How-To: Mend a Hole in a Shirt Arm Seam

Craft & Design

March Mending Month
During Mending Month, we’ve had great tutorials for mending holes on elbows, shirt fronts, and pants legs that result in adding adorable embellishments to your clothes. But what if you have a hole in a place where you don’t want to add embellishment? What if you want your mending to be a little more seamless? Today I’m going to show you how to mend a hole in the seam of a shirt arm so it’s just about invisible, and reinforced so it hopefully won’t tear again.

This is one of my daughter’s favorite T-shirts. She’d like to wear it every day, but after just 2 washings, a hole appeared in the seam of one of the arms. It’s been sitting on my sewing table ever since, waiting for a mending so my daughter can get back to wearing it on a regular basis.
Mending a hole at a seam is pretty simple, and is mostly just lining up the seam fabric and stitching it back into place. However, when I turned her shirt inside out and pinned the fabric, I realized that the frayed edge of the hole would make it just about impossible to match up again, and would likely not leave enough fabric to create a solid stitching surface that would hold up over time.
I decided to cut a thin strip of a fabric in a similar weight (in this case, knit) and use it to reinforce the area for stitching. I also realized that pinning the fabric to run through my machine would be difficult, so I decided to attach the reinforcement piece with a simple basting stitch.
I used a tight zigzag stitch on my machine and back-tacked at each end of the reinforcement strip. After stitching, I trimmed the reinforcement strip as close to the stitches as possible and turned the garment right side out.
Voilà! The seam is mended and reinforced against future ripping, and even though the backing fabric was darker than the T-shirt fabric, it’s not visible because I trimmed it so close. Easy, peasy. In all, the mend took under 20 minutes (and that was mostly because I was photographing it). I’ll be so glad to finally return my daughter’s favorite T-shirt to her wardrobe rotation.

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