How to Darn a Hole
Learn how to darn a hole in pants using the darning stitch on a sewing machine. If you do not have a darning stitch, another decorative, zig zag or straight stitch can be used. The finished result is almost invisible.
Darning a hole with a sewing machine is quick and easy. For this tutorial, we make a patch to place on the inside of the pants and then darn on a sewing machine.
Some of my favorite shorts ended up developing holes near the pockets. While inspecting the holes, I noticed that the fabric was starting to rip on the sides of each pocket on the back of the pants. This must be a weak spot in the fabric because of all of the layers in the pocket flap.
Instead of getting rid of these favorite shorts, I decided to mend them by machine darning over the holes. I patched both sides of the pocket since I could see it was starting to develop holes.
If you are looking for a tutorial on how to fix larger holes in the pant legs, click over to our tutorial, How to Mend a Hole in Jeans or Pants.
Watch the full video tutorial by clicking the link below and then keep reading our photo tutorial for more information and the supplies for this project.
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WHAT YOU NEED to darn a hole with a sewing machine
- Fabric to coordinate with the pant's Color
- Heat 'n Bond Lite
- Thread to match the pant's color
- Sewing machine
INSTRUCTIONS to darn a hole in pants
STEP 1: Inspect holes in pants
Two pairs of my favorite shorts developed large holes next to the pockets. On the green pair, it's next to the left pocket.
And on the brown pair, it's next to the right side pocket. Both larger holes are near the center of the pants.
Upon inspecting the pants closer, I noticed that holes were starting to develop beside each side of the pocket flaps.
So, I decided to add a patch and darn the pants next to the sides of both pockets. This should stop the wear and keep more holes from developing.
STEP 2: Trim Threads from hole
If there are loose threads across or around the hole, carefully trim them with the scissors without making the hole larger.
Step 3: Create a Patch for the hole
These holes could be just darn on a sewing machine across the holes to close them up. But, since these holes are developing beside each pocket, reinforcement of the fabric is necessary to have a long lasting fix.
Cut a piece from the coordinating fabric that is large enough to cover the hole(s). In my case, I cut a piece that would be large enough to cover all four patch locations next to the sides of the two pockets.
Be sure the patch will cover the entire hole and the area around the hole. Don't skimp!
Cut a piece of Heat 'n Bond Lite a bit smaller than the patch size.
Place the wrong side of the fabric facing up on an ironing board. Then place the Heat 'n Bond Lite with the paper side facing up centered on top of the fabric.
Iron for 5 - 10 seconds or until the Heat 'n Bond adheres to the fabric.
After creating the patch, cut it into pieces large enough to cover the holes in the pants. See below photo, the patch is quite a bit larger than the hole.
Peel the paper backing off of the patch. An easy way to do this is to score the paper with a pin. This makes it will be easier to grab the paper and peel it off.
Step 4: Apply the Patch Over the Hole
Lay the pants on the ironing board with the inside facing up. Smooth it out so the fabric around the hole is flat and the hole is as close to closed as possible.
Depending on how large the hole is, the patch may show through to the front side. Since the fabric color of the patch matches the pants, it should blend in when finished.
Iron on the patch until it adheres to the pants.
In the photo below, the patches are showing on the inside of the pants.
The patches could be placed on the outside of the pants, but this will be more noticeable when the patch is completed.
I always prefer to patch on the inside, but a decorative patch on the outside of the pants could also be used.
The hole on the pants is covered and the outside of the pants is shown in the photo below.
And here is another view in the photo below of the hole after the patch is applied to the inside of the pant.
Next, we will use the darning stitch to sew over the hole. This will close the raw edges of the hole and make the patch permanent.
If you do not sew over the hole, the patch may not hold and the hole could continue fraying.
Step 5: How to Darn a Hole with a sewing machine
To make the patch permanent, sew a darning stitch over the hole. This will permanently attach the patch to the pants and stitch down any raw edges of the hole.
Set your sewing machine on the darning stitch. On my Bernina 240, this is the #17 stitch. If you do not have a darning stitch on your machine, you can use a decorative stitch, zig-zag stitch or sew a straight stitch back and forth across and around the hole.
What is a darning stitch?
The darning stitch is a stitch that covers the entire area of the hole with stitches. This stitch reinforces the fabric in and around the hole and affixes the patch permanently to the pants.
The darning stitch is programmed on the Bernina 240 to stitch forward and backward. The needle starts at the left side of the presser foot and on each pass, it moves the needle one step towards the right side. The length stitched is set by pressing the back button at the end of the first pass.
Check your sewing machine instructions to see how to use the darning stitch on your machine.
As you can see in the photo below, the darning stitch forms small lines of stitches across the hole.
Thread the machine top and bobbin thread with thread that closely matches the pant color. Sometimes, you want the stitches to be shown as in Sashiko or visible mending. Click the link to learn more about this mending technique.
Today, I would like the stitches to blend in and not be noticeable. So, using matching fabric and thread helps keep it less visible.
To begin, place the presser foot outside of the area with the hole. You will want to reinforce the area all around the hole to keep it from ripping again.
Start to stitch forward, with this programmed stitch, no back tacking is required as it automatically tacks the stitch. Stitch across the the hole and press the back button to let the machine know when to stop and go backwards.
Continue stitching until the end of the darning stitch cycle. For the rest of the cycle, the machine will stitch backward and forward, moving the needle one step to the right with each pass.
If the entire area of the hole is not covered in the first pass of the darning stitch, it can be stitched again in another area until the hole is patched.
Above shows some darning stitches around the holes on the sides of the pant pockets. Below shows the stitches on the inside of the pants.
There are more example photos of darning stitch below showing the outside and inside of the pants.
Step 6: Trim Patch (optional)
After finishing the darning stitch, I trimmed the patches to be just a bit larger than the stitches. This is optional, but the patch may peel up at the edges after many washing and wearing of the pants.
FINISHED. The pants are now patched using the darning stitch on my sewing machine!
As you can see below, the stitches are not very noticeable on the pants. This will give me many more years of use for these favorite shorts.
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