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How to Mend Silk Lingerie in 2 Steps (Without Using a Needle and Thread!)

Mending a torn silk slip, before photo

The other day I pulled one of my favorite silk slips out of my closet, only to discover a huge tear! I always washed it in the delicate cycle of my washing machine as the care label suggested; however, the fibers had become weak and thin, and eventually pulled away from each other, creating an almost threadbare spot on the hip. (This is a good reminder to take proper care of your lingerie!) On an area like this, you can't really use a needle and thread, unless you want the fabric to pucker and hang poorly when you put it on. What's a girl to do? You can't exactly re-weave broken silk fibers, so you could throw it out (no thank you!), cut it into a tank top (why?)... or you could apply one of the easiest fixes ever.

Supplies needed to mend a silk slip without a needle and thread

All you need is a small amount of lightweight fusible interfacing, which you can find at any fabric store, and an iron, of course. Pick the lightest weight interfacing you can find; this will keep it closest to its original weight.



mending silk without a needle and thread

Step 1: Cut your fusible interfacing into a rounded patch a little bit larger than the tear. Rounding the corners will help keep the patch from peeling off. Place the patch adhesive-side-up on your ironing board, and lay your slip on top with the tear centered on the patch. If your interfacing is woven, make sure the grain lines match; the weave of the silk and the weave of the interfacing should be parallel. (If your fabric is a twill like mine, the weave will be diagonal, but you should keep your interfacing positioned vertically.)

mending-silk-slip-dress--step2

Step 2: Set your iron to medium heat, or use your silk setting. Apply some steam to the tear and use it to help lay the torn fibers flat with your fingers. Try to get them in as natural a position as possible, with most or all of the interfacing covered in fabric. Once it's situated, carefully lay a pressing cloth over the tear and steam press the spot for 30 seconds, or for the length of time noted on your interfacing. Let cool before moving the pressing cloth.

mending a silk slip--before and after

That's it! No needle and thread, no glue, no cutting into or throwing away your favorite slip. Have you ever tried this method to repair torn silk? Do you have any other favorite tips for repairing lingerie?

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Quinne
Quinne Myers

Quinne Myers is a lingerie expert living in Brooklyn, NY, where she creates quippy written content, crafts dreamy illustrations, and runs the ethically-made loungewear line, she and reverie.

12 Comments on this post

  1. Mercedes says:

    because you place the sticky side of the interface on the wrong side under the hole or worn part, does that side of interfacing rough your skin? Must do it you iron it sticky side up. Is it scratchy? Thanks

    • Quinne Quinne says:

      Yes, the non-sticky side of the interfacing is against your skin. I like using a thin interfacing that isn’t rough, but it definitely won’t be as smooth as the original silk.

  2. Florence says:

    Great article! Do you think this would work for a thin mesh or would it be too visible in a sheer fabric? I tore a small hole in my Fortnight Luna longline and I’m really sad. I still wear it but it bothers me.

    • Quinne Quinne says:

      It would definitely be visible behind a sheer mesh. I really don’t know the best way to fix something like that… maybe using a thin needle and thread is all you can do?

  3. Avigayil says:

    any tips for mending lace? I have a couple lace bodysuits where a hole or two have developed – some near a seam, some not.

    • Quinne says:

      Lace isn’t my specialty in general, so maybe this isn’t the right answer, but I would personally take a very fine needle with a matching thread and carefully whipstitch the torn edges back together.

  4. JustMe says:

    I hate to ask the obvious, but why would you put silk, esp something you love, in a washing machine, either commercial or home machine? Your article stopped right me right there, as I never pay attention to washing labels that don’t make sense for very delicate fabrics.
    Hand washing may take people time, but it saves the life of any fabric.
    I never have enough quarters to waste on washing machine cycles to begin with… much less putting non essentials in the wash.
    Brand labels are probably made in China and not in the slightest related to the actual garment they are later attached to.
    Thank you, though, for the option above. I would have just worn a beloved piece with or without a hole.
    I doubt much thought goes into care labels. If it did, white garments would not have huge nasty black tags (and vice versa, black garments w/ white tags), where you have to risk cutting into the fabric to get the brand/fabric/care tag off so it doesn’t show through.

    • Quinne says:

      The fabric was a heavy washed silk twill, and I wore it so often I was too lazy to hand-wash it every week! I knew the whole time I should’ve been hand-washing it, but sometimes you just disregard your gut and trust the label. ;)

      Regarding your statement: “Brand labels are probably made in China and not in the slightest related to the actual garment they are later attached to.” This is completely false; there are a LOT of legal standards for care labels. The color problem you mention is just related cost/laziness, but the content on the label is VERY important for trade regulations and legalities.

  5. wendybien says:

    Genius! How does this kind of repair affect later care of the garment? Would it need to be handwashed?

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