Darning and making clothes, especially socks, was something people 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 fewer items go into landfills and will save us some money.
How to Darn a Sock Tutorial
Learning to darn a sock is a useful skill even today. The worn-out heel or the toe that pushes through a hole can make one want to throw your favorite pair of 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
- THREAD - Matching thread or yarn for the sock. Embroidery thread can be used.
- NEEDLE - Darning needle or sewing needles with a large eye.
- BALL - 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.
- OPTIONAL NETTING - 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 yarn, 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.
Can You Use Regular Sewing Thread to Darn Socks
Normal sewing thread is usually too thin to darn larger holes in a sock. Instead, use yarn or a few strands of embroidery thread. For really small holes, a regular sewing thread can be used.
How to Darn a Sock Toe Step by Step
The worn-out toe, especially the big toe space, is easy to fix.
Do you Darn Socks Inside Out
While darning is mostly done with the sock inside out, you may find the repaired sock more comfortable if you repair it on the outside. That way, any stitching is not rubbing your skin and causing irritation. If you choose to darn the sock on the outside, make sure any knots and starting and finishing are on the outside too.
Step 1 - Preparation
Organize a 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 hidden 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.
Step 2 - Stitch the Hole
Tie a knot at the end of the thread, insert it into the sock, and pull it through to the right side of the hole's opening.
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.
Keep the threads loose and pick up the stitches 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 hole.
When you have reached the end of the hole, pull the stitches together, and the hole should close nicely.
Step 3 - Finish Darning the Sock Hole
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.
You can also use a small piece of net or thin stretch fabric as a patch to give added strength to the darned hole.
Step 1 - Tidy the hole
Tidy up the threads around the edge of the hole prior to stitching. Pin or tack net in place if you need the extra reinforcement.
Step 2 - Darn Across (Weft)
Use the matching thread knotted at the end to start stitching.
Start with small 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.
Step 3 - Darn Down (Warp)
Stitch under and over to make a grid of running stitches.
Weave the needle up and down when you come to the center part over the hole. 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 that looks like fabric.
How to Darn a Sock FAQs
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 more than the others, 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.
What thread do you use for darning socks?
Try to use a type of thread similar to that of the sock. Try a lightweight yarn or embroidery floss for strong repairs. The thread color should be matching the sock for an invisible finish.
How to Darn a Sock - In Conclusion
There you have it, two good ways to darn a sock. They said a "darn good idea" 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.
How to Darn a Sock
- Darning Needle
- Darning Egg Alternatives: Tennis ball, small rubber ball
- Yarn or Embroidery Floss
- Tidy the threads around the hole.
- Across - Start with small running stitches, a short distance away from the edge of the hole. Run the stitches up and down across the edge. As you get to the area with a hole, stitch right across, Don't pull too tight.
- Down - Stitch under and over to make a grid of running stitches. Weave the needle up and down when you come to the center part over the hole