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.


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.



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.



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.


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.


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.


Continue this pattern moving from left to right.

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


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.



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.




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.



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.




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.




(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.


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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  1. Naomi says:

    Thanks for this post. I just bought a pair of leggings and got a hole in the toe the first time I wore them. Rather than chuck them, I googled how to darn socks, and found this fantastic blog! Great concept – I’ll be back often.

    Oh, and I think I remember seeing an article about this in the Spectator. If that was you, we live in the same town. :)

  2. Sue R. says:

    I knew there must be a very specific trick to it. This is just what I was looking for and it worked great! Thanks!

  3. Lauri says:

    Thanks for this info. Do you know how to replace a worn out heel?

    • Karen says:

      Lauri – I think once the entire heel is gone it might be time for a new sock. :( Fixing a heel properly would be a huge amount of work. Basically you’d need to reknit or reweave new fabric into the sock. My best suggestion is to find a pair with a worn out toe but good heel, and wear them both at the same time. ;) ~ karen!

  4. Denise Leavens says:

    Thank you so much, Karen. I couldn’t clip my toenail on my broken toe for a week. Now that it is sock season, I am getting a hole in my favorite socks. I just finished my first darned sock and I am thrilled! I will now be searching the local vintage stores for a wooden darning egg (that I can afford.)

  5. Catherine says:

    Thanks! I just mended my daughter’s tights. . .i have a feeling I will be using this easy and effective technique again soon!

  6. Catherine says:

    Thanks! Just fixed my daughter’s tights! I am sure I will use this easy and very effective technique again soon!

  7. Amy says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial. Nice to see how others darn. & I do use the same darning wooden tool my mother used when she was a girl : )

  8. ian michael says:

    this is great, since my dog loves my socks and try as i can to keep them out of her reach, i’m guaranteed to find holes in my socks more often throughout my life. and i’m cheap, so i’d rather fix them!

  9. Paige P. says:

    Loved reading all your posts. Just before finding this, my husband came in with a pitiful look on his face holding a sock with two hands saying, “I have a hole in my sock!” Whining like a little child. But the Pucker Panties story did make me laugh.

  10. emily says:

    Crap! I have been doing a REALLY bad job of this for so long. I put some woollen cardigans in the dryer to try shrinking them a size. They came out with gaping holes in them, I sewed them, badly.
    I might have to try again, with the instructions this time.

  11. Ryan says:

    I’ve always loved darning socks too! It makes me feel very Little House on the Prairie. My fiance is always getting holes in his socks AND he never buys new clothes! I also enjoy patching his jeans in a very sloppy way so it looks like they’re patched. He doesn’t mind/notice that I’m slowly turning him into one of my rag dolls. We’re a match made in heaven.

    • Sandra D says:

      You cracked me up – I had to read your comment to my husband (slowly turning him into one of my rag dolls). Hilarious!

  12. Leslie says:

    I wish I would have read this before I threw out my favorite pair of grey knee socks.

  13. Teresa says:

    Makes me want to clip my toenails.

  14. Zina says:

    Ah, the darning of the socks. A true darn involves taking tiny little stitches all around the hole to stabilize it, and then running threads as if warping a loom and then weaving a new fabric through it, which is when you *really* need the darning egg or mushroom, so you can tension the new fabric correctly. You can even buy darning yarn specifically made for darning socks.

    Personally, i think it’s easier just to buy or knit new socks…

    • Karen says:

      Hah! O.K. Even I wouldn’t go to that much effort to darn my boyfriend’s socks. I’ve done similar work on other fabrics but … not a sock. Nope. Not gonna do it. Good technique though!

      • Zina says:

        Me neither. I was going to learn to knit socks, but ran out of steam. I even bought all kinds of supplies for knitting socks. Then realized it all sounded awfully…titchy. Fussy. And it was just socks, you know?

        They tell me that there’s nothing that’s quite as comfortable as a sock made just for your foot, though. So someday I might do a pair just to have done a pair.

        Prolly I won’t ever darn them, though.

      • Amy says:

        The thing about the weaving technique is that is prevents the “pinching” mentioned above. Because you’re basically weaving a tiny patch of new material over the old, which replaces the worn-away fabric. The existing fabric doesn’t have to stretch to make up for the lack of area. This also works for socks that have gotten thin but haven’t reached the point of holes.. you know what I mean, it looks like a net. Darning can replace the whole area.

        The technique you describe, as some people have noted, is not technically darning, it’s just… mending. However, I have had good luck– especially with stretch socks — combining the two techniques. You stablize the hole by stitching around it, do the first weave like you show, and draw it snug but not enough to warp the knit of the rest of the fabric. Then you weave across the new threads, and if I am full of zeal I also go over it diagonally.

        That usually covers one half-hour TV show.

