How To Fix Those Darn Socks With Holes In Them

When you find a sock that’s holier than a game-winning touchdown drive by a Bronco quarterback, natural reactions include suffering with the added ventilation or throwing it away. The alternative is to resurrect the sock through the age-old tradition of darning it.

Families.com coaches you through the deceptively simple process. Start by gather up a needle, embroidery floss and a light bulb.

You stick the sock on the bulb so the hole opens wide, then surround the hole with tiny stitches. Then you stitch loosely across the hole, then rotate 90 degrees and stitch across it that way, repeating the process until you form a patchwork that seals up the hole without deforming the sock.

Or you can just forget about it and deem the hole to be the eye of a cyclops sock puppet.

How to Darn A Sock [Families.com]

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  1. Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

    Anyone else enjoy seeing that sanctimonious twit get knocked on his ass 5 times on Saturday?

    Evangelicals make me itch.

  2. Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

    When the hell does this happen in the movie?
    Now. You’re looking at now, sir. Everything that happens now is happening now.
    What happened to then?
    We passed then.
    When?!
    Just now. We’re at ‘now’ now.
    Go back to then!
    When?
    Now!
    Now?
    Now!
    I can’t.
    Why?
    We missed it.
    When?
    Just now.
    When will ‘then’ be ‘now’?
    Soon.

    I hope this improves the post quality.

  3. zerogspacecow says:

    Is that really worth doing? Socks aren’t expensive. About once a year, I throw away all of my old socks and buy a couple new packs. Wearing comfy new socks is one of the best feelings in the world (compared to wearing nasty old worn out socks). Completely worth the $15-$20 a year two new packs of socks cost.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      It’s definitely worth doing for higher end thermal socks.

      I don’t think repairs are worth the hassle for run of the mill, cotton gym socks. They’re a lot like boxers, in the fact that by the time they have holes, the fabric is usually semi-transparent.

      • zerogspacecow says:

        Indeed. But I must ask, who gets holes in their boxers? I can’t recall that ever happening to me. Of course, I go for boxer briefs. Also, I replace them pretty much yearly as well.

        • axolotl says:

          The hole is supposed to be there….

        • Jillia says:

          Oh, you’ve obviously never met my husband. If anyone can put a good hole in a pair of socks/undies/pants, it’s that man!

        • hoi-polloi says:

          As my boxers age, they routinely get holes in them. The material gets thin over time, especially near the seams. Eventually, I tear a hole when tucking my boxers into my pants. I’ll keep boxers in that case, but it’s only a matter of time before other seams start wearing out. My boxer briefs tend to be a different blend and a different weave or whatnot, but I’ve still had them wear out at the seams over time.

          Regarding wool socks, I agree that the material is so worn down by the time you get a hole that repair is hardly worth the effort. A friend used to row crew, and she said it ate wool socks at an alarming rate. She saved the tops of the socks and made an awesome patchwork scarf with them.

      • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

        usually by the time my thermal socks have a hole, they are worn so thin on the heel and ball it’s worth $10 to buy a new pair (since they aren’t really keeping my toes warm any more)

    • ducktownhusker says:

      +1.

      What’s next, an article about how to save receipts and make your own home-brew toilet paper?

      Slow news day, Consumerist?

    • ptkdude says:

      I wouldn’t bother doing this with normal athletic socks (the bright white ones I enjoy wearing with my sandals), but my wool socks run $15 a pair and you can bet I’ll fix those if they ever get a hole in them.

    • Sian says:

      god if I was ever fabulously rich, I would only ever wear virgin socks, which at the end of the day would be washed and go into a pile that would be donated to charity every month or two.

    • moonunitrappa says:

      Socks make good scrubby rags when they can no longer be worn, so I rarely toss them out.

    • springboks says:

      You clearly do not own smartwool or any 100% wool socks. That said I agree $3 or $17 socks you gotta toss them sometime.

  4. Cat says:

    I make my own sock puppets at home.

  5. clippy2.0 says:

    Now how I fix socks with holes in them? I throw them out, and buy new ones

  6. foofie says:

    I prefer to damn my socks.

  7. Muscato says:

    [In your best Elaine Stritch voice]

    ….Does anyone…still…darn…a sock?

    [swig of vodka]

    I’ll drink to that!

    [End E. Stritch impersonation]

  8. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    I think I’ll take the lazy man’s way out and BUY A NEW FLIPPING PAIR OF DARN SOCKS, FOR JEEBUS SAKE.

    You’re KILLING ME Phil!

  9. longfeltwant says:

    I fix old socks by using them as rags. In fact, socks are so incredibly inexpensive that I think anyone who bothers to fix them should admit that they are doing it for ideology, not parsimony.

    Socks cost, what, between two and five dollars, and you wear them, what, maybe 100 to 200 times?

    • Cat says:

      At Walmart:
      Starter – Men’s Crew Socks, 10-Pack, $6.40.

      Sixty-four cents a fuckin’ pair, 32 cents each.

      • zerogspacecow says:

        Word. I just bought two packs of those last week. Best happiness-to-cost ratio of anything ever. They’re serious value.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        Dress, hiking, and thermal socks can be considerably more expensive.

    • Laura Northrup says:

      I’ve fixed up novelty socks that were expensive and that wore out sooner than they should have. Like Paris subway map socks, or socks with pictures of dogs on them.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      if i wore socks i’d use the old ones as dog toys
      although my cat recently stole a sock from a houseguest to use as a toy.

