How to Use the Swiss Darning Stitch to Flawlessly Repair Knit Holes

Slow Fashion Style
by Slow Fashion Style
4 Materials

If you have a hole in your knit fabric, there are plenty of ways to darn to repair it. My favorite is Swiss darning. This tutorial will show you how to do Swiss darning to repair any knit hole.

How to do Swiss darning

Tools and materials:

  • Scissors
  • Darning egg
  • Darning needle
  • Yarn
  • Cardboard - optional

What is Swiss darning?

Also known as duplicate stitch, Swiss darning is an embroidery technique that looks like knitting. So, it's the best method for mending holes or frayed knit fabric.

DIY Swiss darning

1. Prepare the patch

My hole was bigger than my darning egg, so I placed a piece of cardboard into the shirt to extend the hole. You want to extend the hole so that the patch won’t be too tight and uncomfortable.

Cut off any leftover strings, leaving with you a clean and comfortable hole to deal with. Insert your needle into the fabric about half an inch away from the hole you are patching, then weave it through.

Stretch the yarn up over the hole and weave it through a stitch there as well. Then, bring it back down and weave through the first hole. From the original hole, move over and repeat, creating a ladder stitch.

Swiss darning ladder stitch

2. Create the ladder stitch 

Do the ladder stitch across the entire hole. (A ladder stitch is when you insert the needle back into the original hole, move it over a stitch, stretch it up, and repeat).

This will help us move into the duplicate stitch, which is what we are aiming for and will help the patch appear seamless with the sweater.

My yarn is slightly thicker than the yarn of my sweater, which makes it stand out slightly. For a more invisible look, make sure you are using the same size yarn.

Notice that I am not forming a perfect square with my patch, but rather following the shape of the hole. This comes down to aesthetic and personal preference. 

Swiss darning duplicate stitch

3. Add the duplicate stitch

Insert your needle just under the first ladder to start. Then, push it horizontally under the two strands of the ladder stitch and pull it through. Bring it back around and insert back into the original hole.

This creates a "v" that replicates a knit stitch. Then, move on to the next ladder. Sew this knit stitch until the end of the row and then move onto the next row by repeating the knit stitch process.

Repeat this technique the whole way up the hole. You can see this entire process in the video above

Swiss darning stitch

4. Finish the patch 

When you are doing your stitches the correct way, your patch should look like the picture above. You should be able to pull the rows and see the separate rows and stitches.

Finally, to finish the patch, sew the tails back, do a few loop stitches to secure them. Cut them off, so it’s left nice and clean.  

How to Swiss darn

This Swiss darning stitch is one of my favorite patching methods. It’s so seamless and clean, and looks exactly like you knitted. Overall, I think this came out really well. 

A DIY Swiss darning stitch is the perfect answer to repairing old clothes. Clothes have a story and the longer we wear them, the more stories they collect.

Don’t throw away your stories - repair them and add new ones!

Suggested materials:
  • Scissors
  • Darning egg
  • Darning needle
See all materials

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