When it comes to fixing a hole in sheer fabric, you have two options – to hide it or try to repair it. It is very difficult to create an invisible fix to a hole in sheer fabric, but there are easy ways to repair it structurally.
Repairing Holes in Synthetic Sheer Fabrics
The easiest way to repair sheer fabric is to use fabric glue. The key to a successful repair is to use the smallest amount of fabric glue possible. Dritz Fabric Mender is a great glue to use, although any fabric glue should be fine.
Use a Toothpick
To get the thinnest possible line, use a toothpick to dot the fabric glue on one side of the rip or hole, then push the torn edges back together. By using the smallest amount of glue, the dry time is also greatly decreased.
The first time I did this, I did the gluing over a paper towel and used a little too much glue, which got stuck to the paper towel. So the next time I had to glue sheer fabric, I placed a sheet of plastic wrap on the desktop instead and did my best not to have the glue touch it. My thinking there was that if it did stick, at least it would be clear.
Steal From Inside the Hem
If the hole is due to a piece of fabric missing, take a look inside the garment’s hem to see if you can take a small piece from there to serve as a patch. In this case, snip out the small sheer fabric to make the patch just slightly larger than the hole. Glue it from behind. Use the toothpick to place glue on the back edge of the hole and press it firmly onto the patch.
So, yes, you will be able to see that the fabric was glued if the hole is in a conspicuous place. Luckily for me, most of mine have been in hard-to-see places. One of the biggest problems I have with holes in sheer fabric is actually in the underarm seam area of my kimonos. I’m always tangling something on those and pulling the underarm seam loose. The good thing is that those holes and rips are easy to hide with fabric glue and hardly noticeable unless you look closely.
The first time I tore my kimono, I got out a needle and thread and tried to stitch in a quick seam. My kimono experience has shown that stitching on top of ripped sheer fabric is not a good idea. The needle made the fabric rip even worse. The stitches just don’t hold on top of already unstable fabric. Fabric glue is the way to go.
Clear Nail Polish
If you have ever worn hosiery, you may remember that a trick to keep a run from getting any bigger in them was to dot the edges with a dab of clear nail polish. While you probably are not worrying about the hole in your sheer fabric getting bigger, you can use the clear nail polish just like the fabric glue. If the hole is a simple tear, press the fabric back together and brush a thin layer of nail polish on the back side of the tear. If it is a hole, you can use the same patch method as above. The problem with nail polish is that it will not necessarily be a permanent fix to the problem If the polish cracks or wears thin, the hole can open back up again.
To hide the hole in sheer fabric, you need to find embroidered appliques to glue on top of the hole. Of course, this only works if the applique fits the design and if it does not look strangely isolated. You can buy an assortment of appliques in various themes and sizes, like this one that includes flowers and butterflies, for around $10. Notice that appliques are iron-on. Do not try to iron them onto your sheer fabric. Most sheer fabric is synthetic and cannot withstand the heat of an iron for applique. Instead, use fabric glue to stick the applique on top of the hole.
Repairing Holes in Natural Sheer Fabric
Not all sheer fabric is synthetic. Some cottons and linens are rather thin. Since these are natural fibers, they can withstand heat and it is very easy to patch holes or rips with iron-on fusible webbing or interfacing. Be sure to select the lightest weight fusible product you can find so that it matches the drape of the fabric better.
- Cut a piece of fusible webbing that is about a quarter-inch wider on all sides than the hole or rip you want to repair.
- Turn the item right side up and position the fusible webbing underneath it behind the hole.
- Smooth the fabric so that the ripped edges all lay flat against the fusible webbing.
- Use a pressing cloth or handkerchief (or a cotton pillowcase) between your iron and the garment to prevent any exposed webbing from sticking to your iron.
- Follow the heat directions that come with your fusible webbing for best results.
If you need to patch a hole that fabric is missing from, snip a small piece from an inconspicuous area and fuse it in place using the same fusible webbing method.
Embroider Over The Hole
On sheer natural fabrics, you can also embroider over the hole or rip to give it a new look. This is called visible mending and it relies on simple embroidery stitches to make kitschy patch looks.
This video about visible mending shows the basic stitches you will need to know, along with some tips on how to use the technique.
This video shows four simple ways to use basic embroidery stitches to cover holes in fabrics.
These embroidery techniques can be used on any fabric that can withstand stitching. The synthetic content of my kimono would not have held embroidery stitches, but visible mending is easily adaptable to a wide variety of light weight sheer fabrics like fashion t-shirts or as heavy as wool.