How to Fix Holes in Cotton Shirts

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.

Step 1

Turn the cotton shirt inside out and lay it on a flat surface with the hole facing up toward you.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

Sew along the hole a second time using a zigzag stitch going from the second end of the hole back to the first end.

Step 5

Remove the shirt from the sewing machine and cut off any excess thread.

Step 6

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.

Step 7

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.

Things You'll Need

  • Sturdy thread

  • Sewing machine

  • Scissors

  • Iron-on mending patch

  • Iron


Follow any fabric care instructions before washing or ironing a damaged cotton shirt.

Load comments

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.