How to Darn a Sock

Darning sock


bonchan / Getty Images

People are funny about their socks. Even the smallest kernel of lint on a sock can bother our feet. That is why a sock with a hole in it can't just be stitched shut. "Darning" a sock is a simple process of weaving yarn in a series of rows and columns over a hole.

  • 01 of 09

    How to Darn a Sock—What is Darning?

    How to Darn Socks

    Rain Blanken / The Spruce

    This process replaces the missing fabric. There are no knots, so the finished sock is comfortable to wear. It doesn't take much time and with the right materials, your sock will be better than new.

    What You'll Need:

    • A sock that's seen better days
    • A darning needle
    • A darning egg or alternative
    • Yarn
    • Scissors

    Once you have gathered your materials, let's get started.

  • 02 of 09

    Using a Darning Egg and Alternatives

    Darning Eggs and Alternatives
    Use a baseball bat or even a maracas as an alternative to a darning egg. Am I rockin those pajama pants or what?

    Rain Blanken / The Spruce

    You will need to put something into the sock to make it easier to stitch. Darning eggs and mushrooms are popular choices, but not everyone has one. Some people say to use a light bulb, but this can be hazardous. 

    For this tutorial, we'll be using a baseball bat. It has a rounded top and can be positioned between your knees to encourage good posture while you're darning on the couch. You could also use maracas or large plastic Easter egg.

    Slip your sock over your darning object and let's get stitching.

  • 03 of 09

    How to Darn a Sock—Stitch Around the Hole

    How to Darn a Sock
    Stitch all the way around the weak area of the sock.

    Rain Blanken / The Spruce

    Ideally, you would use a yarn that blends in well with the material of the sock, or a yarn that matches the motif on the cuff of the sock. 

    Insert your needle about 1/8" away from the hole in the sock, or outside of the weak area of the sock. Stitch around the hole, including the very thin, weak areas around the hole. An easy way to do this is to weave the needle into the fabric first, then pull through to make a series of stitches at once.

    Next, we will start stitching inside the circle.

  • 04 of 09

    How to Darn a Sock—Begin to Stitch the Rows

    Darn sock stitching rows

     Rain Blanken / The Spruce

    When you darn a sock, you are not only weaving over the hole but also strengthening the weak areas around the hole. After your circle is stitched, start a row of stitches on the inside edge of the circle. When you get to the edge, stitch another row in the other direction. Continue making rows of stitches as shown until you get to the hole in the sock.

    At the hole, make a long stitch that spans the entire width of the hole, as shown. Later, you will weave through these strings to create a new patch of fabric for the sock. Make these rows of long strings as close together as possible. After each long stitch, continue the row to the edge of the stitched circle.

    Next, finish stitching the rows.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    How to Darn a Sock—Finish Stitching the Rows

    Stitching darn sock

    Rain Blanken / The Spruce 

    After you have covered the hole with a series of long strings, finish stitching rows just as you did as you were approaching the hole. Make sure you are covering the entire inside of your circle with rows of stitches.

    Next, we will start to stitch columns.

  • 06 of 09

    How to Darn a Sock—Begin to Stitch the Columns

    How to Darn a Sock
    Stitch across the finished rows, creating the 'columns' of the grid.

    Rain Blanken / The Spruce

    Darning works because we are creating a grid of rows and columns over the weak area. Turn your work so that you can start stitching across the rows that we just made.

    Sew over the rows until you get to the hole. Here, you will weave the yarn over and under the long threads. After weaving, stitch to the edge of your circle to finish that column.

    Next, we will continue to weave over the hole.

  • 07 of 09

    How to Darn a Sock—Continue to Weave

    How to Darn a Sock
    Weave in over and under the rows of strings on the hole.

    Rain Blanken / The Spruce

    Sew up to the hole to weave again, this time alternating the threads that you go under and over. Sew to the edge of your stitched circle.

    Repeat this process until the entire hole is covered. Remember to make your stitches close together over the hole, even scooting them together with the edge of your needle if you need to. The goal here is to replace the missing fabric.

    Your hole is covered and you are almost done. Let's finish up.

  • 08 of 09

    How to Darn a Sock—Finishing Up

    How to Darn a Sock
    Fishing up by stitching again to the bottom of your circle.

    Rain Blanken / The Spruce

    After the hole is covered, you just need to finish your columns of stitching to the edge of your circle. These stitches around the hole help to strengthen the weakened area and blend the patched hole to the rest of the sock for a comfortable feel.

    There are no knots involved in a darned sock because knots just feel terrible on the bottom of a sock. We will finish by weaving the extra yarn into the fabric of the sock, maybe around the stitched circle or by creating another row.

    Take out your darning egg (or baseball bat, as the case may be) and clip the yarn on the inside of the sock, or clip it on the outside and tuck the loose yarn in.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    How to Darn a Sock—Tips and Tricks

    Darning Socks
    Believe it or not, darning Socks can get addictive.

    Rain Blanken / The Spruce

    There you have it, a sock that has been restored with a cute little patch.