Darn Confused? 4 Ways to Darn a Hole

clothing repair darn diy embroidery mending visible mending

Sweater with multiple darned patches reading 4 ways to darn a hole

 How do you decide which darning/mending technique to use?

Some questions to consider:

-is the patch going to be visible or will it blend in?

-what type of garment are you repairing?

-how much time do you want to spend mending?

When it comes to mending, there is never an exact yes or no answer. It is (almost) always the case that there are several different ways to approach any mending project. Today, I’ll share several darning techniques, the level of difficulty, and how long you can expect each darn to take. This is not an exhaustive list, just the techniques that I use in my mending, and are also commonly practiced styles of darning.

I won’t be covering the how-to today. However you can find tutorials on YouTube, and there are lots of mending teachers out there, including me! You can check out my upcoming workshops by clicking here.

Darning styles wrenbirdarts

1. Needle Weaving Darn

When I think of darning, this is the style that comes to mind. It is a patch that is woven on the surface of the fabric, covering the hole or stain.

 Needle woven darn

When to use: To cover a hole, stain, or weak spots. This is a useful technique for socks, sweaters, and even wovens.

Beginner friendly: yes

If time is a factor: The time it takes to complete this mend depends mostly on the size of the darned patch. Whereas a small patch may take 5-10 minutes, a much larger hole could take an hour to mend.

 Needle weaving style darn

2. Scotch Darn

This type of darn is made by knotting, rather than weaving. The finished patch is a thicker, textured look.

 Scotch darned patch

When to use: This is a good fit for patches at least 2”, in length and width.

Beginner friendly: yes

If time is a factor: This is a very fast type of darn. Larger holes may be covered in a short amount of time.

scotch darned sweater

3. Swiss Darn/Duplicate Stitch

While not for beginners, this type of darn is a way of reworking the missing stitches.

duplicate stitch darning

When to use: When repairing invisibly, or reinforcing thin, weak stitches in an area. It is also fun to use this stitch as visible mending, for a neat pop.

Beginner friendly: no

If time is a factor: This type of darning takes a LONG time and can be frustrating if you are a novice mender.

swiss darned elbow

4. Embroidered Darning Stitches (Japanese, Blanket Stitch, Open Back Stitch)

Embroidery stitches use the fabric to stitch into as a way to reinforce weak or stained textiles.

embroidery style darning

When to use: In thinning areas, build a layer of fabric to reinforce and strengthen.

Beginner friendly: yes

If time is a factor: Embroidery stitches are typically a quick way to mend. The smaller the stitches and larger the area, the more time it will take.

I hope this collection of darning techniques helps you to choose your next darning project with ease. . . or at least more ease. 

embroidery darned patches

Now that you have a bunch of darning options, what will you choose for your next darning project? 

References for Embroidery Stitch Tutorials:

Pumora Embroidery: https://pumora.com/

Sarah's Hand Embroidery Tutorials: https://www.embroidery.rocksea.org/ 

Upcoming Workshops Here: https://wrenbirdarts.com/pages/workshops-events

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