Darning and making clothes, especially socks, was something women were taught to do during the war years. ‘Make do and mend,’ was one of the famous sayings used to propagate thrift and the saving of clothing. Today, mending and learning how to darn a sock is great for our environmental impact as it means fewer items going into landfills and best of all will save us some money.
How to Darn a Sock
Learning to darn a sock is a useful skill even today. The worn-out heel or the toe that pushes through the hole in the sock can make one want to throw the socks in the bin. But there is no need when you can darn! Darning replaces the fabric that has been worn out or closes a smaller hole in an area like the toe.
There are two ways to mend a sock and take care of toe or heel wear and tear.
How to Darn a Sock - Supplies
- Matching thread or wool for the sock.
- Darning needle or a needle with a large eye.
- Darning egg or mushroom (a rounded wooden device) or a tennis ball or hard ball are suggestions for the round piece to support the area to be darned. I have a small hand weight on my desk today reminding me to exercise and I realized that would make a good darning tool. Look around the house and you are sure to find something.
- Larger holes may need some net or interfacing to support the darning stitches.
What Thread should You Use for Darning a Sock?
If you don't have a matching wool, use embroidery floss. This thread comes with six intertwined strands so you can separate them to make your thread as thin or thick as you need. Embroidery floss is readily available at fabric stores, is cheap and comes in a myriad of colors to match your sock. Normal sewing thread is usually too thin to darn a sock.
How to Darn a sock Toe
The worn out toe, especially the big toe space, is easy to fix.
- PREPARATION - Organize your tennis ball or round object to fit into the toe end of the sock and get together your colored thread or wool that matches the sock. This repair will be inside the shoe so a bit of deviation from the real color will not make that much difference. Thread the needle, turn the sock inside out and fit it over the ball or darning mushroom.
- KNOT - Tie a knot at the end of the thread and insert it into the sock and pull it through to the right side of the opening of the hole.
- FIRST STITCH - Pick up one stitch on the left side of the hole and then cross over the hole and pick up another stitch on the right side of the sock.
- CONTINUE - Keep the threads lose and continue to pick up the stitches going from left to right until you have covered the whole area. There should be a criss-cross pattern of stitches going from left to right. Make the stitches closer together at the broad part of the
- CLOSE THE HOLE - When you have reached the end of the hole pull the stitches together and the hole should close nicely.
- ENDING - Insert the needle back into the sock at the end of the stitching. Pick up a thread or two and pull the thread almost all the way through leaving a small loop. Push the needle and thread through the loop and pull tight. Cut the thread and look at your handiwork. It should be almost invisible!
How to Darn a Sock Heel (or Larger Hole)
Once again have your needle and matching thread, darning egg or mushroom, and a small piece of net to give added strength to the darned hole at the back in the heel of the sock.
- TIDY - Tidy up the threads around the hole prior to stitching.
- STABILIZE - Pin or tack net in place if you need the extra reinforcement.
- THREAD - Use the matching thread to start stitching on the wrong side.
- DARN ACROSS - Start the little darning stitches, like running stitches, a short distance away from the edge of the worn edge. Run the needle and stitches up and down along the edge. As you get to the area with a hole, stitch right across while being careful not to pull too tight.
- DARN DOWN - Stitch under and over to make a grid of running stitches. When you come to the center part over the hole, weave the needle up and down. This creates a fabric like area in the middle. Once again, keep the area loose so it does not pucker.
- Here is a very neat darning stitch. See how the stitches form a woven section.
Why Do my Socks Keep Getting Holes?
Chances are you are not doing anything wrong. How long a sock lasts depends on the thickness and sturdiness of the material they are made from, your frequency of use and to a certain point, how you walk and the structure of your foot. If your big toe sticks out a lot more than the others then it is more likely to make a hole. Keep your nails short and if you do get a hole, don't despair as you now know how to darn a sock.
How to Darn a Sock - In Conclusion
There you have it, two good ways to darn a sock. A darn good idea they said back in the day when any kind of worn-torn or faded clothing had to be saved. Make do and mend - keep it for its purpose as long as possible.