Elizabeth Street

Make Do & Mend: Darning Knits

Wardrobe BuildingLiz TubmanComment

Writing about mending holes in a sweater feels wonderfully counter-intuitive to this busy holiday season of shopping.  Don't get me wrong, I love the Christmas season and gifting for my family and friends, but there was something so satisfying about doing this mending instead of buying something new between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  

Two of my Dad's sweaters had massive holes in the right elbow, so I offered to see if I could fix them up for him.  Both sweaters originally belonged to my grandpa, one was hand knit by my grandma and the other was (I'm pretty sure) bought on a trip to Ireland (and it also looks hand knit).  Two beautiful sweaters that had seen a lot of life, but just needed a bit of TLC to keep them going.  I gave both a long soak with some wool soap before starting any mending.  

I saw this post about darning (the fancy word for fixing holes in knits) from Louisa of Worn Values a few months ago and I definitely used it as a guide for this darning project.  Her instructions are really clear with lots of photos to follow.  Since the holes were pretty large with the original fabric completely missing, I did a weave darn to recreate the missing fabric.  It worked like a charm - and it's almost invisible on the darker sweater.  I bought some suede patches from Joann's to sew over the top, but didn't even feel like I needed to use them.

Above is the before & after of the sweater knit by my grandma, and the one below is the before & after of the Irish sweater:

I will definitely do this again whenever my own sweaters (or socks!) start wearing out.  I also highly recommend bookmarking Worn Values and reading through it for some great thoughts and posts on slow fashion!