Thrift-Store Rescue: Patching a Lining

I love checking out thrift-stores. I like the randomness of secondhand shopping – you never know what you might find! And, because I can sew, I can see the potential in garments that others might pass up, simply because they’re missing a button or other simple fix!

A while back I found this olive military jacket. Cute, right? (Plus, it’s something I might not want to sew, with all those seams and pockets and details.)

olive jacket

For $6, it’s in great shape, and it’s the kind of style that looks even better with age as it becomes well worn in. The only problem? A little tear in the lining. (Which is probably why its previous owner passed it on, but I can fix that!)

torn lining

There are three things I could do: replace the whole lining, patch just the small section, or ignore the tear and hope it doesn’t get worse.

I chose to patch the lining. Why? Because I didn’t want it to tear any more, but I certainly didn’t want to replace the entire lining. (I’ve done that before and it was a lot of work. Here is a post if you are wanting to try replacing a full lining!) I figured patching was a quick and easy way to fix it up before the rip could grow. Plus, the rip was in a flat place (not the armhole) and a hidden place (not the back neck, or the hem of a long coat). Also, the patch wasn’t going to be in an area you could feel while wearing it – like on a skirt. Ripped lining on a skirt is not worth patching in my opinion. It’s better to replace the lining entirely or remove the lining.

I used to own a jacket that had a trendy patched lining, with contrast patches sewn on intentionally. It looked pretty neat, and if designers are adding patches to lining for interest, why not add a legitimate patch to my jacket to extend its life? A patch is better than a hole, anyways.

Here’s what I did:

Search the scrap bin for an appropriate patching material. You don’t need a lot! This is a good way to use up those scraps in the scrap bin.

choose a similar material to patch the lining with

I picked this turquoise cotton because I love the colour, and I like how it looks with olive. (I figured if I couldn’t get a perfect match, an interesting contrast was better than black. And no one will see it anyways!) The lining in the jacket is a cotton or cotton blend, so the patch fabric is a close enough match in weight and thickness. If it were silky lining fabric such as polyester or rayon, I’d look for something similar to patch with.

cut a rectangle larger than the area to patch

Cut a rectangle about 1/2″ (1.3cm-1.5cm) larger than the ripped area. (I was going to try something cute, like a heart-shaped patch, but thought it would be easier to sew around a rectangle.)

press under edges of patch

Press under the edges of the patch. It doesn’t have to be super accurate, as long as the patch is still larger than the area to be patched.

line up patch over hole

Pin the patch over the torn lining. You can pin through all of the layers, just don’t sewn through them all!

pin patch over hole in lining

Now, because the jacket’s lining is sewn in by machine, I’m going to hand-stitch the patch. If the lining was left open, hanging freely in the garment, I could machine-stitch the patch and it would be much quicker to repair! (I don’t mind the hand-stitching though. I’ve been doing a lot of computer work as I write this, so it’s a welcome break to handstitch in between long sessions at the computer.)

I’m hand-stitching the patch using a blanket stitch, so it’s a little bit more decorative than just sewing a straight running stitch. (Because, why not? Might as well make it look intentional, plus it will be more secure.)

hand-stitch patch to lining

Once it’s done, I can wear this jacket and not worry that the hole in the lining will grow. (I’d already worn it out a few times before mending the hole, but now I’ll be able to stop thinking about the hole.)

Is it perfect? Well, no. If I wanted it to be perfect, I’d have searched out matching fabric to patch with. Most importantly, it is done and it didn’t cost a thing to fix. When it comes to mending, I can put it off forever. I don’t enjoy mending or altering so I have to force myself to do it!

It got dark before I finished, so this isn’t the best-looking photo, but it’s done! (My trick to getting it done? Wearing the jacket to the office so I have to finish the mending in order to leave!)


Have you ever patched a lining? Would you do it like this, would you prefer to replace the whole lining or would you wear it as-is, holes and all? What do you think of trendy, intentional patches as part of a garment’s design? If you saw the inside of this jacket would you think it was weird, or cool?

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32 Responses to Thrift-Store Rescue: Patching a Lining

  1. Elle C January 23, 2013 at 6:27 am #

    I like the patch. If it was me, and if I had the time, I might add random coloured patches all over the inside. I think it would look more like a deliberate design concept.

  2. Tasha January 23, 2013 at 6:33 am #

    Very nice! I admit I’ve both patched and let holes be (ducking now).

    You should check out Tom of Holland’s blog, he has lot of knowledge on darning (mostly knits) but many are intentional looking, and just as interesting to look at as yours!

    • Tasia January 23, 2013 at 11:10 am #

      Oh cool! Thanks for the suggestio.! I haven’t had to darn any of my socks yet but I took a quick look and he does very nice work! (Plus, instructions on how to do it, that will come in handy..)
      (I let the hole be and wore it out a few times before mending it, there’s no shame in that at all. We’re busy, and no one can see it!)

  3. clothingengineer January 23, 2013 at 7:01 am #

    I have a leather jacket that has a frayed lining at the hem. I’m wearing it as is, as I am dreading the thought of replacing it when I have so many other interesting sewing projects to do first! I’m thinking of just paying the money and having someone else do it for me.

    • Tasia January 23, 2013 at 11:00 am #

      See how much it would cost! Apparently there’s someone in the area that will re-line a jacket for $30, including the lining. For that price I’d totally hand it off! (I’m not sure if that price is accurate, someone mentioned it in a discussion with a group of friends a while back..)
      I agree, there are usually way more interesting projects on our list than mending!

  4. Trisha January 23, 2013 at 7:58 am #

    I recently patched a hole in the lining of my sister’s jacket. I cut the patch out in the shape of a heart, so she’d have a little secret bit of my love with her when she wears the jacket!

