How to darn a hole

Sewing has always been common in our household. When I was learning to sew, my mum would tell me that when she was little, her mum (my lovely granny) would make her unpick any stitching which wasn’t straight. Granny never did this to me when I was doing sewing projects with her, but it was probably the fear that I might have to unpick my work that made me sew in a straight line!

The main things I darn are socks, tights and jumpers. My socks and tights get holes mostly in the toes, and the jumpers start to unravel around the cuffs.

A Zero Waste Life. Threading a needle

I’d been quite lazy with fixing holes as a student… I totally pretended holes were just part of my style. But now I’m a real life adult, who feels wants to make everything I own last as long as possible, I’m trying to take better care of my clothes, which means fixing all those holes! I was talking at an event recently, and a woman shared a story of when she was a student, and they’d sew up their holes in tights with their hairs, to make the darning practically invisible! Threading the needle for that must have been tricky!

These two images are from a World War II pamphlet to encourage thriftiness and the Make Do and Mend habits. These images are not our own, but I think they need to be included, as if you’re anything like me, these images will make way more sense than the written explanation I’ve given below.

If you’ve got a whopper of a hole, I’d recommend putting a piece of fabric behind the hole, so that the darning has a bit of stability to it. You can do some simple temporary (and messy, if needed!) tacking stitches to hold the fabric in place. These stitches can be removed at the end of the darning.

Even if the images make it look complex, darning is really just running stitch, and weaving.

This is what you’ll need.

  • Scissors

  • Thread that matches the garment

  • Sewing needle

  • Darning egg (or be resourceful, like I had to be and use a condiment jar!)

Sew on the right side of the garment (don’t turn it inside out).


  1. Start a little to the side of the hole, and being small running stitches. These stitches need to go vertically. Check the image for clarification.

  2. As you get to the hole, your stitches over the hole will be long. I imagine these stitches as bridges over the hole.

  3. Keep going until you have covered the hole, and done some more stitches on the other side of the hole for reinforcement

  4. Now, take your thread, and begin to weave through the long bridge stitches you make. It is a simple weave (just under and over every other stitch)

  5. Fasten your thread by doing three small stitches in the fabric. Snip the thread with your scissors

A Zero Waste Life. Darning a hole

A future project for me is visible fixing, which just looks so divine! But I am waiting for the ‘right kind of hole’ which I am fully aware is unbelievably ironic.