Archive for Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Aunt Norie’s sewing room

February 25, 2009

I need to follow up with some instructions now on darning those socks.

You see, darning is really one of the oldest types of mending, the interlacing of threads across a hole or rip in cloth. Socks and the darning of them goes way back, but darning is also done on rips and tears, cigarette burns, etc.

Even if you never actually darn a sock, it will be good to know how. If it’s a cigarette burn, perhaps you can find a seam on the inside where you can use a thread of the actual cloth totally matching to re-weave and mend the spot. When pulling threads from cloth, remember the lengthwise threads are the strongest to use. Now as you mend the hole or tear, always do the lengthwise threads first, then lace or weave crosswise over and under each of those threads. If it’s a worn spot, as in the heel of a sock or an elbow perhaps, the cloth adjoining will be thin and weak so you will need to go back into and over the thin area the same as right across the hole. With a burn hole, you will need to go back just a little — maybe just one or two stitches.

In darning you can use various threads, darning cotton (you will find at fabric shops and centers) made for this very use is softer, blends in easily. I’ve used embroidery floss — two or three strands sometimes together works very well and is strong. It comes in so many colors and shades. Yarn can also be used depending on, of course, the fabric of the garment you’re mending.

Reinforcing: Another form of darning is used to give strength to a weakened area just before a hole appears — never on the heel of a sock but perhaps on an elbow. It saves a lot of time and the would-be hole never shows up, never happens. A piece of fabric (I’ve used a lot of organdy — it’s thin, strong, no added bulk and easy to stitch through) placed under the worn area, then with just regular basting like stitches. Take very small bits of threads onto the needle showing on the upper or right side, which creates an almost invisible mend. This method can be used on most fabrics and if caught in time is so much better and easier than waiting for a hole to appear. Of course, you should trim away the excess patching cloth underneath when finished. Many ladies in the past (and maybe some still are) became so good at mending or re-weaving those cigarette burns that cleaning shops and tailors were glad to pay them well for such repairs. In today’s tough times — who knows — just maybe. Hugs now.

— Aunt Norie, P.O. Box 265, Tonganoxie 66086,


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