    • Mark Maguire says:

      Interesting – Yes I learnt to darn socks as a child. It did indeed involve using a darning mushroom (it had a a handle which was more of a nuisance, so it was used without handle).
      The task involved stabilising the hole if necessary, but then building a warp and weave to fill the hole, AND to reinforce thin areas such as that visible to the lower right of Karen’s repair. It is much better to catch the hole before any threads actually break – so the repair is a ‘reinforcing weave’.
      Tend to agree – socks are so cheap now its not worth darning them, plus modern socks are so much more durable and seem to suddenly wear out all over.
      Cardigan/jumpers/jerseys on the other hand, are expensive. I still darn holes in these – especially the elbows

    • Chris says:

      When talking about a $50 pair of smartwool boxer briefs, learning to darn in this way becomes easy more economic. Thank you for the alternative method!

    • Elaine says:

      Karen’s post sure took me back in time, Zina. I never minded darning socks as I liked seeing how good I could do it; it was sort of a game to me. My Mum had a variety of very fine/thin wool (it wasn’t knitting yarn) that came in a hank (I guess you’d call it) that she bought from Woolworth’s at Queen & Yonge, Toronto. It was specifically for darning. As a young teenager (before I started dating), I’d help her darn socks just for something to do. I’d pick a color similar to the sock’s then just like you said, Zina, do the stitching around the hole then the weaving … the fun part. After a wearing, when the socks were later washed, the wool (used for darning) seemed to “felt” up a bit and blend in better with the sock. A trip down memory lane!

      • Zina says:

        Just last month, I found a beautiful cashmere sweater with a hole in the back of one of the arms at a thrift store. I bought it and repaired it with duplication stitch. A pain, but now I have a beautiful powder pink cashmere sweater that I bought for $15. Yay!

      • Elaine says:

        Good for you, Zina!

  15. nicole says:

    thank you for this, while living in finland for the past four years i seem to be running out of socks. they go quick since no shoes are allowed in the house and when you go visit family friends you dont want to wear a pair of your favorite socks with a hole :P
    kiittos :)

  16. giggle says:

    Oh m gosh, I am still laughing over this especially the first comment from Shannon. as my day proceeds I find myself giggling all over again. I needed this in my life.
    I am so glad I got tuned into you! Go gal go!

  17. Kate S says:

    Darn it.
    You make me laugh Karen,


  18. Kate says:

    Hey Ann,

    My mother has one of those wooden tools — it’s called a darning egg — and she tried her hardest to teach me to darn socks, but I was too intrigued by the darning egg to pay any attention to the stitching lesson.

  19. sera says:

    This is great because my husband has all but completely switched to wool socks, even in the summer. He never gets athlete’s foot anymore – hooray! But those Smart Wool socks are darn (!) expensive. I would hate to throw them out just because of a little hole. My step-dad has also been known to darn his socks and then do a little reweaving so that the thin spots thicken up. Of course he does this with $1 polyester walmart socks but whatever floats his boat.

  20. mary says:

    um, I used to darn woolen socks… there was more of a weave to the darning, though… I haven’t darned a sock in quite a while now. Do you know of Gold Toes? I found them on a trip to Buffalo and I love them… having gone through about a billion pairs of socks in my life, these are a life saver!!!

    • Pam'a says:

      Seconded. Gold Toe socks are the Holy Grail of sockdom! (Well, except maybe Smart Wool. That’s all the hubby will wear since he got a pair a few Christmases ago.)

      But I still favor Gold Toes. They last like iron, and NEVER fall down.

    • Tina says:

      I used to get hubby (now ex) gold toes because they’d last forever! When I have to darn anything, I use the weaving technique. I rarely find that holes are actually just a hole, usually there’s a thinning area around the hole. By weaving the thin area is also thickened and you can make the entire area more evenly thickened… effectively making your own “gold toe” socks!

  21. Liz says:

    My husband is so picky and so particular about his socks that I have to make sure the first knot is on the outside of the sock. He can’t stand to feel the tiniest rough spot on the inside of his sock. But my husband also has “Left footed and right footed socks”. He can hold a sock up and tell you if it’s a left or right footed sock. He said you must remain consistant with which foot the sock goes on or it stretches out weird. Can you say OCD? For his birthday, his sister sent him two pairs of I believe it was Nike socks that had L and R sewn onto the socks so he would always know which foot they went on and so he could easily match up a pair of socks.

    • Karen says:

      Liz! I just used a regular rolled knot on the inside of the sock so it’s very tiny. But if your boyfriend is truly insane, take a look at Wendi’s video on how to knot thread without using a knot! The video’s a bit long because she’s just learning imovie, but the embroidery technique for invisible knots is good!

      • loretta says:

        Avoid the knot in the sock by leaving an inch or two of thread in the beginning of the process and when the hole is sewn up, work your way back down to the beginning and tie the two thread ends together a couple times. This way there is an unfeeling knot; and also, keeps the knot from pulling through, as it probably will in the directions above.

