The decision to mend vs. replace an item is often surprisingly difficult. While being wasteful is rarely a good thing, there comes a point in every object’s lifetime where you must do a little cost benefit analysis or CBA. (I know this is Home Ec 101 and not Business 101, but bear with me here.) While a consulting firm’s CBA may be complex and tedious, yours need not be. All you have to do is ask yourself three simple questions before you begin any repair: What is this item worth (either monetarily or sentimentally)? How long will it take to fix? And, is this repair worth my time?
Take, for example, a pair of my husband’s socks with a hole in the heel. What are they worth? Less than $2 new. How long will it take me to fix the hole? About 15 minutes. Is this repair worth my time? Nope! That means that holey socks are always destined for the trash or rag bag in my household. Due to the fact that these questions are fairly personal, however, your answers probably won’t be the same as mine—as evidenced by the fact that some of you have told me that you want to learn how to darn socks.
I’ll admit that I was initially baffled at your requests, but I reminded myself that your CBA is not my CBA. Begrudgingly, I’m not telling you to get new socks. I am, however, encouraging you to live a little and spoil yourself with a nice multi-pack of socks from a big box store. Even if you heed my advice, though, the threadbare socks you have now are going to have to last at least until you get your tootsies to the store. So, today we’re going to learn how to fix those aged socks, darn it. (Pun totally intended.)
Before You Get Started:
Remember, you’ll be using thread to close the hole in your formerly seamless sock. The end result may be itchy, lumpy, and/or uncomfortable. Since you’re working on the right side of the fabric, your repaired sock will probably be unsightly; using a coordinating thread will make the repair much less visible.
What You’ll Need:
- socks with holes in them
- 1 ½-2 inch long needle
- matching thread
- darning egg (or tennis ball)
- sharp sewing scissors
Step Four: Whip stitch your way back up the hole, using the empty spaces between your first set of stitches as a guide of sorts. Remember that your end result should look like the rungs of a ladder, rather than the X’s of a Frankenseam.
Step Five: Use your hands to flatten out the whip stitch. Reinforce your work by sewing three columns of straight stitches over the row of whip stitches. The end result will look kind of like a grid or, if we’re still going with the ladder analogy, the sides of the ladder… if a ladder had three sides.
The inside looks much neater, but that doesn’t mean you should do your repair on the wrong side of the sock. Remember, you want the inside of your repair to be neat and smooth so that your feet are as happy as possible.
So, there you have it Home Eccers: you know how to darn a sock. As an added bonus, you’ve just made grandmothers everywhere proud. Darn on!