How To Mend A Hole In Fabric

Learn how to mend a hole in fabric without sewing by needle felting. It’s super easy! Learn how to how to patch clothes by hand by watching my video. I’ll also demonstrate here in this blog post. Read on to learn how to repair a hole in fabric by hand. There are so many ways to mend holes in fabrics that don't need sewing. You can grab excess fabric and use an iron on patch for a nice effect. But today's example is a technique using wool roving. 

Why is it important to mend your clothes in the first place?

Knowing how to mend holes is important as it extends the lifecycle of your clothes. Did you know if you keep a piece of clothing in use for nine months longer than its typical use cycle, you reduce its carbon footprint by 30%? You can reduce your closet’s carbon footprint by keeping your fave clothes mended and repaired by hand. That’s a great reason to hang onto your pieces and mend them.

If you don’t know already, Fibershed is a great non-profit that started in West Marin with a focus on the micro textile industry here in the Bay Area. Many other chapters have risen up around the country. They create connection and community between farmers, mills, natural dyers, knitters, weavers and designers. They host a Mending Challenge every year in the fall. That inspired me to demonstrate different ways to mend your clothes by hand.

Did you know if you keep a piece of clothing in use for nine months longer than its typical use cycle, you reduce its carbon footprint by 30%?

My navy sweater with the mended hole and inspiration.

Mended sweater with inspiration.

Here’s my sweater that had a hole in the sleeve. In an earlier Live, I mended one hole with a bit of stitching. Today I’m going to mend another hole near the waistband by using needle felting techniques. This is how to repair torn fabric without sewing. I'm basically creating patches for holes in clothes using wool roving and needles.

Inspiration for my needle felted patch. A glass vase by Geoffrey Baxter, 1966.

“Drunken Bricklayer” by Geoffrey Baxter, credit: Whitefriar

Design Inspiration

For this patch, I found inspiration in mid century modern design. I love this glass vase called “Drunken Bricklayer” by Geoffrey Baxter done in 1966. It’s just the perfect askew layering of color and shape that I thought I could translate into a needle felted patch on my sweater.

Here are my tools I use to create the repair patch on my sweater.

These wool rovings help you repair a tear without sewing.

What tools do you need for wool felting

The tools you’ll need are a needle felter which is that green tool in the photo. These are very sharp and long needles so be very careful. There’s also a brush board that’s essential to protect the surface and needles. Take out one long needle from the top of the tool, leaving four in the holder. Take your wool roving, which is yarn that’s been processed but not spun into yarn, and pull off a little bit of it. Shape and massage it with your fingers and place it over the hole.

Underside of patch showing hole in sweater

How to mend a hole in fabric. See the underside of the patch.

Place the brush board behind your design and hole in the fabric that you’re mending. Starting at the edges start punching the needle through the roving into the brush board. Work your way around the roving edges, creating and shaping the rectangle design you want.

It might be a bit strange that I'm showing you how to punch holes in fabric, but with the wool roving behind the hole, you're actually making a patch out of wool. Keep going!

Once you have the edges done, take the next color roving and repeat the same actions. It's so rewarding to see this patch coming to life. 

Repair Your Clothes Without Sewing

This is such a relaxing way to mend clothes without sewing, don’t you think? Not that there's anything wrong with hand sewing or machine sewing, but sometimes it's nice to change up your techniques.

With visible mending, you're only limited by your imagination. If you don't want your mending to show, you can always use matching thread or wool.

Close up of orange patch on navy sweater.

Mending without sewing is quite relaxing.

Once you’re finished creating the third rectangle, the next step is to tamp down your design. Using the green tool with four needles, just go over your whole design by punching the needles through the roving and sweater to the brush board beneath. If any of this is confusing, just watch the video.

There you have it! You’ve just learned how to fix a hole in clothes without using a sewing machine. This is great mending for beginners.

Patching clothes by hand is incredibly rewarding, isn't it? Do you have clothes you want to mend? I'm looking for ideas from you as to what you'd want to mend next. Leave your ideas in the comments below. Check out my other blog post where I fix holes in my sweater using the same technique. Can you see the difference in the two projects? 

Care & Repair

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  • Hi Sara W. Yes the brush board is the same as a needle felting pad. Email me if you have any questions. I’d love to see your results!

    Jenny on
  • I love the patched design. The design is unique, colorful, and outstanding.
    You have an ‘original’ renewed sweater. Love it.

    Chalice fong on
  • Thx for your post. Im going to go to Lacis and get the tools and try this. 1 question: Is a brush board the same thing as a needle felting pad?

    sara weinberg on

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