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Pattern Darning – A beginner’s Guide

Learn how to do pattern darning
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What if you could repair holes in the fabric and do embroidery at the same time – functional and decorating stitch – a dream stitch? This is what pattern darning is all about.

Most sewists who value a good dress must have done some darning in their lifetime or are aware of the possibilities of a darning stitch. Pattern Darning is the pretty cousin of the darning stitch. It is basically darning done in a pattern – such an obvious thing- with regular even stitches made as per a design you have pre-planned. The basic stitch used here is the running stitch, which is made vertically or horizontally in a regular pattern.

You generally do not follow any design or pattern when doing your darning. It is mostly done with the same color as the repairing fabric. But not so in pattern darning. It is an embellishment and hence needs a design. This is basically a counted thread embroidery technique that also happens to serve a purpose.

Pattern darning has been known for centuries, but it is less popularly used than other embroidery stitches. But the possibilities of this stitch are endless. As a border design nothing to beat it.

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A similar stitch is popular in Japan by the name Kogin stitch. Kogin-Zashi embroidery, much like Sashiko embroidery originated among the peasant class of Japan but later became common as embellishment for festive and wedding attire. Kogin embroidery pattern has beautiful patterns that have evolved through the years. This  has some very beautiful Kogin embroidery patterns.

What fabric is used to do Pattern Darning

Mostly evenweave fabric like linen where the weave (the warp and the weft thread) is visible is suitable for this embroidery. You need to count the threads so that you will know how many threads will be filled and how many will be left alone.

You can use embroidery floss to do this darning. Basically, it depends on what fabric you are doing pattern darning. If you use pattern darning to mend a hole in socks, sock wool is, of course, the obvious choice. Usually, a contrasting or complementary color is used to make the pattern visible.

How is pattern darning done

Usually, this stitch is used as a border stitch or as a filling stitch. Small running stitches are worked on the warp thread or the weft thread of the fabric. Sometimes they are worked diagonally as well though it is very rare.

As this is a counted thread embroidery, the number of threads covered by each stitch is counted each time for the regularity of the pattern.

You can do the pattern darning across the warp thread of your fabric or across the weft thread of your fabric, or both. When the darning stitches are made across the warp thread and the weft thread, it is known as a Damask darn.

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Checkout the for inspirations and designs. 

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Author: Sarina Tariq
Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.
3 thoughts on “Pattern Darning – A beginner’s Guide”
  1. Ann
    There is a book out on Norwegian pattern darning, entitled SMOYG: PATTERN DARNING FROM NORWAY. In it, there are instructions and beautiful patterns. The Croatians – particularly along the Adriatic Sea, in and near Dubrovnik – do this same exact embroidery. They have done so for probably at least 100 years, if not more. I know because several members of my extended family, who come from that area, do this embroidery: they just call it Croatian embroidery. Do a Pinterest search on “Croatian embroidery”, and you will find many pieces that have patterns very close to many that are in the abovementioned book. I was thrilled to find this book because none of my family members who do this beautiful and exacting work have received any new patterns from “the old country” recently. Now I can design some pieces myself, based in part on my relatives’ designs and partly on SMOYG designs. Thank you! Reply
  2. Tayla Graham

    Hi
    Can you give more patterns to do this – looks very interesting. I would like to do this on a shawl I have
    thanx

    Reply
    • Sarina

      I have pinned some on this board
      best wishes

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