How to Darn Large Holes in Socks

My Poppet Makes
by My Poppet Makes

Learn how to darn sock with holes using an easy stitching technique that embraces the ‘visible mending’ ethos. Your holey clothing can be mended with stitched starburst patches.

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I struggle to let things go. For this reason I will wear clothing within an inch of its life, even when the elastic has gone or there are large gaping holes.

With the resurgence of ‘ visible mending‘ I do enjoy giving my clothes even extra life by repairing those darn (ha-ha) holes with decorative stitching and patches.

Although, until now, I have struggled to save worn out socks with large holes. My efforts at mending socks have not been very successful.

In the past I’ve tried using standard sewing thread, and different sewing techniques to repair those ever expanding sock holes. But unfortunately they would come undone after being worn and washed.

Luckily, I have recently stumbled across an easy and decorative sock darning technique that ticks many boxes:

  • effectively closes large sock holes
  • still makes the socks comfortable to wear
  • washes well and is a durable repair
  • and (for bonus points) adds personality to your knitted footwear

In fact, after mending the holes in your socks, you may feel the urge to accidentally ‘on purpose’ create new holes, just so you can have an excuse to further decorate your socks in a rainbow flurry of colors.

You can use the technique below for more than just darning socks. It works well for mending holes in sweaters or other garments too.

Try using bright variegated yarn for cheerful patches on your socks and clothing.

Take your Mending to the next level with a Darning Mushroom!

A Darning mushroom is a wooden tool that helps with mending and patching. To use it you stretch the sock or fabric you wish to mend over the rounded top and gather it around the handle to hold it firmly in place while you darn.

It’s useful to create a surface to stitch against, instead of using your hands or fingers below. It will also help prevent you accidentally stitching though to the other side of the sock during your repair.

Many beautiful made, hand turned wooden darning mushrooms are available on Etsy. You can also buy commercially made darning tools on Amazon.

You may also enjoy:

How to Darn Socks with a Starburst Patch

You will need:

  • Holey sock (or garment that needs repair)
  • Sewing needle
  • 1m (3′) 8ply yarn (DK yarn)
  • Scissors
  • Darning Mushroom (optional)

How to:

1. Thread a long length of yarn onto the needle. Tie a double knot at the end of the yarn.

2. Sew the beginning of your first stitch 5mm from edge of the hole. Give the stitch a 3-5mm width. Pull the yarn through and allow a little slack so the stitch has a small loop. If you have a darning mushroom, slide it into your sock under the hole instead of your hands (as pictured).

3. From below feed the needle ‘up’ through the small loop stitch. Pull the yarn to tighten.

4. Push the needle down into the sock next to the previous stitch (with a 3-5mm gap to begin with). Pull the yarn through, and allow a little slack so there is a small loop at the end. 

5. From below feed the needle ‘up’ through the small loop stitch. Pull the yarn to tighten.

6. Repeat Steps 4 and 5 until the entire hole has a ring of stitches around it.

7. Continue in a spiral, repeating Steps 4 and 5. With one difference – occasionally skipping stitches to diminish the circle as you come closer to the centre of the patch.

8. When there are no more rounds to create turn the sock inside out, tie a knot, and cut off the spare yarn.

Now you have successfully patched up the large hole in your sock.

Melissa is a hyper creative artist, and content creator.

To see more of Melissa’s work, follow these links:


How to fold socks

Want to learn the best way to fold socks? You may want to check out this tutorial on How to Fold Socks: 4 Easy Ideas + Storage Tips!

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Join the conversation
3 of 18 comments
  • Kay Kay on Sep 20, 2021

    It is OK but if mending @ hole on the front of the socks I would do another one the same on the other sock so that it looks as if it was done deliberately. Regards the other issue if you use sowing cotton when mending heals you shouldn’t feel the thread so much

  • Carol Vela Carol Vela on May 16, 2023

    Embroidery thread works good for mending socks. You can use two or up to all six strands depending on the thickness of the sock. A burned out 60 watt (Or whatever) light bulb also works for a darning egg or mushroom and doesn't cost anything.

    • Carol de la Fuente Carol de la Fuente on Jun 14, 2023

      I was going to say that we were taught to use a light bulb for darning socks!!!