Cotton is a breathable, comfortable fabric used to make a wide variety of clothes. Cotton shirts come in all shapes and sizes, from office blouses to easy, stretchy weekend T-shirts. This natural, comforting fabric can rip or develop holes over time from daily wear and tear. Fortunately, with a few sewing tips and a little patience, small holes can be fixed on a budget. Holes along seams are easier to fix than gaping holes at the front or the back of a cotton shirt, but both can be fixed with some careful attention.
Turn the cotton shirt inside out and lay it on a flat surface with the hole facing up toward you.
Thread your sewing machine with a thread that matches the color of your cotton shirt as closely as possible. Take the shirt with you to the fabric store, if necessary, to compare thread colors.
Place the edge of the hole at the sewing machine foot. Make sure the fabric sits flat and the two jagged edges align and are pulled together so they touch in order to create a smooth finish. Sew along the hole from one end of the hole to the other using a zigzag stitch to close it up.
Sew along the hole a second time using a zigzag stitch going from the second end of the hole back to the first end.
Remove the shirt from the sewing machine and cut off any excess thread.
Cut out a small piece of iron-on mending patch that matches the size of the hole in the shirt. This step is optional for cotton shirts that are made of a thicker material or when the hole needs to be stabilized.
Place the iron-on patch onto the back of the hole. Heat the iron to the cotton setting. Place the iron over the patch and hold for 10 to 15 seconds until it sets. Allow the shirt to cool.