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How to darn a sweater, it’s easy!

Learn how to darn a sweater easily, all you need is a needle, yarn and an embroidery hoop!

Darning a sweater is a slow relaxing process, not a chore to be rushed! Imagine the joy of repairing your favorite sweater, with proper love and care sweater’s can last generations. To darn a sweater we will weave the yarn over the hole which creates a patch over the hole.

The elbows of sweaters take a fair bit of wear and tear in the garments life, often leading to a damaged area. Moth holes are another frequent cause of damage to a wool sweater.

There are a variety of ways to repair a hole in a sweater, from woven fabric patches, to needle felting, to darning. Personally, I prefer darning sweaters. The act of darning is simple, with straight running stitches you are weaving threads over the hole in a criss-cross pattern, creating a patch over the former hole.

Frequent readers will know I love extending the life of everyday household items, check out my other how-to-repair posts:-

How to darn a sweater

Darning Materials:

  • Repair Yarn – choose a yarn of similar weight and thickness to that which your sweater is knitted from.
  • Darning or tapestry needle
  • Darning mushroom or embroidery hoop
  • Scissors

Today I have chosen to work with wool yarn in two different colours, for the repair of the large hole on the wool sweater. Ideally you catch the repair at the small hole stage rather than when it has stretched and grown.

It is a good idea to work from the right side of the sweater so you can see how the visible mend looks as you go.

How to darn:

  1. Either place your sweater into the embroidery hoop, trying to line up the knit as straight as you can (you can see mine has stretched due to the size of the hole), or place a darning mushroom under the area to be patched.

darn sweater

2. Thread your tapestry needle with a suitable weight yarn. Starting at least half an inch from the outer edge of the hole weave your darning needle in a straight line in and out of the sweater following the weave of the knit fabric. This is a basic running stitch. Turn the needle around and repeat the process, going in the opposite direction, as close as you can to your first stitch line.

darned sweater

3. Continue to repeat the process so you have a row of vertical lines of stitching extending all around the sweater hole by at least an inch.

4. Repeat the process horizontally so your stitches weave in and out of the original row of stitches, following the grain of the fabric – again ensuring you extend your stitches a minimum of half an inch beyond the edges of the hole.

fix hole in sweater

5. You can finish your ends in a variety of ways. I like to weave in any loose ends of yarn, back and forth – like when you are machine stitching and do a little backstitch. Alternatively, you could choose to tie off the yarn with a knot ensuring the knit is on the wrong side of the sweater.

repairing a sweater hole

My darned area is a little loose for my liking so I have chosen to continue to weave threads in and out and build the woven patch up to a similar weight and feel to the rest of the sweater.

how to repair a sweater

Choosing to darn your sweater is not a quick repair but I love the visible end look of the darned patch. Taking time to take care of your woollen’s extends the garment’s life and reduces your environmental impact.

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