In this article, you will learn how to do darning stitch and how to darn a hole for repairing holes and rips. In our disposable world, darning is not as common as it once was, but it is something to consider to lengthen the life of quality clothing and save money. A darning stitch can also be used as a decorative stitch in embroidery sewing.
Darning Stitch Tutorial
Darning is a simple way to repair a hole or tear in clothing just using straightforward running stitches. Armed with a needle and thread and the hole to darn, you are well equipped for the job.
The other use of darning stitch is an attractive filling stitch for embroidery designs. These small up and down running stitches can be sewn in close rows as a quick and easy method for filling larger areas.
However the most common darning method is by hand. Three other ways of darning are possible choices depending on the time you have available and the nature of the repair.
The 4 types of darning stitches are:
- Hand-stitched darning stitch
- Machine darning,
- Straight tear darning stitch
- Diagonal darning stitch
1. How to Darn a Hole with Hand Darning Stitch
Step 1 - Supplies
Prepare the materials you need.
- THREAD - A matching thread is best, as it will become invisible when you have finished. Thicker threads are usually used, and embroidery floss does a great job and comes in endless colors.
- NEEDLE - A needle to suit the thread and fabric weight. For thicker threads, try an embroidery needle that has a larger eye and is easier to thread.
- STABILIZER - Larger holes may need some net or stabilizer at the bach.
- SUPPORT - A ‘mushroom’ rounded support will fit under the hole and is commonly used for darning socks. While the photo below looks a little like a piece of fruit, it is actually a wooden device used for darning. For clothing, an embroidery hoop may be used and will hold the fabric taught will you sew the darning stitch.
Step 2 - Reinforce
Stitch around the area to be darned with a running stitch approximately ½ inch (12mm) away from the edge of the tear.
A running stitch is a simple up and down stitch. Make the stitches as small as you can to give stability to the area.
Step 3 - Threads Direction
The actual darning of the hole is about recreating the fabric threads, the warp, and the weft of the fabric. The weft runs vertically, and the warp runs horizontally on the straight grain of the fabric. The warp and the weft interlock to create the fabric.
Choose the thread to match your fabric and work on the wrong side of the fabric.
Step 4 - Hole Stitch
Start with some running stitches up to the edge of the hole and then cross the hole with the needle and thread.
Use a double backstitch to start and not a knot.
Continue with some more running stitches to reach the outlining running stitches. Do not pull the thread tight, or the tear will pucker and lose its shape.
Continue with the straight stitches until the whole area is darned. This is the first stage of the darning and secures the hole.
Step 5 - Weaving
Start at the edge next to the initial running stitches to create the horizontal threads. Use running stitches until you reach the vertical threads. Once again, do not start with a knot.
Now weave the needle and thread through the hole threads. As you go in and out, a fabric will be recreated. Keep your tension loose and as close as possible to the original fabric.
Darning can be time-consuming but extremely successful if done carefully. Look how beautifully the darning stitches on this sock interlock. Learn more about how to darn a sock.
2. How to Darn a Hole with Machine Darning Stitch
Choose the correct thread and sewing machine needle to suit the fabric you will be repairing. If you are stitching denim, use a denim needle.
Add in a stabilizing net or interfacing to attach at the back of the darned hole. This helps to keep the fabric from pulling and ads control while stitching.
Use the same direction as the hand-darning stitches. Cover the vertical space and then the horizontal space. Cut away the stabilizer at the back when all the darning is complete.
3. Straight Tear Darning Stitch
Some of your repair work may just require a straight tear to be fixed with a darning stitch. Get the edges of the tear together and put a stabilizer net at the back to keep the area together and ensure the tear does not gape.
Stitch the tear with machine zig-zag or straight stitches as in hand sewing. This is a simple repair and most suited to a machine stitch.
4. Diagonal Darning Stitch
The diagonal repair is especially suited to stretch fabrics because the diagonal stitch has more elasticity and give.
Prepare the hole in the same way as before. Stitch the straight vertical stitches first. Take the diagonal stitches on a diagonal line across the horizontal line. Follow the first line you make in a diagonal direction.
Finish the tear and fill in any parts you did not complete the first time. Try to get the right color thread so the repair is as invisible as possible.
Darning Stitch - In Conclusion
Next time one of your vintage favorites needs repairing consider darning stitch for the hole. The old proverb of ‘A stitch in time saves nine,’ rings true with darning stitch. Get the hole repaired sooner rather than later and the repair will need but a few stitches to save the garment and give it a place in your wardrobe for another season.