeans Image
Stitching Jeans Finished Design 1 Image
Stitching Jeans Finished Design

You can embrace the tears in your projects with fabric scraps and simple stitches! Instead of hiding the wear and tear in your garments, show them off with these fun techniques!

Author, Amber Groen

Amber Groen is a fashion designer, enthusiastic knitter, and avid mender in Toronto, Canada. She is a graduate of Parsons School of Design.