Mending a Sleeve and Sheet Tear: Hemming and Hawing returns



It has been a few years since I posted about mending and hemming but I only have so many tricks up my sleeves and it isn’t my faaaave – orite thing to do, so naturally falls down the to-do list. That said, I periodically need to mend my husband’s shirts, right below his elbow. Most of the time the tear is horizontal, although a random vertical tear just showed up (see large blue plaid). It isn’t on his ‘mousing arm’ and it occurs regardless of button-up brand.  See exhibit 1 – elbow close up.

Ex. 1 – It doesn’t look serrated? Bonus fur baby i spy…

Also of note: the red checkered shirt has been mended twice before (so today makes three). I know that mending can weaken fabric but this time I wanted tried a different approach. Previously I would patch on the inside and use a satin stitch to hold overlapped raw edges together. Inspired by a 1940s vintage sewing book gifted from my local Buy Nothing group, I tried a different method. reinforcing on the back with iron interfacing (not something the ladies had in 1940s) and then patching with a piece of quilting cotton and hand stitching on the front. I also used fray check (again, modern convenience) on the raw edges. I cut both the interfacing and cotton about 1/2 inch bigger all the way around. Clean up any lose threads on shirt. Iron on interfacing, add fray check. Then press under the edges of the cotton patch (about 1/4 inch) so there are no frayed edges. Pin in place and sew with tiny and tidy blanket or whip stitches.


I also did something similar with a cozy soft flat sheet that tore along the top hem. I used a machine zig zag stitch to hold the overlapped raw edges together and again a fabric patch but machine sewed it on. I also left the finished selvedge as one edge, since it was a scrap cut and #rebel.

basically sheets so soft from years of use and ‘excuse’ to use bee fabric.

Fingers crossed! The contrast patch isn’t too noticeable and for future mending (I can only imagine with a toddler boy), the patches could be out of an even more fun contrasting fabric. The effort has not be wasted even if we only get a few more wears out of the shirts.

Other mending, hemming posts:

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