How to Sew Elbow Patches on a Knit Sweater

Sewing machine

Jupiterimages/ Images

Have you worn a hole in the elbow of your favorite sweater? Don’t panic. There is a way to cover the unsightly tear while also adding a stylish element to your sweater. Patches can be used to fix a ripped garment, but they are also often used as a decorative element. Even someone with the most basic skills can tackle this project.

Find a fabric that will complement the sweater, such as a lightweight suede, corduroy or a thicker knit. Match the color of the sweater for a subtle look. Choose a different color if you want your elbow patches to pop. Look through your fabric scraps or sort through remnants at your favorite fabric; you will only need a small amount of fabric for this project.

Prepare the fabric and garment. Prewash the fabric for your patch so that it doesn’t shrink once it goes through the wash while attached to the sweater. This could cause the elbows of the sweater to bunch and pucker. Wash and dry the sweater if it has never been washed or worn.

Draw a pattern on a piece of paper; the patches should be large enough to cover the whole elbow area. Draw an oval shape that is 3 or 4 inches wide and a few inches longer. This will vary depending on the size of the person and the sweater. A men's sweater will generally require larger patches.

Iron the fusible adhesive to the wrong side of your patch fabric. Trace the pattern onto the paper side of the adhesive and cut it out with scissors. Make two pieces.

Remove the paper backing and position the patches on the back of the sweater's sleeves, where your elbows go. Try the sweater on and pin the patches in place to get the right placement. Set the adhesive with a hot iron.

Sew around the edges with a sewing machine or by hand. Use a tight criss-cross stitch on the sewing machine to keep the edges from fraying. Use embroidery thread and create a blanket stitch around the edges if you are doing it by hand.