Mend Clothing Without a Sewing Machine

Mending isn’t just a great way to save money — it’s more eco-friendly than replacing a perfectly wearable garment that has a small flaw.

We talked not too long ago about some simple mending techniques. There was great feedback in the comments, so I thought it would be fun to revisit the topic with some additional information.

Several people mentioned that they didn’t own a sewing machine, so they couldn’t mend their clothing, and I’m so glad you brought that up! While a machine definitely makes things go more quickly, you can absolutely sew without a machine.

You also mentioned wanting a tutorial on how to repair a busted zipper, and I’ve got you covered there, too.

>>Next: Sew a basic stitch by hand.

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by trekkyandy

Sewing a Back Stitch by Hand

Whether you’re hemming a pair of pants or sewing a patch, the back stitch is your friend. While a straight stitch is a little bit simpler to do, the back stitch will give your project extra strength, which is ideal when we’re talking about clothing.

>>Next: Sew a baseball stitch.

Sewing a Baseball Stitch

The baseball stitch is great for repairs like mending a busted seam. You can use coordinating thread to make your mending efforts blend in, or show off your repair with thread in a contrasting color.

>>Next: Repair a busted zipper.

Repairing a Broken Zipper

A separated zipper might seem like the end of your favorite jacket or pair of jeans, but it’s actually not that hard to mend a zipper. If you pulled out some of the stitching, like she did in the video above, you can either machine stitch or use that back stitch to sew your zipper back into place.

>>Next: Replace a zipper.

Replacing a Zipper

Replacing a zipper is a little bit trickier but totally doable, with or without a sewing machine. If you’re sewing by hand, you’ll want to use that extra secure back stitch. If you’re finding the video above a little tough to follow, Queen of DIY also wrote out this zipper tutorial.

Are there other clothing repairs that you guys would like to learn how to do? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Rose Becke10 months ago

I don't have a sew machining, so I try my best

Sando H.
Past Member 1 years ago

Hurrah, that’s what I was trying to get for, just what a stuff Presented at this blog!! Thanks admin of the site. bubblegum casting reviews

Pat W.
Pat W.3 years ago

old info but good info.thanx

Emma S.
Emma S.4 years ago

I haven't got room for a sewing machine - and don't really understand them anyway, so I'll be keeping hold of this article. Thank you - and to Brenda for that sensible piece of advice!

Sarah Timewell
Sarah Timewell4 years ago

I've always tried to stitch things up but they always look a bit off, so thanks for the real professional stitch-up advice!

Elisabeth T.
Elisabeth T.4 years ago

I enjoy mending by hand..thanks for the info..

Tim Cheung
Tim C.4 years ago


Prochi T.
Prochi T.4 years ago

I do not have a machine and i do mend often but i hate sewing. my mother was an expert.

caterina caligiuri


jane richmond
jane richmond4 years ago

Thanks been doing it this way for years. Never fails.