Darning is a stitch technique for repairing and reinforcing damaged fabrics. You have to have an exact yarn colour match (not to mention good darning skills) to make an invisible darn, so why not make a design feature of your repair instead? This simple heart-shaped pattern could be used to cover a snag or moth hole and can be adapted to other simple shapes – squares, circles, flowers for example – and form a decorative pattern to give your clothing a new lease of life!
You will need: a darning needle, embroidery hoop and mending threads. It’s worth practising on a scrap of similar fabric first to master the technique; each heart will take about 10-15 minutes (quicker once you know how!).
Top tip: it’s best to use a fibre that matches the garment (i.e. wool or cotton) and choose a thread as fine as the material of the garment – too thick a thread will weaken the fabric but too fine will make a feeble repair. You can find mending threads in your local haberdashery or yarn shop.
The stages of creating a heart-shaped darn
- Using a pencil (or chalk pencil on dark fabrics) draw your shape on the reverse of the fabric around the hole – I used a cookie cutter as a template.
- Sew your vertical threads first – they should float on the front of your fabric from top to bottom with small stitches following the lines of the template on the back. Try to keep them evenly spaced and parallel to each other – this is easiest if you start from the centre and work your way towards the edge, returning to the centre to complete the opposite half.
- Then weave your horizontal threads across by going over one, then under one all the way across. Stitch into the fabric at the edge.
- Repeat going back across the vertical threads but wherever you’ve gone under a thread, go over this time, and vice versa until you reach the other side.
- Use the needle to push the threads together neatly as you go, until you’ve filled the whole shape with a new layer of woven threads. Secure the end of your thread by stitching into the back of the fabric.
- Step back and admire your repair! Repeat as necessary to cover all your holes and create a new pattern on your clothes.
Photo credits: Angharad McLaren / Jack Stott, Local Editor at John Lewis Aberdeen