"He who conquers others is strong; He who conquers himself is mighty. "
- Lao Tzu
In this world of consumerism, fast fashion and ready-to-wear clothes have become the norm for most people, especially the youth. No one can really blame them though since these clothes are so cheap and easily available – both in stores as well as online. It’s all about quality vs quantity these days.
If you value quality over quantity, you are one of those people who prefer clothes that last a really long time, clothes that might be a little more expensive but are totally worth their price. You would also expect them to stay just as they are, undamaged. But in the end, they are made of fabric and any type of fabric is prone to wear and tear in its lifetime.
Most of this wear and tear of clothing happens accidentally or if they have been rubbed against in the same spot repeatedly, during storage. This is where darning comes to the rescue.
What is Darning?
Darning has been practiced since time immemorial. It is a sewing technique used for repairing the holes and worn out areas of a fabric, with the help of a needle and new thread. So it is essentially the mending of worn-out clothes. Darning clothes is an art in itself, owing to the patience and careful attention it requires. It should ideally be done in a way that no one would be able to guess that there was a hole in the fabric before.
Types of Darning :
- Hand Darning
- Sewing Machine Darning
Hand Darning :
You must be wondering, how to do darning by hand? Hand sewing or hand darning is actually one of the best ways to repair your clothes. If done correctly, it gives a smooth look to the fabric again. All you need is a thread matching the color of the fabric and the thinnest needle for sewing.
How to do darning by hand :
Using the thinnest needle and a strong thread, make straight darning stitches across the hole. Then start weaving the thread under and over the straight stitches. As a result, you will get a woven look that is as natural as the original fabric. Make sure to keep the cloth straight and cover the hole with the thread as much as possible. Stabilize the hole by making running stitches around it.
After this, start from the top corner and make running stitches parallel to each other. The rows of stitching should be equidistant. When you reach the beginning and end of each row, you will see a small loop – it helps in shrinking of the thread later and avoids puckers.
When you have finished stitching in the lengthwise direction, start in the crosswise direction. Alternatively, take up and leave the crosswise threads over the hole to create weaving stitches. Here you can either do straight darning or diagonal darning. The choice is yours when darning clothes.
Sewing Machine Darning :
The benefit of using a sewing machine is that it gives very sturdy darning. But it is better suited for a heavyweight or a medium weight fabric.
How to do darning with a sewing machine :
To darn a hole with a sewing machine, keep a removable stabilizer or a fine net under the hole so that the fabric doesn’t shift. Use the closest colour thread and a darning foot. You can also use the zig-zag foot and the zig-zag stitch. Remember to use a sewing needle which matches the weight of your fabric.
Now you can start by making the darning stitches very close to each other, covering the hole. Remember that these stitches will replace the fibers which are missing on the hole, so make darning stitches in a free motion embroidery style. Do this all over the hole. Once you have repaired the hole, you can cut away the stabilizing fabric from under it.
With this guide on darning, you can do away with the habit of buying new clothes every time your old ones get holes in them. Keep those worn out dresses, shirts and shawls and fix them. Darning is very easy and cost-saving. All you need is careful work, focus and lots of practice!