Mending a Fast Fashion T-Shirt

Mended fast fashion t-shirt.

I recently patched a hole in a t-shirt I purchased at Target this past summer. Sure, the shirt only cost about $8, but it was new: I didn’t want to pitch it or toss it into the rag pile.

I’ve become interested in mending and repairing clothing, but it’s rare that I wear a garment until it starts to come apart. (I’ll make an exception for the “chub rub” holes that appear in my well-loved jeans!) I figure it’s probably rare for a lot of people to wear their clothes until they need mending. Also, in some settings, it’s gauche to wear mended clothing. I’m particularly thinking of my husband’s shirts that I made into a quilt block because of the holes in the elbows. Sure, they could have been patched, but it wouldn’t be a professional look at the office. (I know it sounds superficial, but it matters!)

So, my new t-shirt was laying on the floor of the closet and came into contact with the vacuum, ripping a hole. (I’m being vague here to protect the party who left the shirt on the floor instead of tracking down the laundry basket and the party who was vacuuming. Haha!) I wasn’t ready to let the shirt go—I had just bought it! I had another fast fashion t-shirt that I had worn for several years, but it was pilling and it didn’t fit well anymore because of, ahem, some weight gain. That shirt became my patch material.

The first step I skipped was researching how to properly repair a hole in a knit fabric. From my memory of what reverse appliqué looks like and works, I decided to use that method—or at least how I figured the technique works! Instead of using a circle or square just large enough to cover the hole, I went with a heart shape.

Heart shape drawn; patch pinned; needle threaded.

I drew a heart around the hole with a water-soluble pencil and then pinned the patch to the wrong side of the shirt. Using embroidery thread of a complementary color, I stitched around the heart through both the shirt and the patch.

Stitching finished.
The wrong side of the patch, before trimming.

I trimmed the patch about ¼” outside the stitching. Then, I trimmed the shirt about ¼” inside the stitching.

Shirt and patch trimmed. Ready to wear!

The heart lands on the hip.

Not the best place for a contrasting patch, but hey! I didn’t choose where the vacuum tore a hole!

And, just for funsies, I appliquéd a tiny heart on the inside of the left sleeve so that when I flip it up, the heart is visible. Get it? Get it? I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve!

Fun! I want to do something similar with other shirts.

I don’t plan to wear the shirt anywhere fancy. It’s a weekend-type shirt. But, that’s what it was before I patched it anyway. I’m just happy I can still get some wear out of it!


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