How to Darn a Sock in 3 Minutes.

Wait!  Don’t throw out your favourite pair of socks just because they have a hole in them.  With a needle, thread and you can fix them in about 3 minutes.  How to darn a sock …

Black sock with white thread sewing it up.

Darning socks is something I started doing when I was a kid.  It was one weird thing in a long list of weird things that interested me. My mother, who had fun making her own hats, bras, porcelain dolls, clothing, stained glass, folk art,  and wool washing soap  – thought my sock darning habit was ridiculous.  Which makes no sense.  Mind you, neither does having to turn down the radio in the car if we’re not sure of where we’re going, yet here we are. Sometimes thing just don’t make sense. Like having a child who dreams of living in the basement of Downton Abbey.

I understand there aren’t many of you that want to know how to darn a sock, (a term I’m using loosely) but if you have a favourite pair and particularly long toenails, it’s something that might interest you.

Most of the sock darning in this household is done on my pajama socks.  The big, ugly, cushy socks I like to wear instead of slippers.  I have an unexplainable attachment to these socks.  They’re like blankies for my feet.

So in an effort to get even closer to my childhood dream of becoming a scullery maid, I darn my socks.

Again, I’m using the term darn loosely. Darning involves weaving thread so it mimics fabric.  What I’m doing here is sewing up a sock the same way you’d sew together a sweater. It’s a technique that is close to invisible and doesn’t leave a big lump in the sock which would be annoying on the bottom of your foot.

How to Darn a Sock.

You’ll need:

Thread in a colour similar to the sock

A tennis ball, light bulb or any other round object

A needle

A Sock with a hole in it

Step 1 – Place your sock over a tennis ball or lightbulb
(you can also just stick your hand inside the sock if you prefer).

Black sock with hole stretched over yellow tennis ball.

 

Step 2 – Thread your needle
(I am using white thread just to make it easier for you to see what I’m doing in the pictures)
White thread, threaded through sewing needle.


Step 3 – Tie a knot in the end of your thread then insert needle on the inside of sock.

(this way your knot will be on the inside of the sock. There are other more complicated ways to start your line where you have no knot at all, but I’m keeping it simple here)

 

Black sock over yellow tennis ball to darn a sock.

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Step 4 – Pull your thread through, leaving the knot on the inside of the sock.

Black sock over yellow tennis ball being darned with white thread.

Black sock over yellow tennis ball being darned with white thread.

 

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Step 5 – With your needle, pick up one single stitch at the edge of the right side of your hole.

Black sock over yellow tennis ball being darned with white thread.


 

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Step 6 – Pull your thread all the way through, without pulling it tight.

Black sock over yellow tennis ball being darned with white thread.

 

Black sock over yellow tennis ball being darned with white thread.

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Step 7 – Insert your needle under a single thread to the left of the hole.

Black sock over yellow tennis ball being darned with white thread.

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Step 8 – Pull your thread through without pulling it tight.  You’re creating a criss cross pattern on TOP of the sock.

Black sock over yellow tennis ball being darned with white thread.


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Continue this pattern moving from left to right.

Black sock over yellow tennis ball being darned with white thread.

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Step 9 – Once you get to the top of the hole, gradually move your stitches closer together.

 

Black sock over yellow tennis ball being darned with white thread in criss cross pattern.

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Step 10 – Gently start to pull the thread.  This will close up the hole.

Black sock over yellow tennis ball being darned with white thread. Thread being pulled to tighten stitching.

 

Black sock over yellow tennis ball being darned with white thread being pulled to tighten stitches.

Black sock over yellow tennis ball being darned with white thread.

Black sock over yellow tennis ball being darned with white thread. Thread is pulled tight to close up hole.

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Step 11 – Insert needle back into the spot it last came out, picking up a thread or two.

Black sock over yellow tennis ball being darned with white thread. Finishing mend by making a knot.

 

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Step 12 – Pull the thread almost all the way through, leaving a small loop at the end.

Black sock over yellow tennis ball being darned with white thread. Finishing mend by making a knot.

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Step 13 – Bring your needle back around and stick it  into the loop.

Black sock over yellow tennis ball being darned with white thread. Finishing mend by making a knot.

 

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Step 14 – Pull the thread tight to create a knot.

Black sock over yellow tennis ball being darned with white thread. Finishing mend by making a knot.

Black sock over yellow tennis ball being darned with white thread. Finishing mend by making a knot.

 

 

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Step 15 – Insert your needle at the top of the repair and let it come out about halfway down.

Black sock over yellow tennis ball being darned with white thread. Finishing mend by making a knot.

 

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Step 16 – Pull the thread all the way through.

Black sock over yellow tennis ball being darned with white thread. Finishing mend by making a knot.

Black sock darned to close up hole from wear.

 

 

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Step 17 – Snip the tail end of the thread off close to the sock with scissors.

Snipping threads on black sock, darned with white thread.

 

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Done!

(remember you can see the seam on this sock because I used white thread to make it easier for you to see … use the appropriate coloured thread and it’ll be invisible)

Black sock darned to close hole.

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Now here’s the funny part.  These socks are so worn out … I’ve decided to finally chuck ’em.  By the time you read this post, they’ll be gone.

Speaking of which, I just remembered it’s garbage night. A scullery maid’s work is never done. Darn it.

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162 Comments

  1. Kevin says:

    THANK YOU! I realize this post is almost 4 years old, but it was so incredibly helpful.
    I have a few pair of socks that have a small hole in them and I tried just figuring it out, but it looked pretty gnarly in the end Thank you for the taking the time to put these instructions together with pictures. Much appreciated!

