Woolen clothing is ideal for keeping you warm in winter, but the way woolen fabric is knit or woven together means mending holes isn't quite as simple as it is with nonstretchy cotton or synthetic fabric. Woolen clothing that's put into storage in the warmer months is susceptible to being eaten by moth larvae, plus wear and tear on elbows or cuffs mean you might need to do some mending of your beloved woolen garments. Read on to learn some tips and tricks for mending moth holes and other small tears in woolen fabric.
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How to Repair Moth Holes in Wool Fabric
Step 1: Choose a Thread in a Similar Color
Find a thread in your sewing kit that matches the woolen item as closely as possible. You won't want your fixing handiwork to be visible. Thread a needle of an appropriate size with the thread. If you're fixing a chunky knit, then a larger tapestry needle may be useful; otherwise, a more standard sewing needle is fine.
Step 2: Turn the Garment Inside Out
If you're fixing a sweater, cardigan, or other item with a right side and a wrong side, turn it inside out. The goal is to make your mending invisible.
Step 3: Sew Along the Lines of the Knitting
Holes in knitted fabric break the links between knitted stitches. To neatly and effectively mend a hole, catch the small knitted loops around the hole with your needle. Thread the needle and thread through the rows of stitches, entering beside the hole and coming out the other side next to the opposite side of the hole. Pick up any straggling knitted loops with your needle as you go.
Keep going backward and forward like this until you've covered the hole horizontally. At the end of each line of stitching, pull the thread gently to close the hole. Don't overtighten, as this will create a puckered lump.
Once you've finished this process horizontally over the hole, repeat the process vertically.
Step 4: Mend or Cover Larger Holes
These steps are ideal for small holes of around 1/4 inch. For anything larger, you may need to take a different approach to mending woolen fabric.
Darning is a technique often used to mend socks. The darning stitch is a cross-hatched running stitch that covers the hole, sort of like a stitched patch.
If the hole in your woolen fabric is too large to repair neatly, why not have a go with other sewing techniques, like patches or applique? These can add individuality to your clothes while getting more life out of old garments.
Prevention is better than cure. Although not all damage to woolen items can be prevented, storing clothes properly can help. Wash your woolen clothes properly before storing them for the winter because moth larvae are attracted to food, hair, and skin particles. Thoroughly clean your wardrobe or storage containers as well before storing items to get rid of moths and larvae that might be hiding.