Friday, August 23, 2013

Make it Better: Fixing a Hole in a Cashmere Sweater DIY

I've mentioned before that I have some clothing I still wear from my grade school days. Okay, well, from the summer after sixth grade, to be exact. One of these items is a navy cashmere sweater from J. Crew. I adore this sweater. It's cozy, it has full-length sleeves, not the three-quarter sleeves often found now, and is a versatile, hip-long length. It is thin enough to wear all year, but not so thin that it doesn't add a good amount of warmth. And the quality of the cashmere is such that it has not yet started to pill, even after all these years.

It has, however, recently acquired a couple moth holes. Not at all willing to give this sweater up just yet, I took a few minutes to stitch them up. Continue reading for the quick hand-sewing instructions I was taught to stitch up small holes in a sweater....

Supplies needed:
-Needle and thread of the same, or a slightly darker shade.
(I used a lighter shade so the stitches can be seen in the photos.)

1) Find the direction of the weave by looking at the outside of the sweater. It is harder to see the lines from the inside, which is why we first look at the outside. Notice how the weave created lines that run horizontal in this case? The needle should follow these lines for the main stitches, or head toward the edge of the sweater in this case.

2) From the inside of the sweater, start the needle heading in the direction of the weave. The first stitch will bring both sides of the hole together, but not tight -- just enough so that the edges of the hole touch.

3) Add a couple more stitches all heading in the same direction as the first stitch, and all only tight enough to make the edges of the hole touch.

4) This is the outside of the sweater at this point. Notice how it's a little bumpy? The next step will correct this.

5) Starting from further out than where the hole starts, move the needle perpendicular to the stitches already made. Try to not go fully through the sweater, only grabbing between the weave. This will keep the stitches invisible from the outside. (Although, if one looks closely, my stitches can be seen from the outside. If the thread matches, it won't be noticeable.) Go past the other end of the hole as well, and pull just tight enough to straighten out the lines of the weave. This step will require checking the outside of the sweater as one stitches and pulls from the inside.

6) If the hole is still a little bumpy, repeat step five if desired, but it will hold just fine like this as well. On lighter colored sweaters the bumps will be more visible than on darker colors, so they may require a few additional stitches.

It took less than five minutes, and only four or five stitches. Now the hole is gone, and the sweater has been saved for another year.

I hope I can continue to fix this sweater until I am able to find a replacement of similar quality. Knowing the sweater is on its last legs, I've tried for years to find a good replacement, but haven't found the quality and classic styling I want yet, so any shopping suggestions are more than welcome!


  1. The only thing I can suggest is a good quality thrift or consignment shop, as they just don't seem to make things the way they used to...unless super speedy (especially in NY where I am from) and you can find well made quality ;pieces for less vintage!

    I have two very finely knit cashmere sweaters (grey and beige) with a few tiny moth holes and a very good finely knit cotton sweater (pale pink) that resembles a cashmere, even having the dotted shoulder seams typical of a cashmere sweater (click here on the beige sweater if you don't know what I mean by those dotted shoulder seams: ( )
    All three have tiny holes that need repair. I have been hesitant because I know with the light colors my stitches will show. I wonder if a seamstress would do a better, neater, more invisible job than I would do! ☺️ Thanks for sharing!

  2. On a side note....I just found this, and I am considering it.
    Best wishes in the new Year. I have been enjoying your blog!


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