Invisible Mending

1-two-holesI dug out of the wardrobe my Jigsaw suit – which I haven’t seen for a few years! – and immediately spotted two little holes on the back of the right shoulder.  ‘Moths!’ I thought, ‘Aargh!!!’  But wait a minute.  If it was moths, why hadn’t they gone for my much tastier wool skirts and cashmere cardies, which I check often and they’re always fine?  In fact the holes looked very much like those I get on my T-shirts, always over the navel area and made, I suspect,1-satchel-strap-buckle by the buckle of my belt.

I think these holes were made by the buckle on the adjustable strap of my bag which I carry on my right.

I needed the suit almost pronto and didn’t have much time to do thorough research on how to repair it but a quick look on YouTube with the search term ‘invisible mending’ was mostly disappointing.  So I improvised a little repair job.  Tell me what you think.


  • I opened up the lining to get to the inside.  I cut off a small rectangle of fabric from the seam allowance after staystitching it half way to stop fraying.


  • I cut this rectangle in half and after dabbing some Pritt Stick (don’t scream!) on the affected area of jacket, I stuck the squares over the holes.


  • I cut a piece of fusible interfacing.  On the inside, I placed it over both patches and pressed with iron to seal all three in place.  I used a piece of silk organza when pressing the right side to stop the garment from getting shine.  No, I really did remember to do this, eventually!


1-after-repairNow the right side looked like this.  It was enough to stop light getting through but still those little sunken circles, like a vampire bite in Hammer Horror, bothered me.  I remembered one of my many chats with the dry-cleaner (a bit of a mate of mine these days), who told me the Invisible Mender comes every Thursday to do his thing.  I popped by to ask about the service but the dry cleaner shook his head.  ‘He died!’ he said.  My jaw dropped…  He wouldn’t be recruiting another.  The repairs were costing £50 and people were unwilling to pay, preferring to buy another suit.  ‘But how did he do it?’ I asked.  ‘What did he use?  A machine?!’

‘No, he would ‘weave’, he said.  He shrugged, ‘He’d take thread from the inside…’

A ha !


  • I went back to the seam allowance that keeps on giving and pulled off some threads.  They were too kinky and very short but luckily I had some thread conditioner.  What I didn’t have, and it would have been most helpful, is a needle threader (where did they all go?!)



  • I had to push the needle in before I could thread it, but eventually I got a little darning system going, trying to incorporate the patches beneath into the weave layer. It really helps when the ‘thread’ is exactly the same colour as the garment.  I kept pressing regularly: it made it all look much better!


1-finishedThis is the result, a close up.  I hope you don’t think it looks worse!  The area is bigger than the holes but I hope less noticeable.  It’s more of a ‘graze’ now and if I wear my hair down it will be in a shadow.

Have you ever used an invisible mending service or done it yourself?  Was the repair really invisible?

I leave you with a clip from Lead Balloon, where Jack Dee and Omid Djalili (playing a dry cleaner) have an argument on the topic:

26 thoughts on “Invisible Mending

  1. Now this is where knitting skill comes in handy. In grad school I was the go-to person for invisible mending of knits. I apply similar improvisation for woven fabric but a bit more imperfectly. Looks like you did a nice job.

    • PS One of my favourite of all craft blogs is Tom of Holland, who is an amazing knitter but also champion of mending. He is Brighton-based. You might find his work interesting.

  2. This is how I was told to invisible mend. Take some threads from inside the garment. Fold the hole in half with the fold going along the weave/knit of the fabric, and hand sew a seam the shape of a fish eye dart, Widest where the hole is, tapering to nothing about an inch away. Pressed hard from the wrong side the right side often looks like a slub in the weave.

      • Oh my, I did ‘that’ yesterday while trimming a seam on my running t-shirt. 😯 Luckily being cheap stretch fabric (one of those free ‘tech’ t-shirt you get at races), I just sewed another seam over the hole.

    • Wow, that is just the paragraph that you need if you discover the hole moments before the garment is needed. Will certainly try this approach! Thanks

  3. Very good tip about taking thread from the actual garment. It hadn’t occurred to me but because those bits are so small and fiddly a ‘cheater’ needle would help. That is a needle with a slot in the eye so you feed the needle in to the fabric and can thread even the smallest piece of thread into the open eye.

  4. Hey M! I can very much relate to this!

    I have done quite a lot of mending on jumpers and t-shits (I also have the problem with belt buckles…) but not very much on woven fabrics and never managed a successful invisible mend (not even on jumpers).

    I have done some research and I’ve found a post on pinterest that explains how to get about to do it, but it honestly looks incredibly complex. (pin is here:

    I think you did a good job and using the thread from the seam was genius!

  5. I have mended alot of moth holes in my time, mainly in Nick’s cashmere sweaters. I tend to use matching cotton as I sadly have a “good enough” approach to everything. And I feel if he doesn’t look after his things I am not going to attempt a truly “invisible mend.”

    But why the need for invisible. I don’t know if you have seen Prince Charles’s patched suits and coats but the mend is almost ostentatious. And I have seen some beautiful creative darning done in contrasting yarn on vintage sweaters that is a work of art.

    I hope your suit-necessary event goes well.

    • Do you think that’s a special machine that you rotate to and fro? Thanks for that Ruth. Interestingly, lots of new jeans have that look.

  6. I love ‘the seam allowance that keeps on giving’ comment. Well done for mending instead of binning which, to be honest, is probably what I would have done and then felt horribly guilty about afterward.
    Love the clip – never seen it before. The last bit made me laugh out loud.
    I wonder if that’s what was really on Monica Lewinsky’s dress and somebody misheard.

    • In a previous episode, Jack was the victim of an erroneous sprinkling on his cappuccino (cinnamon instead of choc) and then in his ire managed to spill it… it really was a cinnamon stain! Well worth watching the series if you can get hold of it!

  7. I have done quite a lot of mending over the years. One of my clients asked if I would do an ‘invisible mend’ on a suit but didn’t really want to pay. I suspect that is why the skill is dying out.
    Your suit looks fine. I suspect no-one will notice unless you point it out.

  8. I have an old book in my sewing library: The Frenway System of French Reweaving. 70 plus pages of how to do this and how to match various patterns and weaving patterns. I can see why such repairs are expensive. Unlike garments of the past which were well constructed and worth saving, today’s clothing is more likely to get tossed. Your repair is hardly noticeable and a much better solution than discarding.

  9. An internet search on the Frenway system finds, buried, a PDF of the book in the Shroud University website. No, I don’t make this stuff up.
    under “featured comment”
    Okay, so it’s a poor copy, the photos don’t read well, but the drawings do. It is the real deal.
    The internet is full of such amazing things…..thanks Internet!

  10. I just purchased a vintage Doncaster wool crepe dress (the lining feels like silk!!) for $1 at the thrift store and the only thing wrong with it is a small pull, and two small holes that look like moth damage. I’m going to find a bit of wool roving in a matching color I can twist into a thread, and try the reweaving method.

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