Mending clothes

After Christmas, skimps like me in the UK often refresh our wardrobes in the January sales. Yet, this year (January 2021), the high streets were quiet. Normally bustling for bargains, Britons have stayed at home. 

Covid, of course, is enough to frighten anyone from joining crowds. But there is also a growing awareness of the harm the fashion industry has visited upon the environment and under paid garment workers. The driving force, of course, has been profit making.  Looking good matters, but not when it costs the earth and makes people poor.

In the break between Christmas and New Year, I mended four cardigans, which had been damaged by clothes moths. My ‘make do’ mother had taught me to darn, which was a chore as a child. But, I discovered, darning turns out to be meditative and satisfying, 

How to darn

To darn, you need:

  • a darning needle 
  • some matching or contrasting wool,  and 
  • a small pair of scissors. 

Step 1

With a threaded needle sew across the knit, above the hole. You can work discretely, pushing your needle horizontally through knitted stitches so your mending wool is not visible on either side.  Work your way back and forth until you reach the other end of the hole. You should form parallel lengths of wool like bars across a window. Continue beyond the hole as in the illustration.  Break the thread. 

Step 2

Now work across. When you meet the ‘bars’ of wool start weaving under and over. Weave your way, as shown in the illustration until the hole is closed up. Then continue sewing across beyond the hole until you can safely break the thread. 

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