Tuesday, March 24

How to Hide a Hole (with an Appliqué)

A while back, Sophie entered an “I only want to wear dresses” stage so I went to a local thrift store to stock up. Found some great deals, including an adorable rainbow plaid dress. But I didn’t notice the HOLE until she was wearing it for the first time. IMG_1509
So what do you do? You slap on a big appliqué right over the hole.
Before and After
I did take pictures along the way, so here are my steps…
1. I drew a flower shape on some fusible web and cut it out. Then I should have first fused the web onto some fabric and then cut out the fabric, staying about 1/4” away from the edge of the fusible web where possible. But no. Instead I cut out the fabric first while merely holding the fusible web against it, which is why—in the photo—the white flower and yellow flower don’t fit right at the corners…) IMG_1512
2. I fused the flower onto the dress, over the hole of course. Then I drew a line as a guide for my stitching, using a colored pencil because it was handy and happened to be the same color as my thread. I tried to draw where the edge of the fusible web was, as best as I could tell through the fabric. IMG_1513
3. I stitched on the line I just drew… or at least, I tried to! (I thought it would be easier and faster to lower my feed dogs and stitch it freehand. Not so easy. Not so fast. And definitely not so pretty. Maybe a darning foot would have helped. And some experience stitching freehand! Good thing I’m an experienced ripper-outer…) IMG_1516
4. I stitched over the line a second time, to make the stitching stand out more. I took my time around the curves, sometimes stopping with the needle in the down position so I could lift the presser foot, turn the fabric, then lower foot and keep sewing. Using a small stitch length also helped me sew smooth curves. IMG_1522
5. I repeated step 1 for a small circle fused onto a red scrap of fabric. Note: in this case, I liked the color but not the pattern of my red scrap, so I ironed the fusible web onto the manufacturer’s “right” side of the fabric so the “wrong” side would be face-up. I’m allowed to do that… IMG_1514
6. After I fused the circle onto the flower (see my iron outline?), I drew another line to be my stitching guide again. IMG_1524
7. I sewed around the teensy circle twice, but my lines were so messy and looked more liked square-cles than circles, so I sewed around a few more times. IMG_1526
And that’s it. Here’s what it looked like after I roughed it up a bit; it’ll fray even more after being washed and dried a few times.       IMG_1530
On to the rest of the mending pile… Too bad darning tights isn’t this much fun!

Edited 3/30: Wow, what a fun surprise this morning, to find a WhipUp.net post linking to here... 


  1. This is brilliant!

    Emma just turned 3, to answer your question. And I have a "single sock" box too - because they don't all make it into the wash, particularly since my son has a thing for carrying around single socks. So far we're doing pretty well at finding matches for them, but it's only a matter of time before I wind up with some long-term lonely souls...

  2. Very thrifty and creatifty of you, girl! So, I have a question. I'm attempting to teach Mackenzie to sew, and boy have I botched reading a pattern correctly, which has resulted in quite a bit of seam-ripping. In the process I slit the fabric and can't really hide it in the seam. Do I use fusible web on the inside to try to patch the hole? Any other ideas? I don't really think she's up for an appliqué.

  3. Yes, my mom did this for our clothes! It's perfect.

  4. MaryAnne -- yup, same time frame then. I kept just a few of the "letters" from then; they were too cute to throw out yet. IOIRIOEIO : )

    Kristi -- sorry to hear about your troubles. Without seeing the project, it's hard to say. You certainly could patch it from the back with fusible web and a fabric scrap. But depending on the type of fabric and the "strength"/thickness of the fusible web, the patched area might end up being stiffer than the surrounding fabric. Do you think that would happen? If not, go for it.

    Some other options are to sew up the slit with some hand-stitching or machine-zigzagging, or maybe even sew on more fabric so you can cut off the offending area all together. (I had to do something similar once on a dress I made. Instead of having long panels from chest to toes, it had a seam above the waist because I had to fix a big mistake...)

    Jenny -- wow. coupled with her love for garage sales, I bet she came up with some adorable stuff for very ltitle cash!

  5. Very cute!! Your girls are so lucky, Karin.

  6. Hi there! Sorry to join in the fun so late - three sick children and husband! Just when winter is ending! Bah and UGH! But I had to come and say I was lucky enough to actually see this applique and rainbow dress "in person" and I testify that it is really, really cute! What a pretty and practical idea, K - one I shall shamelessly copy when we next get a rip in a treasured garment (except Dave's jeans, maybe).

  7. it looks great!! i love appliquing for my girls. and even more fun to be able to fix something while making it cuter!! :)

  8. Thanks, Dee. : )

    Ugh, LiEr, so sorry to hear about your sick ones! Hope they're all back on their feet soon. And hey, it's not just for rips -- works well to cover stubborn stains too! : )

    Kerri, with all your fab fabric, I bet your appliques are super cute!!!



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