Age : 12-14 Years

The right feeling which results from following nature through the primitive art period, conduces to that perception which includes repair in the architectural unity of construction and decoration.

Thus the intellectual fibre is prepared for the artisan period, and it behoves us to exercise and strengthen that fibre by a method of instruction which will give our girl or boy a sense of readiness in an emergency.

Lesson IX Patching Darning 112

Diag. 93. Diag. 94.

They should see many processes in many departments ; learn something of the laws and principles that underlie all occupations, and know thoroughly one specific branch.

This can be accomplished in good measure by general repair lessons in needlecraft. Material - woollens, cottons, linens - have to be compared. (Incidentally the weekly habit of wardrobe inspection in relation to tidiness and the obviating of large holes insisted upon.)

Even when the child of the elementary school brings silk slips, lace slips, etc., part of the allowance of her charwoman mother - provided from the surplus of the rich man's house, the teacher finds that one principle holds good for all, i.e. repair should be as unobtrusive as possible with the requisite strength demanded by the article.

For example, thin materials - be they fine silk or fine lawn - should have (1) A fine needle ;

(2) A fine thread ;

(3) A fine stitch ; and should therefore form the kind of repair suitable for classes after 14 years of age, when the hand becomes more and more skilful.

To lead to this nicety, it is with patching as with darning: the understanding of how to prepare carefully. One type of patch must precede the many varieties different holes suggest.

Lesson IX Patching Darning 113

Diag. 95A.

Lesson IX Patching Darning 114

Diag. 95B.

Thick weight materials, such as serge, linen, cretonne, or medium weights as prints, are treated alike because of texture and pattern.


The patch must match in pattern (for appearance) and warp (to avoid undue strain), and is placed on the right side with its opposite edges folded in for about 1/4 inch, and top-sewed regularly and neatly to the article (Diag. 93).

The frayed edges on the wrong side are trimmed and button-hole stitched, about \ inch deep and \ inch apart (Diag. 94).

This can be practised on dust caps (Diags. 95 (a, b, c)), soiled linen bags, casement curtains, as a preparation for the actual hole.

Flannel is always patched down with herring-boning, using yarn or fine silk thread (Diags. 96A, 96B)).

All reversible cotton and silk fabrics have the patch placed on the wrong side, large enough to cover the surrounding worn area, and to allow for folds 1/8 inch to be turned in.

The patch is pinned loosely, then the garment is turned to the right side, when all torn and frayed edges should be trimmed and a neat, economical, unobtrusive shape contrived. The square, oblong, triangular, or circular shapes should be placed on the wrong side, and in the very common tear (Diag. 97), where the garment is quite strong, but where a thin thread has given way resulting in a tear (possibly during washing or drying in the wind), it is wise to keep the existing shape and contrive a neat finish.

Calicoes and the fine fabrics already referred to should be top-sewed on the right side and hemmed on the wrong (seams not wider than 1/8 inch (Diag. 97)).

Method 115

Diag. 95C.

Method 116

Diag. 96A.

Method 117

Diag. 96B.

But in all much worn material it is safe to note that patches hemmed on both right and wrong sides are enduring and pleasing.

Note the back of the dustcap (Diag. 95).

In an actual tear, due to nail or thorn or wind, nothing is neater than the edges sewn together by fish bone or German stitch - with thread corresponding to the material (Diag. 98). Occasionally a fine silk thread or single hair may be used successfully on thick woollens, alpacas, and tweeds - when the hand has gained skill.

In our approach to the utilitarian need, caps, etc. (Diag. 98A), may be made out of oddments, and these sewn together with a patch for the crown.

Special care is needed in patching a triangular piece of material, as the bias or cross-cut edge is apt to stretch very easily, and consequently the mending becomes spoiled (Diag. 95).

Applying this method to the under arm, or knee of any garment, the portion at the seams should be unpicked, and the patches placed in separately at the two seam edges (Diag. 99).

Complicated methods should be avoided, and the result that is quickly, securely, and economically accomplished, should be accepted.

Method 118

Diag. 97.

Method 119

Diag. 98.

Method 120

Diag. 99.

In this way the girl is encouraged to act upon her own suggestion, and rely upon herself in matters of practical judgment.


Darning. The actual weaving or darning is now applied directly to the holed article, hand or machine knitted.

Darning needles are of long and medium sizes, and with eyes graded to suit fine cotton, silk and mending yarn, or five-ply fingering, as the texture demands, whether cotton, woollen, or silken goods.

It is of no consequence whether the darn be worked on the wrong or right side, as the weaving should be alike on both sides when regularly darned, and while it may look neater to have the loops on the inside, these shrink in after washing. With thread that has been washed and dried, there is no occasion to leave too much loop, merely work " easy," so that the elasticity of the knitting may be retained, and puckering, which occasionally appears after the first wash, be entirely prevented.

Method 121

Diag. 99. - Diag. 100.

All ends and untidy edges should be trimmed : the edges, not loops, lifted with the needle at top and bottom alternately (Diag. 100) to keep the darn regular.

It is utterly impossible to fray out and lift the loops of machine-knitted articles.

And in darning finely woven articles, two threads may be lifted and passed alternately, because not only is a single fine thread tedious to darn with, it is much less comfortable to wear than a two-strand darn.

An irregular darn shape is best - the circle, for example (Diag. 100), as this divides the strain among many threads. Donot draw the thread tightly.