    • Maureen January 23, 2013 at 10:07 am #

      Great idea Trisha!

    • Sassy T January 23, 2013 at 10:17 am #

      Oh that’s a good idea.

    • Tasia January 23, 2013 at 10:55 am #

      That is so sweet!

  5. Lauren January 23, 2013 at 8:17 am #

    I think this would also be really cute if you embroidered or screen printed something on the patch before sewing it on :) And yeah, I like the turquoise fabric you picked! Better to have a fun contrast than a kinda-sorta-doesn’t-exactly-match attempt :)

    • chelsy21 January 23, 2013 at 8:58 am #

      I had the same ideas :) I probably would have used contrast thread, also.

    • Amy January 23, 2013 at 10:45 am #

      Yes, an embroidered flower or tree of life would have been cool.

    • Tasia January 23, 2013 at 10:56 am #

      Now that would have made my patch more interesting! Thanks for the idea :)

  6. indigorchid January 23, 2013 at 9:03 am #

    Haha! Wearing it to work so you have to finish it to leave – that’s a good one! I think I tend to put things off way too long, probably in search for some perfect result I have to spend extra time actually making happen. In the meanwhile, the item doesn’t get used! Lesson to learn is definitely to know when to just get it done (maybe imperfectly), and when to put the extra time and effort in to it.

    • Tasia January 23, 2013 at 10:58 am #

      Oh yeah, I am the worst. Hemming, mending, they just don’t get pushed to the top of the priority list at all.

      I know what you mean, putting things off until you have determined the absolute perfect way to proceed. I’m totally guilty of that, being unable to start because what if I come up with a better idea when I’m halfway through? You’re right, the lesson is know when good enough is good enough.

  7. marthaeliza January 23, 2013 at 9:11 am #

    I’m all about the obvious repair these days. I like to make “provenance patches” — how did the rip happen? If possible, the patch reflects the culprit. These days, there are a lot of kitty-shaped patches.

    • Tasia January 23, 2013 at 10:57 am #

      How cute! Kitty-shaped patches to point out who made the rip, that’s such a unique idea. I’d imagine that would make you smile when you see the patch!

  8. Sassy T January 23, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    You could pop on the patch an “iron on” something or other to add a little cuteness, Great job though.

  9. Leigh January 23, 2013 at 11:13 am #

    Definitely patch. Though I would have gone for a less-contrast, more theme-oriented fabric -maybe some steampunk looking detail. That’s just me though. Great job! I got a jacket like that and want to copy it a couple sizes larger. Much more of a challenge. :)

  10. soisewedthis January 23, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    I think it would be cute to add in a patch pocket over top of the patch to cover it up. Make the whole patch job the size and shape of your patch pocket. So 1 layer of fabric over the patch and 2 layers sewn together to create the front of the pocket. Not that this jacket needs more pockets! But it would be fun to have an extra pocket inside, maybe only the side of a credit card or ID or phone. =)

    • Marianne January 23, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

      Just what I was thinking! Make a pocket, or better two, to make it look intentional.
      Or personalize the patch with a cute lace finish and your initials on it.

  11. Heather January 23, 2013 at 12:56 pm #


    I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could e-mail me?


  12. Cathi January 23, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

    I 2nd the suggested reading of Tom of Holland. He does some amazing stuff and it’s a cool idea he has going.
    I love your choice of turquoise, it’s like a bright little secret on the inside of your jacket. Nice!

  13. Irina January 23, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

    Olive is becoming very trendy this upcoming fall, so for $6 this was an amazing purchase! Great looking jacket! The bright patch reminded me about “little surprises or secrets” that couturiers leave in their clothes (bright binding or lining), something only the wearer will see. Perhaps if the lining tears in another place you can patch it up with the same bright colour and it will be your little secret. And I wanted to complement you on the amazing hand-stitching job! So pretty and even!

  14. Ellie January 23, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

    Cute jacket – great score – lovely little mend job!!

  15. Donna G January 24, 2013 at 2:53 am #

    What a great buy. It’s a gorgeous jacket.

  16. Susan January 24, 2013 at 7:39 am #

    I love the contrast patch! And you’re right about those colors together! I’ve really taken to patching things over the last couple of years, and I almost always choose to use a contrasting fabric, too. Cute jacket!

  17. Trixie Lixie January 24, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    I have a jacket that needs re-lining & now that I have seen your contrasting patch I think I am going to do a contrasting coloured lining, in perhaps purple!

  18. Sewing Sveta January 24, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

    I have a jacket with the same problem. Only my holes bigger and I am thinking to make a big patch or somehow to change a part of lining%) But I don’t know how to do this%))

  19. TriMama January 24, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    Nice patch!
    I have two active children. Patching is a necessity! I usually use Heat n Bond to fuse the patch and then quickly topstitch around it. My girls each have several pairs of pants with flower or heart shaped knee patches. Patches are also good for covering up stains ;-) I’ve even figured out how to repair holey-toed tights on the machine.

  20. Thea January 25, 2013 at 2:10 am #

    Hi Tasia, I have a question that’s unrelated to the jacket, but kind of related to looking after things – how do you generally treat your homemade clothes when it comes to laundry day? I’m quite happy to wash my Renfrews, but have absolutely no idea what to do with my dress – I’m worried that if I wash it, it’ll come out all crinkled and I won’t be able to iron it as nicely (it’s a Londsdale, and the inside bodice is what I’m worried about). Do you just wash them normally, or is it an ‘it depends’? Thanks!

  21. Caffy Bundy January 25, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

    Hahaha, I like the contrasting patch effect… maybe this colour combo is not to my taste, but if it pleases your eye… then that’s all that matters!

    Bundana x