Field darning techniques

When repair patches aren't an option, darning is a great way to join two ripped areas of your gear together. However, it must be done carefully to avoid further damage, and make it easier and cheaper for us to do a permanent repair. Our Service Centre team share their tips and tricks for darning your kit in the field. When you're home from your trip, why not send your damaged gear back to us, for a professional repair?

If you are out in the field and need to make a repair, you can often do so just by using a needle and thread, and a technique called Darning.   

Darning is a way to join two ripped areas together but take care with lighter fabrics as the stitches may pull through the fabric unless you leave enough fabric between the rip and the repair thread. In these cases a patch repair using tape would often be a better option.   

If you need to stitch a down or synthetically insulated jacket, because you have no other choice, make sure you only stitch through a single layer.

This could be the outer or the inner depending on where the rip or tear is.

Doing it this way will make a professional repair in our service center a lot easier and cheaper for you if you choose to send it back to us after your trip. 


How to Darn

To darn an area, you can follow these simple steps: 

  1. Start by making sure you have enough thread on your needle, too short and the repair will be tricky, and you can always trim a longer piece if needed. 
  2. Insert your needle about 5mm beyond where the rip starts and 5mm down below the bottom of the rip.
  3. Bring the needle up about 5mm past the top of the rip, leaving a small tail of thread showing on the outside.
  4. Cross this tail end of thread over and hold in place with your thumb. Then repeat the stitch, starting to encapsulate the tail end of thread in your stitching. 
  5. To make this extra secure you can thread your needle through a loop you’ve created as you are stitching, this will form a small knot holding the stitching in place.
  6. Continue the process of wrapping the tail end of thread into your darning and you should start to see the fabric pinch together and overlap, closing the hole. Snip the excess tail once its about 1cm inside your stitching. 
  7. Once you get to the end of the hole, start to double back on yourself overlapping the stitching you’ve just done. Try not to make this too close to the other stitching on fine fabrics as this could weaken the area.  

If you are repairing a waterproof shell it’s important to seam seal over the new stitching to keep the area waterproof. Apply enough to cover the stitching and about 5mm around the area.  


How to back stitch

To repair a seam a Back Stitch or Running Stitch is always a good option. A Back stitch is stronger and better for areas which may come under tension. 

To back stitch, follow these simple steps:   

  1. Take your needle and thread and look at where you need to start your repair.
  2. Start your stitching about 1cm before the seam has come undone. If this is on a hem, like here where the stitching doesn’t go through to the outer fabric, make sure you only sew the layers you need to reconnect. 
  3. To hide the tail end of the tread pull this through just enough so it stops before it disappears into the fabric. 
  4. Then where your needle has exited the fabric go back through a tiny amount of the top fabric to form a loop of thread. Pass your needle through this loop to secure the stitch. 
  5. Then place your needle back through at this point and bring it back up about 5mm further along the seam to be repaired. Repeat the process of backstitching along the seam. 
  6. At the end of the repair, replicate the process of knotting you did at the start and then tread the excess back into the garment to hide the raw tail end.  

We hope you’ve found this article useful, but don’t forget if in doubt we can offer you a professional repair at our Service Centre which is always here to help you keep your garments going for as long as possible. 


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