The Easiest Visible Mend

3 materials
15 Minutes

Split seams happen! Whether it's an item from your closet or an item you find secondhand, loose threads or a full split along an existing seam is a pretty common garment flaw.

I experienced this problem with a gorgeous leather-front J. Crew Collection cardigan I purchased secondhand. It could have been a completely invisible fix, but I took a different approach to make the pre-owned sweater feel uniquely mine.

Here is the original split seem along the cuff and sleeve.

The mend is simple enough.


  1. Turn the sweater/garment inside out and pin original seam together.
  2. Thread a needle with thread the color of your choice - go matching for an invisible fix or choose your favorite color to add your unique signature.
  3. Knot end of threads and use stitch of choice (I used a very quick and easy overcast stitch) to close the seam; knotting at finished end.

Turn the garment right side out and - if you've chosen a contrasting color thread - admire your handiwork!

I love that this mend will be nearly invisible to others, but I will see it and be reminded that I gave this amazing garment a new life!

Have you ever intentionally let your stitches show? Or have you customized a garment with a simple visible mend in some other way?

Suggested materials:

  • Thread
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing needle


Join the conversation

  • Shuganne Shuganne on May 02, 2021

    I have seen a video of an artist using kintsugi to repair a porcelain vase. After gluing, it was a very small almost invisible crackline. Then he painting the repaired lines in gold. It really was quite beautiful.

    When I repair clothing, I sometimes embroider over the patched area and then add several more embroidered areas whimsically. I also sometimes buy iron on decorative patches, and always reinforce them with stitching so they are sure to stay.

    I like the idea of repairing real holes, tears, snags, etc. I don't understand jeans bought with deliberate holes and distressing. It seems about as, what? illogical?, as the previous comment that the repair should have been made invisibly.

    To each her own; I don't have time to spend being judgmental about the small things.

    • See 2 Previous
    • Shuganne Shuganne on May 05, 2021

      It does seem the reply in question is removed. The writer just went into detail about how to repair the sleeve invisibly and 'correctly.'

      The second comment made reference to kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing items and making the repairs obvious and decorative. The philosophy is that this 'scar' is part of the item's history, or life, and shouldn't be a point of embarassment because life gives us all scars (and wrinkles) i.e., crowsfeet come from smiling and laughing, so they should be celebrated because the wrinkle-wearer was and is a happy person. Think of them as a badge of honor to a well-lived life.

      I love your idea of wearing a somewhat visible repair as a badge of courage to try a new skill and to embrace the imperfection as proof that you are trying a new skill to improve yourself and that you are willing to risk a less-than-perfect result so that you may honor the garment's character and qualities: its original beauty, its time-spanning ability to give you warmth and protection from bad weather.

      None of us are perfect and we should extend that acceptance to our possessions, too. To throw away a wonderful coat is the mark of our throw-away society. One day, I fear, we will go from abandoning slightly imperfect or out of style things to slightly imperfect or old people. It reminds me of the nazi philosophy of getting rid of the physically impaired, the mentally impaired and those who were less than acceptable because of their heritage. Too deep a subject for a fashion and style website, but it needs to be considered and remembered.

  • Ellie Ellie 4 days ago

    If I wanted to display a repair as “my own”, I would have used a decorative stitch in a slightly different different color color that would be distinctive yet not glaring such as a zigzag or embroidery stitch.

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