Darn it!

Before I embark on my next dress, I thought I’d start off 2016 fixing a few items that are in bad shape that I wear all the time.

First up, these mittens!

IMG_0459Not so bad on the outside but wait!

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Ouch. No bueno in the thumb area.

So, why fix them?  Well, you’d think I could find rockin’ Thinsulate mittens here in NYC, but apparently it’s only THESE 22-year old gifted Canadian mittens that actually keep me toasty.  After buying many replacement pairs  that turned out to really not cut it, I realized I needed to make these bad boys last, especially given the intensely cold winters we’ve been having the past few years (much less the 12F we had today). That said, the thumb area in particular is deteriorating.  I have resewn them many times already but they just kept getting worse.  Having seen this tutorial about darning on Colette Blog a month or so ago, I thought it was time to give actual darning a shot.

I didn’t have a direct match of embroidery thread, so I went with a coordinating lavender Perle cotton I had on hand, got out my grandmother’s darning ‘thing’, shoved it in the thumb and started sewing.  They don’t look good – at all – darning is rather tricky it turns out, but the thumb areas feel solid again.  (If this doesn’t work, I’ll likely make a little patch for each thumb.)

IMG_0463 IMG_0464

So there you go.  Ready (enough) for winter!

Have any of you darned anything?  I’m especially curious about woven fabrics.  I have a much beloved shirt with a tear in it – I’m wondering if I matched the thread if it would end up being invisible enough to wear again.  Thoughts?


4 thoughts on “Darn it!

  1. JustGail

    Yes, I have darned a few things, with mixed results. I even found a few balls of darning thread in Mom’s sewing items. I’ve tried a method for knits where you basically re-knit the fabric, and it takes a lot of time and patience. For woven fabric, Threads magazine had an article on reweaving a couple(?) years ago. It involves taking threads from an invisible spot on the garment (inside seams or pockets usually) and using that to re-create the fabric.

    Now that you have your mittens stabilized, what about putting a leather patch on each thumb to prevent more damage?

    1. Alexandra Post author

      Thanks for the input. I will look for the Threads article (although that method sounds crazy tedious LOL). I had tried to reknit the fabric of these mittens in the past and it seemed to work but eventually the threads around the reknit wore out as well. I like your idea of the leather patch. I do love these mittens. They are so thin and warm! All the best.

  2. Barbara Showell

    machine darning is one of my most favorite things to do. it is free motion embroidery without the burden of trying to look pretty! that said, I use it for my everyday towels and sheets that might have a small tear or hole, and pants. It would have to be small AND out of the way for me to do it on a shirt. The thread build up on machine darning can get thick and stiff fast, less of a problem on bottom-weight pants.


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