Last week we invited the lovely Sarah from Traid to the Thought HQ to teach us the lost art of darning. Darning is a sewing technique for mending holes or damaged areas in knitwear and aligns closely with our ‘wear me, love me, mend me, pass me on’ mantra. A reminder to look after what we own and make our loved items last. Here at Thought we are proud supporters of slow fashion. So when a piece of clothing is damaged or has a hole in it we don’t believe it should be thrown out. We believe in finding a way to mend it back to its wearable state. Discover below an easy step-by-step tutorial on how to darn your items of clothing!

how to darn

Traid Workshop: How to darn your knitwear

What you’ll need

  • Damaged piece of clothing
  • Darning mushroom
  • Sewing needle
  • Yarn
  • Scissors

how to darn

Darn a hole

1. Firstly, clear the loops of fluff and broken ends of threads from knitted garments or clip away ragged edges from machine knit fabrics. Remember to always use a darning mushroom under large holes.

2. Thread your needle with your yarn – use either a similar colour to your piece of clothing, or a different colour for a contrasting look.

3. Begin a good distance away from the hole in order to reinforce the thin parts around the hole.

4. Start darning, working on the wrong side of the fabric, ensuring that you’re working the yarn over and under the stitches.

5. Space the rows of darning the width of a strand of mending apart.

6. Pick up the backs of the loops unless if the material is very fine.

7. Leave the loops at the ends of each row so that the stitches alternate with the spaces between the stitches in the previous rows.

8. Pick up the edge of the hole in one row then go over the edge of the hole in the next row. If you have cleared the edges of the hole you will find this easy and will make a neater mend on the right side of the garment.

how to darn

Darning over the first rows of darning

1. Darn over the hole only. Start sewing two stitches on top of each other, in an undamaged part of the fabric, close to the hole. Leave hoops at the end of each row.

2. Leave hoops at the ends of each row.

3. Weave a series of stitches perpendicular to your first row of stitches, working the thread over and under your stitches.

4. Ensure that you leave a long end of your yarn when you’re finished so that you can weave it into the repair, instead of securing it with a knot.

5. Secure it by hand sewing around the edge to make sure it survives after being washed.

Enjoy wearing your mended, beloved piece of clothing which is now wearable again thanks to the darning technique!

georgia how to darn

Did you try out this darning technique or know about darning before reading our blog post? Let us know in the comments below!

You might also enjoy learning how to Upcycle Your Old Jumper.