  2. Wondersocks says:

    Thank you for teaching a single guy how to sew his favorite pair of socks!

  3. Luke Skinwalker says:

    Kids today would never do that. They would wait for someone to make an app that did it for them.

    • Alondra Trejo says:

      Dude, I’m 17 and have loved fixing up my clothes for as long as I can remember, lots of kids would love to fix up their favorite pairs of socks. People my age and younger still know that phones can’t do everything, and sewing is one of those things. What phones can do is give you the information to learn how to sew. I would have never learned how without it.

    • Ella says:

      What an ignorant and irrelevant comment.

  4. Nicky Lloyd says:

    Hi,

    I just found this and it’s so helpful BUT I have some wool socks that the top/s has come loose. I think they were hand finished but the wool is coming apart around the tops of both pairs ☹

    Can you (Or anyone) advise the best way to repair them please

  5. Jennifer Best says:

    Here lies seven pairs of the best socks in the world. For a year now they’ve felt useless & unappreciated, but I could never throw them away. They’re like old friends. 😊 After reading your fabulous article, I furiously looked for the tennis ball that has felt the same as the socks & am anticipating greatness! All because of you!! God Bless You!!!

  6. Jb says:

    Cool! I just saved one of my favorite socks! It makes me wonder why anyone would teach people to do the other method. This is very simple, quick, and effective. I put it on, and it was pretty smooth. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

  7. Laurie says:

    Have you ever tried to mend a sock or a hole in a sweater using matching felting wool and a felting needle? It is fast and works really well.

  8. Ted Dorsey says:

    Update: this technique still works in 2020! Thanks so much for the clear instructions!

  9. Regina says:

    Thank you, awesome directions – can’t wait to try it out on the black tights I wear everyday to work. You’re a doll to post this.

  10. Greace says:

    Thank you, you helped me repair my favourite fuzzy socks :D.

  11. Ray says:

    That was easy peasy! thank you for the darn ing lesson~

  12. Julia Stone says:

    My socks, given to me from a friend who purchased them in Ireland, have holes in the heels….both of them. I’m going to try this technique…..even if it doesn’t work because I love them so much, I’m not ready to give up on them..Here’s a fb video about my well-loved socks. I can’t give up on them before I try this technique. Thanks for the video, Karen <3

    https://www.facebook.com/julia.f.stone/videos/10211720707599533/

    • Karen says:

      Uh Oh! That looks like a big hole. :( It might need to be woven together, which can be done. You’re basically weaving new fabric. Sometimes if the hole is too big and you pull it together like I’ve shown in this post, you can feel the repair on your foot. I hope, hope, hope it works out for you and your Irish socks! ~ karen

      • Julia Stone says:

        I know what you mean, Karen, about having to weave it in somehow… Maybe that’s what I need to Google is how to weave socks.

        I hope, for my sake too, that I can find a way to fix my wonderful socks from Ireland… Or either find a place to buy a pair and hope they fit me when they get here🤗

        Thank you very much for returning my message. I love your site

  13. Ms. Judit Pavlovszky says:

    Sorry but that is not darning, that is sewing the hole shut. Darning involves laying the threads over a hole and then weaving in to fill the space.

  14. Mac says:

    It works. After the 3rd sock it didn’t look too shabby. Not bad for an old guy with less than optimum eyesight and fingers that refuse to cooperate. 👍

  15. Elaine says:

    Your darning post brought to mind another old fashioned project, Karen. I wonder if any of your (mature) readers ever turned a man’s collar? As a newly wed in 1959, my Mum showed me how to salvage my husband’s shirts that looked shabby around the neck. A man’s whiskers on his neck tend to abrade the shirt material making the collar look awful while the rest of the shirt is fine. By taking a seam ripper (or tiny cuticle scissors), simply snip the stitches holding the collar in place, turn the collar around then machine sew it back in place. The worn rough part is now hidden under the collar and the shirt looks like new!

  16. Catherine Naulin says:

    BTW, my grandma had a “darning egg” made out of wood, and YES, it looked like an egg. I thought the tennis ball might be chancy, as it can be sowed to the sock…
    Catherine

  17. Catherine Naulin says:

    Hi Karen,
    I love saving old stuff. I have repaired, patched and darned countless articles of clothing for my family and for myself. Always makes me feel holy :) and I get a whole lock of positive reinforcement from the family, which is better than what poor Shannon and “material girl” boyfriend had to endure. Not very nice!
    I just turned the collar on one of my husband’s favorite shirts. He was incredulous of how good it looked, and also very grateful.
    My grandmother tough me the weaving thingy, but I like the way you do it. Simpler, faster.
    But darn it! I’ll keep at it the old fashioned weaving way, just so my grandma (wherever she is) keeps being proud of her descendance.
    Thanks for all the things, great and small, that you talk about, teach us etc, and for making us laugh.
    Love it!
    Catherine

  18. Jody says:

    Sorry, I just stepped away for a moment to check the date on the calendar. After my smart ass comment I would definitely darn one of my hand knit sox but don’t think I would bother with cheap and cheerful sox. Thanks for the tutorial. Seriously. Really.

  19. Heather says:

    I’m inspired to save my merino wool socks. I love ’em! Thanks!

  20. Valerie says:

    Locating correct texture and colour wool/thread is the challenge. Wool balls are sold in horrendous amounts such you would never use the entire ball in one or two life times.
    Darning floss is an alternative though not as strong as wool or polyester but often easier to colour match.
    To the above I would also add: leave one inch wool end start and finish with no knots in either place (hard to walk on later) and take an intial wider circle than you initially feel you have to mend. and
    Always darn SMARTWOOL socks as they are too expensive to throw away.

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