I’ve been up on Shaw Island in the Puget Sound working with some of the women there. They have very little access to new clothing, making it very important they know how to work with what they have. Knitters, spinners and artists alike, these women want to use their skills and creativity to alter garments so that their look is current for when they “go to town” (the mainland). We talked at length about what fun and interesting alterations to make to the items in their closets.
Mending was a hot topic of conversation. Darning is a sewing technique for repairing holes or worn areas in textiles using only needle and thread. Most often done by hand, this technique employs the “darning” stitch. “In its simplest form, darning consists of anchoring the thread in the fabric on the edge of a hole and carrying it across the gap. It is then anchored on the other side, usually with a running stitch or two. If enough threads are criss-crossed over the hole, the hole will eventually be covered with a mass of thread,” as explained by Wikipedia. The idea, at least until more recently, was that proficient technique meant that stitches would blend right in, becoming invisible.
While darning is a traditional method for repairing wears and tears, it has also become somewhat of an art form. I’ve been hearing a lot about the ways you can adapt these timeless methods to garments in need and it gave light to some brilliant resources. This example of darning, in short story form by Tom of Holland, describes how a handmade sweater with holes and even a sleeve completely cut off, could be completely rejuvenated by darning. What craftsmanship and creativity!