Get Mending - How to Darn

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Get Mending - How to Darn

How to darn clothing - a DIY tutorial.
Mending Time

One of my son's favourite shorts got torn when he was out in the playground playing parkour. When your kid reaches a certain age they become very brave and try out the impossible on the climbing frames. Well, this time he ended up with tears up and down the inner leg of his shorts and came back saying, "It happens, mom!"  At least he asked whether it could be fixed instead of throwing them away. I quickly got out my embroidery thread, hoop and needle and darned away.

How to Darn

There have been a few comments on my video asking me where I learnt this technique and why it doesn't look like the darning they have seen. So here are my pointers:

a) I learnt it from my grandma. She didn't darn socks but she did patch up her cloth bags and clothes with this method. She established warp threads across the tear and then wove a tight weave across the warp (under and over alternate threads) until she covered the entire opening.
b) I used multi-coloured embroidery thread which is why you can see bits of yellow, red and blue in the thread. I think it adds character to the mend and gives it a Japanese boro look to the shorts. 
c) The embroidery hoop stabilises the fabric while you do the darning. If you are darning socks then you don't need the hoop but the darning egg.

Sharing Mending Techniques

After sharing this technique (see here), I was overwhelmed by the response and the many people who came forward to share their repairs and the memories it brought back for them.   I was excited to see how so many people had come in touch with mending in some form or another whether it be through their grandparents, parents or even as a reminder for them to get mending.  Two comments stood out. One came from reader, Robert (yes, a guy), and he said,

"Watching my Grandmother darn was fascinating to watch. The process is involved, but like stated it is beautiful. Like my grandmother, using different colors. I miss those days now, so this is great video. So yes darn it! Darn often and regularly. My Grandmother when helping my dad, as he was a single parent. Darn new pants in the knees, I was notorious for how quick I could wear out a set of Levi's after darning, my pants lasted until I grew out of them. There are many different stitching techniques for darning. Like quilting the benefits of tailoring, crocheting, knitting, darning are priceless."

Another came from Carole who said that invisible darning services (ie where the darning is such that the mend looks just like new) is available at the dry cleaners in the USA. So if you can't find the time to do it, there's always the dry cleaners.

Light Bulbs and Curtain Pole Ends

The make do and mend spirit is definitely alive!
A few readers wrote about their darning eggs and mushrooms (vintage too!) while others mentioned using light bulbs and even the wooden finial of a curtain pole to help them in mending; basically anything with a smooth round surface will do the trick.  This is Gail's darning egg passed onto her by her mother-in-law.

A Mended Bedsheet

Michelle shared her darning work on her bedsheet, which I thought was lovely because I would not have thought about mending such an item.  I usually end up chopping it up and upcycling it into something else. She said,

"The sheet is cotton flannel and the thread is just cotton sewing tread. I used and embroidery hoop and straight pins to hold the cloth in place, hand stitched a border around the tear, made long "warp" thread stitches, then wove the whole thing into a tidy little solution. Nothing fancy."

How to darn

Mended Pair of Shorts

Cleavan was very happy to have picked up darning and she told me she has been mending her partner's shorts eversince.  She has even been doing a little invisible mending; just look at how invisible it is!  Cleavan says she forgot to take a picture when she started so the red lines are how far the tear went. She darned the edges first because they were a lighter part of the plaid pattern using grey thread, before switching to black thread for the black middle section. I think it is a lovely job, don't you?

Invisible mending

Mended Lace

Katharine, the lovely seamstress from Needle &ThreadSmith, shared her wedding dress surgery where she used handsewing to repair a snag in the lace. You can read more about it here.    You can read about I how mended some lace gifted to me by an old lady here.

Mending lace

Hydrangea Patch

Rebecca shared her nifty free motion embroidery work and made herself a beautiful hydrangea repair patch. Now that's inspiration!

Repair patch using free motion embroidery

What have you been repairing?

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