Socks are one of the most common clothing items to require mending. Learn how to fix holey socks and save yourself money and the environment with these techniques.
Our guide below has simple ideas for non-crafters and more advanced techniques. But they’ll all help to keep your toes toasty in the winter cold!
Why Fix Holey Socks?
Well, is there anything more annoying than feeling your big toe poking out of some holey hosiery? Or your shoes rubbing through the heels of your socks? We think not!
Because they have one of the toughest jobs in your wardrobe, socks wear out super fast. So learning a few of the tips and tricks below will save you many pairs. And because nobody can see them when your shoes are on, they’re the perfect place to improve your mending skills. And save the earth from more fast fashion land fill!
Typically socks include around 25% nylon or other synthetic thread for strength. Even “woollen” sock yarn contains this synthetic fibre because pure wool ones will begin to break after even just one wear.
Traditionally, these garments were stranded with either cotton or silk to provide this extra strength, but nothing quite measures up to the wonders of plastic. If you’re avoiding plastics in clothing due to concerns about microplastics, socks may be the one item that will really “trip” you up!
But remember that much of the microplastics a garment will shed are released during a first wash. So by repairing holey socks instead of buying new you’re potentially reducing the environmental impact of your clothes.
When repairing socks you can use a fingering weight (4ply) yarn for hanknits or polyster thread for thinner ones. Believe it or not, a lemon is also an essential darning tool. This is because when repairing stretchy fabrics you want to ensure it is fully stretched when mending. Otherwise it will pucker or be too tight when you put it on.
So pop a lemon behind the area you’re mending, It has the added benefit of smelling… better than your feet!
To fix holey socks you will need:
- A darning needle or needle felting kit.
- A lemon or “darning mushroom”.
- Sock yarn or polyester thread.
Basket weave patch
Basket weave patches are perfect for covering over little holes (see Pip Magazine #15 for full instructions, or check out the video above). Always remember to catch all the dropped stitches around a hole before executing this patch to ensure it doesn’t stealthy unravel underneath your patch!
Needle felting is a great place to start if you’re not a knitter or a sewer but you’d like to try your hand at mending. Many craft stores sell simple needle felting kits for less than $20. Read more about this handy craft in issue #4 of the magazine.
Reinforcing a heel
You may not have a gaping hole, but threadbare heels are a top spot that they will form. So get a few stitches in early and save yourself the time of a full-on repair.
Reinforcing a heel with simple back-and-forth running stitches is an extremely easy way to give your hosiery an extra lease on life. And you can turn them into beautiful works of stitching too.
For really holey handmade socks the best course of action may be a complete reknit. Considering the amount of time it takes to handknit socks it’s really worth the effort to re-do a small part rather than knit yourself another pair. To save your socks, cut or unravel them to the point at which the hole is.
Pick up stitches – checking that you haven’t dropped any in the process. Re-knit your socks in pattern to match the other in the pair.
So there you have it! That’s our complete guide to fixing holey socks. Let us know if you have any other sneaky tips or tricks in the comments below, and go forth and mend, darn it!