Strictly Come Darning: How to do darning

Darning is basically small-scale weaving.  It isn’t difficult but like anything else, it takes practice but is incredible satisfying.  You will need to buy a darning mushroom, although I have darned using the smaller cup from a thermos flask  I would also recommend using proper darning wool if you can, although you can do a perfectly acceptable darn with double knit, it will just be a bit bulky if you’re doing a sock.

If you want to make the darn really strong, I usually just overstitch round the edges of the hole to secure ragged edges and pick up any loops of wool that could ladder.  You can just do a running stich, as in the picture, but blanket stitch is stronger.  Hold the fabric firmly and evenly over the darning mushroom.

1. Take the darning thread backwards and forwards across the hole, keeping them in close lines.

2.  Then, at right angles to the first lines of threads, weave the wool in and out of the rows.

3.  Make sure you tie the wool off securely when you’ve finished or your hard work will be in vain.

If you’re darning a particularly large hole, for example in a jumper, I would recommend putting a piece of net across the hole and darning though that to add strength.


Filed under Household Hints, Sewing

9 responses to “Strictly Come Darning: How to do darning

  1. this is a HUGE help. I used to do this circular thing with holes in wool.


  2. Oh dear. A ‘darning mushroom’. Now I just have to have one of those to put on a shelf. Not to use, you understand, but just so that on being quizzed about it I can say “Oh that. That’s my ‘darning mushroom”.

  3. My mother will still repair/darn stuff for me on occasion when she visits me in the US, but really it’s a dying art isn’t it?

    • wartimehousewife

      On a serious note(!) one of the reasons we must re-learn how to mend stuff, is to make our things last longer, thereby costing us less, reducing waste and ultimately reducing consumption. Except wine of course, but even then, in France you can re-fill bottles from local vineyards, thereby (whether deliberate or not) reducing the energy used in recycling. What was the Eco-Mantra? Think Globally, Act Locally. Or to translate – darn your socks.

  4. Affer

    I adored the film on the subject that combined sensible housewifery with elementary veterinary practice: “That Darned Cat”.

    It starred my all time favourite actress, Saint Hayley Mills (we nearly shared a birthday if only her Mother could have hung on for a day). Although she is now sewing up larger cats as Caroline in ‘Wild at Heart’, she has never appeared naked on-screen. Unlike Jenny Agutter. Who is my other all-time favourite, but can’t darn quite as well. Allegedly.

  5. E J Moore

    Wow! very impressive if your darn looks as good as the drawing. The tip about using a thermos cup is very useful. I’ve recently had to stitch up a moth-hole in my twinset twice; if it goes again, darning will certainly be required. It’s in a conspicuous place though, so will have to be very neat.

  6. wartimehousewife

    I have just had another comment in from a Signor Fandango of Barnet who is an exceptional needleworker who knits, crochets and patchworks things of great beauty. When he felt compelled to darn something, he would use anything spherical including apples and oranges. When he finished darning, he would eat the fruit, therefore skillfuly avoiding the dreaded scurvy into the bargain. When he wanted to darn again, he would simply get a fresh piece of fruit. Any orange oil or apple juices would wash away in the laundry.

    Signor Fandango: I hope you continue to read my blog and would welcome your comments at any time.

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