  10. Sarek says:

    They lost me at “embroidery floss.” I’ve never heard the term before.
    Does that mean I have to learn to knit to clean my teeth?

    Anyway, didn’t this go out with Father McKenzie?

    • who? says:

      Embroidery floss is like thick thread. It’s available in a number of colors at most craft stores.

      That said, though, darning socks? Really? Decent socks are made out of some sort of miracle thread that never gets holes. Cheap socks aren’t worth fixing.

  11. jbandsma says:

    Darning works best for those of us who knit our own socks. More expensive, yes, but there’s nothing like the feel of lovely alpaca or cashmere blend socks.

  12. ORPat says:

    Ok I admit it. I have darned socks for years. But only the really good ones that cost $15-20 a pair.
    Real world advice, don’t use a light bulb, they are glass and they break. Go buy a wooden darning egg at a yarn or fabric shop. Use a hard rubber ball, or if you happen to have one of the old l’eggs hose containers they work great.

  13. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    Light bulb? Soon you won’t be able to buy one. Better save all the old ones so you have plenty of sock darning platforms.

  14. AllanG54 says:

    By the time my socks get holes in them they’re so threadbare that there’s nothing left to darn. I just bought 10 pairs at the Hanes outlet for $16 so I think I’ll just chuck the old ones.

    • Cacao says:

      Exactly. If you darn threadbare socks, they just develop holes somewhere else. (The old hole is no longer… the weakest link)

  15. captadam says:

    Cheap white socks that come in a six-pack usually develop holes because all the fabric has worn down to the point that it’s lost its integrity. I could understanding fixing holes in better socks, but white cotton ones that are already thin? Nah.

  16. DarkPsion says:

    My mom used to darn our socks, until the time she accidentally put a needle thru her thumb.

    After that, she agreed it was easier (and safer) to just buy new ones.

  17. witeowl says:

    Ah, this brings back memories of the darning egg that lived in our sewing case in my childhood home. Point of interest: My parents, who grew up during war and now live with echoes of war-time habits of saving things, money, and food at extreme levels (I’ve joked that they would eat dirt if I threatened to throw it away), never actually used that darning egg. What does that tell you?

  18. junebug says:

    Back when people darned socks, or fixed clothing for that matter, clothes were expensive! Now they’re so cheap to buy, it’s not even worth it to make your own clothes anymore.

  19. Lyn Torden says:

    Uh … I use CFLs and LEDs now. Those don’t work so well.

    • Lyn Torden says:

      Instead, I use a lemon or an orange inside the sock.

      • deathbecomesme says:

        an orange in the sock works just as good as a weapon if you want to beat someone with it and not leave any bruising/evidence. Blanket party here I come!

  20. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    I fix my heavy wool socks since they’re expensive.

    if one of my white sneaker socks gets a small hole, I will fix it rather than let the end of my toe poke through, especially if there’s a lot of life left in it. And I buy all the same brand/size/type of white socks so if one gets destroyed or it falls into the dryer’s black hole I can still make a pair.

  21. AD8BC says:

    How to darn a sock… the same way you would damn a sock!

    #1 Put sock on table in front of you
    #2 Exclaim to the sock “Darn you! Darn you! Darn you!”

  22. GoJints says:

    I have my grandmother’s ‘darning egg’. It’s a wooden tool to darn socks. Why buy new when you can fix old.

    You can also use a small hard rubber ball if you don’t feel like going through an antiques store to find a darning egg.

  23. gman863 says:

    I make a point of buying cheap socks, such as at 99 Cents Only. I can’t feel any difference versus $5-$7 socks and I feel zero guilt when they wear out and I use them as cleaning rags.

  24. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I use holey socks for dustrags. Then they go in the trash. No point in saving cheapo Hanes socks from Walfarts.

  25. lacubsfan2 says:

    Sure did :) Check out the SNL skit if you missed it.

  26. DrRonster says:

    Hole in sock= 1 Car wax aplicator and polisher. Got enough for this year. Rather use it for that than to try to sew them.

  27. Zachary Jacob Zblewski says:

    I would use a baseball. Or a Super ball. Or a potato.

    Anything that isn’t breakable.

  28. superml says:

    I’d much rather have the mystery of where the socks lost in the laundry go.

  29. BeFrugalNotCheap says:

    How the hell am I supposed to get my foot INTO the sock without a hole in it? You need the holes! Consumerist can be weird sometimes.

  30. u1itn0w2day says:

    Turn them into dust and polishing rags.

  31. NumberSix says:

    Considering socks are about a dollar a pair, it’s not really worth your time to sit down and try to fix them. But hey, its not a completely useless skill.

  32. springboks says:

    The title really ought to read, mend old socks and look like a homeless person. You wouldn’t want to be caught dead in someone’s house with darned socks, unless it was a fashion statement or if you live in Portland. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nY1jTVyBE0

  33. Ayla says:

    I did this for years but my husbands feet eat sock, I swear to goodness, I would be darning all day if I did this. I’ve even tried knitting him homemade, wool socks, same thing happens so we just invest in lots of Big Lots socks.

  34. backinpgh says:

    And later this week, how to pry apart your two-ply toilet paper. And don’t miss washing out Ziploc bags, tonight on the Pennypincher!