Learn how to darn a sweater quickly and easily with this simple tutorial.
The secret to mending a sweater quickly and easily starts, with one little tool.
This DIY sweater repair will walk you through the steps of fixing a sweater or any wool item in the quickest and easiest method possible.
I bought this sweater over 10 years ago and was devastated to find such a large hole. But thankfully, I was able to fix it in no time at all. So I'm going to show you how I did it as well as share the supplies I used to do it.
I have no idea how this happened. I'm so careful with my sweaters.
Nonetheless, I was devastated thinking that I was going to have to repurpose this vintage sweater. But rather than just throwing it in a pile to deal with later, I decided to try a quick repair. After all, what did I have to lose?
I must add that I am a knitter. You could easily find some yarn that matches your sweater, knit a patch and stitch that on. I almost did that. Then I realized my favorite knitting needles were currently holding a project, so I moved on to another option.
You could also find a great piece of coordinating quilting fabric, make a patch and sew that on as well. But if you don't have a sewing machine lying around, then that isn't a good option either.
*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. You can read my full disclaimer here.*
Supplies you'll need for this method of sweater repair:
- Clover needle felting tool
- Needle felting mat
- Blunt tip needle
- Coordinating 100% wool yarn
- Patch (color and size will vary depending on the size hole you have that needs repair).
- Gather all the supplies you'll need. The yarn and patch color will vary depending on your sweater color or personal preference. Again, just be sure you're using 100% wool yarn so it will felt properly.
- This is only a suggestion if you are a knitter such as myself. If you are removing the yarn you'll be using from a skein, make a note on how much yarn you removed. That way if you use the yarn later for a project, you'll know how much of the yarn you have left. It's not fun to get to the end of a project and realize you are a yard or two short from being able to complete your project.
- Thread one of your blunt tip darning needles with the yarn and tie a knot.
- Turn the area in need of repair inside out. This will make it so all the repair areas are facing towards the inside where they won't be seen.
- Now, take the needle you previously threaded and tied a knot in and work your way around the outer edge of the hole being sure that you are picking up or "catching" the loops from the knit stitches. This will ensure that it will not further pull apart. Do this around the entire hole. Once you come back to the beginning where you started, tie the yarn together securely. Trim the yarn making sure that you leave a short tail. This will be felted later.
- Now that the outer edges are secure, let's work on closing or filling in the hole. Tie another knot in your yarn and begin to weave back and forth from side to side. Make sure that you don't pull the hole closed. You'll want to leave a little gap. Again, don't worry. We'll fill this in with more yarn before we begin felting it. Warning: this is not going to look pretty. It doesn't really matter since you'll felt the yarn together and in the end you won't even see a trace of any stitching you did.
- Once you have finished stitching back and forth down the entire length of the hole, tie the yarn together and snip the yarn leaving a small 1-3" tail. You can also do this on both sides to give it more stability. That is up to you.
- Take some of the leftover yarn you have after completing the repair of the hole, and lay it flat over the entire area needing repair. This is what you're doing instead of creating a knitted patch. At this point, you could also stitch your patch on to cover the hole but I want to ensure that the hole will not re-open, stretch out or have the yarn break at some point when I'm wearing it. So I'm taking my time to really fix the problem.
- Now it's time to get ready to felt the yarn over the hole. Place your felting mat BEHIND the area needing to be felted. In this case, I put it inside the sleeve of my sweater. You need to have a mat in between the area to be felted, otherwise, you will felt your sweater to whatever is directly behind it. Take your clover felting tool and unlock it. It usually comes in a locked position. This is to make sure when it's opened that you don't get stabbed with the really sharp needles. Unlock the tool and begin pushing the tool directly on top of the area you wish to felt. Do this in a quick swift motion-up and down. If you look closely at the felting needles, you will notice very tiny little barbs on them. This is actually pulling those fibers apart and pushing them into the other fibers.
- Continue the felting process until you no longer see obvious stands of yarn. Once you have done one side, do the same process to the other side. Once you get to the other side, it won't take any time since most of the yarn will be felted. After you have felted the entire area, it's time to sew on the patch. If you don't want to sew a patch on you can leave it as is. It's a personal preference.
- Once again thread your needle with some yarn and tie off. Grab the patch you want to use and place it over the area you just felted. From the back side, begin stitching the patch to your sweater. Be careful that you are stitching it on straight. Stop every couple stitches to check the position of the patch.
- Once you are finished stitching the entire way around your patch, tie off the yarn on the backside of the patch. You have now completed an easy repair job that didn't require you to knit a patch or sew fabric onto your sweater.
What is your favorite method to repair a damaged sweater?
I personally love the look of a worn sweater. A worn sweater is full of stories. I'm always looking for ways to preserve the clothing that I love. This sweater still had lots of life left so with a quick repair, I'm hoping I'll have it around another 10+ years. Do you have a quick and easy repair method for worn out/damaged clothing? Share in the comments section below.
Shop for sweater repair items as well as my favorite knitting essentials:
- Lykke Interchangeable Knitting Needle Set in DRIFTWOOD or DRIFTWOOD
- Cedar Pieces for moth repellant
- Vinyl Storage Bags
- Clover Needle Felting Tool
- Needle felting mat
- Chibi darning needles