Introduction to Mending (Part 4) – Jersey Top, patch

This week I’m mending a tear in a jersey top – a stretchy long-sleeves shirt. It’s my least favourite mending task, but a favourite shirt! I know not everyone learns well from videos so this post is a ‘picture essay’.

Jersey is quite tricky to work with – and I really don’t enjoy this. This is because of how the fabric has been made – it is knit (if you look closely you can see little ‘V’s) and stretchy, and really resists sewing. Any mending will change the structure of it – it won’t stretch in the same way, and that can make wearing a mended jersey garment quite uncomfortable. It’s worth experimenting with different stitches and patches though. In my case, my tear is near the elbow but not quite on it, which means it doesn’t need to stretch quite as much as it might need to otherwise. Here is how I fixed it.

This is the tear in my shirt. It’s on the sleeve, roughly at the elbow.

Unfortunately it’s not a neat a tear as it looks. This means I’ll be putting a patch underneath rather than just sowing the two sides together.

I’m cutting my patch from this old pair of leggings that no longer stay up on their own. It is part of my ‘for mending’ pile of items that are too worn out to repair.

I’m cutting a generous patch, about an inch bigger on each side than the tear. I will trim it back once it’s sewed on, but I like to work with big patches to give me room.

I’m placing the patch underneath the tear. Sometimes I put them on top, but I think the size and location of this tear makes it necessary to put it underneath. 

I’m pinning the patch to the shirt using lots of pins. I’m starting at the end of the tear.

I’m pinning the shirt fabric as close to the edge as I can.

I’ve pinned it all the way round. Now it’s time to shoogle it about a bit to try and even it out. With jersey fabric I never get it to be totally flat though.

Second stage of pinning – round the outside of the patch, to keep the fabric from rolling under.

Time to sow! I’m using a long zig-zag stitch on the machine. If I were doing this by hand I’d mimic a zig-zag stitch.

I’m sowing across the edge of the torn fabric – one stitch is on the shirt, one on the patch beneath, back and forth.

Here we go! Not a beautiful mend, but a functional one. The tear is attached to the patch at all sides.

On the inside I’ve trimmed the patch using pinking (zig zag) shears. This will not unravel – it’s the one joy of jersey fabric!

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