Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Warm woollys and cosy knits

Now the cold weather is here, it is time to stock up your wardrobe with warm woollys and cosy knits. We have a fantastic selection of Aran and cable knit cardys and jumpers for men and women - these just remind me of long winter walks and hot mugs of cocoa (or drizzly rain and luke warm tea, depending on how rose tinted your glasses are...) The only problem with vintage knitwear is the dreaded moth holes! These little blighters turn a fabulous garment into a ruined mess, that is unless you know how darn and make that hole disappear. Darning is really easy and if done correctly, creates an almost invisible repair, bringing your clothes back to life. It works best on chunkier, knitted clothes, but can also be applied to finer wool and even silk, if done with care and patience.
So, what do you need? Depending on the weight of your fabrics, a darning or embroidery needle. (Heavier fabrics need a thicker needle, light fabrics a finer one.) Let's assume you're repairing one of these lovely cable knit jumpers. You've got yourself a nice thick darning needle, now you need some thread. If you can find some wool to match your jumper that would be perfect, but failing that some embroidery thread would work almost as well. (Normal sewing thread would probably be a little thin for this repair.) Don't forget it needs to be a close a match to the colour of your item as possible.
The idea behind darning is to recreate the weave of the fabric, so look closely at the hole. Can you see where the threads have broken? You should be able to spot the horizontal and vertical threads, and you want to follow these with your needle and thread to 'fill in' the hole, rather than pull it together. So, put a knot in the end of your thread, and pull the needle through the top left hand side of your hole, with the knot on the inside. (Leave some space between the edge of the hole and your stitching, so that it doesn't pull through the broken threads and create a bigger hole!) Work down in long stitches to join the fabric on the other side. Don't pull it tight, as this will make the fabric pucker up. Imagine you are filling in the gap with thread. Now make a small stitch across, and come back up to the other side, continuing this until you reach the bottom right of the hole. It should look a little like a sideways ladder, with small stitches all round the outside of the hole. Now do the same again but this time working left to right, weaving the needle up and down through the first layer of stitching. You should start to see your woven patch filling in the hole and creating a nice flat repair in your knit. Check out this vintage example from a wartime 'make do and mend' leaflet!
Oh, and if you want to get your hands on one of the lovely aran jumper of cardigans (without holes of course!), check out our ebay page now, for gems like this:

Oh, and if you fancy buying one of our lovely jumpers (without holes of course!) Check these ones out on our ebay page now!

Ruth, Urban Village

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