    • Sandra D says:

      I wear my socks for two days, switching them on the second day, so the sock doesn’t get a hole in it as fast. Having an L/R on them would look funny the next day :)

  22. amyjk says:

    did someone teach you how to do this or did you just figure it out? and what about the loose thread ends of the sock that started the hole in the first place– how do you keep it from continuing to unravel in spite of the open area you closed?

    • Karen says:

      Amy – My mother taught me how to sew, but this particular method is something I learned while knitting. This is the method used to join sweater pieces together. (sleeve to body, sewing sleeve together etc.) It’s almost impossible to find the dropped thread in a sock. I’ve darned a lot of socks and I’ve never had a problem with the socks continuing to run after I’ve fixed them. You may *however* end up with another hole somewhere else down the road!

  23. JennyM says:

    “Darn it.” Ha!

  24. ann says:

    I thought I was the only one! not only am I a darner….I have an ancient wooden tool that is intended to act as the tennis ball to support the material whilst one darns. Unlike you, however, my life goal has never been to be a scullery maid – I’m Spinster all the way.

    The last time I had my business cards made up, I tried to get an additional set with an image of a rocking chair, my name beneath it and the words “Spinster” below that – but the woman in the shop would NOT do it for me! she said it would be unlucky…..little did she know that Spinster ship had already sailed – I own an ancient wooden darning tool for Christ’s sake…..

    • kddomingue says:

      When my hubs asked me what I wanted for my birthday one year, I told him that I wanted a day to go to flea markets and antique stores by myself so that I could take as much time as I wanted in any one place. He laughed and told me to buy myself something that caught my fancy (I’m notoriously difficult to buy a gift for). I came home bubbling over with excitement to show him my “present”….two vintage wooden darning eggs! I have since found one more. And I use them, they’re not for decoration!

    • Tessa says:

      I’m not sure what your ancient wooden tool is, but likely a “mushroom” or an “egg.” And they are both still available to buy on Amazon – sometimes, the old technology is the best!

  25. Shannon says:

    I fixed my fiance’s boxer briefs this way a couple of weeks ago. The hole was right in the crack region & I noticed yesterday morning now it kind of looks like he has a girly pinch pleat on his bum like a pair of women’s panties.

    I should have just chucked them. When I mentioned that they looked like panties now he pulled them up as high as they would go & walked abound on tippy toes singing material girl for 15 minutes.

    I am never fixing anything for him again.

    • Karen says:

      That Material Girl thing made me laugh out loud!

      • Shannon says:

        I am glad someone got a laugh out of it. He only stopped when I threatened to tell his mother. I can never un-see it.

      • DzynByJules says:

        That is sooooo funny! A pucker-pantie! My husband would so totally do what yours did! I can just picture it now! Thanks Shannon, I can’t get those lyrics out of my head now, nor the image of a full-frontal wedgie!!
        Karen, I didn’t know there was an art to darning socks, but you’ve mastered it! Even using white thread, it’s nearly invisible. You even make darning socks cool! {{{skipping off to find hubby’s blown out boxers while humming ~~~MATERIAL~~~}}}
        P.S. (Glad you liked my Beer Ottoman!)

      • Bernadette says:

        Pucker Panties – Too much!

      • ben franklin says:

        Sounds like you two got a marriage made in heaven alright. Are you still together or did he do something else supid and you just jumped out of the car and ran? Ha ha

      • Patricia says:

        Wiping tears from my eyes, head back and hands on my tum! Oh, this is why we stay married. Thanks for the morning laugh, now I need headache relief. :)

    • walt says:

      LOL!!!!!!! TO FUNNY. I WOULD DO THE SAME THING!!!!!! If my wife would sew anything. Thanks for teaching me how to cook and sew Granny R.I.P.

    • lisa says:


      You guys sound like an amazing couple :)

    • jaine kunst says:


    • Crystal Leese says:

      Typical male, sometimes I think they secretly wish they could just once wear or try on our panties……🤔 hmmm?

    • Kaaren says:

      He’s a keeper. ☺️

      • Peggy Sue says:

        I was doing dishes a couple years ago, and my husband was in the living room folding laundry. He walked into the kitchen and to my back, stated
        “What do you think of my new outfit?” I turned and to my surprise he was wearing my teal blue & white polka dotted cooking apron (with very feminine ruffles). And…nothing else. Except for his white crew socks.

        He promptly turned sideways slightly and stuck his bare bottom out at me, commencing to sing and dance away like a crazy man. Shaking my head….life is never dull around our house.

    • Wendy Martin says:

      Hilarious, I only came here to learn how to darn socks, not that I was ever going to do it. Now I’ll look on Craig’s List to see if there is anyone out there who enjoys this….!! Great comments, I read almost all the way down. Laughed out loud…!!

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