Darn it!

Mending Precious Hosiery

If you’re a woman under seventy years old, chances are you have never darned a stocking. You probably never even owned a pair. But stockings were once considered compulsory attire and a well-dressed woman would not go out in public without them.

That changed during World War II, when the silk and nylon used to make stockings became scarce. Stockings that were torn, ripped or had holes, that may have been discarded before the war, were carefully repaired. A hosiery repair kit like this one would have been crucial for the job.

Ms Waldron must have cherished this kit because she made a cardboard cover and drew a dog on it holding a stocking in his mouth. Protected inside the cardboard cover, there is a commercial Della Darn Hosiery Mending Kit wrapped with cotton lisle threads. Lisle thread was treated to make it smooth so it was ideal for repairing underwear and hosiery.

Waldron could select one of five ‘Fashion Shades’ to repair her stockings. She would have threaded her needle with the perfect shade and darned the stocking by running a stitch back and forwards across the hole.

Stockings are no longer a compulsory item in women’s wardrobes. Most clothes are now mass produced and considered a consumable item. Fortunately, as we become more aware of waste, visible darning and mending of clothes is again becoming popular. Perhaps it’s time to pick up a new kit and learn to darn.