“It was November – the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines.”L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
And with parting birds and sad sea hymns, what better way to stay warm and cozy than with your favourite woollen cardigan and a hot cup of tea? But alas, those pesky moth holes have appeared out of nowhere and your favourite sweater has been relegated to the back of your closet or your ever-growing mending pile.
Perhaps you’re not too sure how to mend the sweater hole or you just haven’t found the motivation to do it. In this week’s post, I will show you a really quick and easy way to mend a knit garment with a little embroidery. The possibilities, as is always the case with embroidery, are pretty much endless. So grab that cozy sweater, and let’s mend it together! You can even skip to the embroidery part if your garment doesn’t need mending but you’d like to add a little decorative stitching to it.
I will be patching up one of my favourite cardigans, this sweet blue cashmere vintage piece I thrifted a few years ago. It has indeed been sitting in the mending pile forever, since I bought it at a really low price but sporting several moth holes already. As you can see, there’s a big one on the back that really needs fixing!
Since this hole is on the back of the cardigan, I’m able to use an embroidery hoop to keep the tension even. If you want to fix a hole that’s in a more awkward spot, like on a sleeve or the heel of a sock, use a darning egg or mushroom if you have one, or another object that you can slip under the hole to give it a hard surface underneath. I really love the mushroom because it’s easy to hold while you stitch. Etsy has a nice selection of them if you’re interested in getting one!
Mend a Sweater Hole
1. We’ll start by flipping the garment to the wrong side and threading a hand-sewing needle with matching sewing thread. This is a time when you really want as close a match to your garment fabric as you can find. I like to double the thread for this, and tie the end with a knot.
2. Then, we will do a running stitch around the hole, a few millimeters away from the edge. Your needle should be going under and over the knit stitches. Do not pull!
3. Once you come back to the point where you started, do the same thing going vertically. Run your needle over and under the knitting to start covering the hole. The running stitch you made in step 2 is a good guideline for where to start and stop your stitches.
4. Essentially, you want to bridge the gap caused by the hole and bring the two edges together. Once you’ve done a few vertical rows of running stitches, pull gently to help close the gap. A good 1950’s housewife would probably frown at this because I don’t think you’re actually supposed to pull, but since we’ll be adding embroidery to this, I think it’s fine. 😉 Just don’t pull too hard or the fabric will pucker!
5. Continue to run vertical rows of running stitches until you get to the end and the hole is hidden!
6. Usually, you’d now weave rows of running stitches horizontally to really make the hole disappear and strengthen the area, but it won’t be necessary here. (My inner ‘50s housewife is now deeply, deeply frowning). Feel free to do it though, if you don’t want to add embroidery or you want it extra sturdy.
7. When you’re satisfied with your darning, secure your thread by weaving it among the stitches a few times and looping it into a knot before clipping.
Adding the Embroidery
8. We will be embroidering a little lazy-daisy flower right on top of this mended hole, and I like to give myself a few guiding lines for this with a water-soluble pen.
9. Next, thread an embroidery needle with three strands of white embroidery floss. Anchor the thread by weaving it among the mending stitches and make a lazy-daisy stitch to form a flower petal. Start in the middle of the shape, going outward.
10. Continue working lazy-daisy stitches all around to form your flower. Add 3-4 French knots to the center.
And now you have a cute little cloud-like flower where there used to be a nasty hole!
I repeated these steps anywhere there was a hole on this cardigan (turns out there were a LOT!). The result is that my flowers are quite randomly scattered, but I love it!! You can definitely choose to make it symmetrical if you prefer, and just embroider where there’s no hole. 😊
I hope this was helpful and that it makes darning a little less daunting! It’s always so satisfying to add embroidery everywhere. And even though this is probably not the most “correct” way to mend a sweater, it definitely works and I’m so happy with my cozy cardigan. It feels like a whole new garment!
Let me know what you think in the comments! Do you have other methods for mending holes in clothes? Where else would you like to add embroidery? Give me your ideas and I’d love to write a post on it.