The Obtainer - 2/26/24, Monday

↦ Saving Your Sweaters

The Obtainer
The Obtainer

Monday, February 26th Edition

Sweater repair
Sweater repair
Cory Ohlendorf

Today, we’re here to save you a little money. Don’t get rid of a beloved sweater just because you find a hole. Mending it is a lot easier than you think. Let us show you how.

- Cory Ohlendorf, Editor in Chief ⋯ @coryohlendorf

How to Repair Your Sweaters

Maybe it was a moth. Maybe it got caught on something. Or perhaps you found yourself in a knife fight on the day you happened to be wearing your favorite sweater. In any case, now your knitwear is inflicted with a hole. Too often, we end up tossing or donating a perfectly good sweater simply because it's got a small hole. But there are fairly simple solutions to fixing this all-too-common problem.As we reach the tail end of winter, now is the time to assess your knitwear collection. You've still got a few weeks (maybe months) of wearing them remaining, but consider cleaning and repairing them before the season closes and you put them away until next fall.We're big believers in repairing (not just replacing) your clothing. After all, this is a garment that you love, right? It's an extension of your personal style and having a small, stitched repair (even if it's noticeable) adds some character—it gives the clothing an air of rugged nobility. Like a scar, it conveys a story of survival and strength. And if you do the repair yourself, you'll not only be taking the most economical and sustainable route, but you'll gain a deeper connection with your wardrobe and learn a new skill. Not a bad trade-off, huh?

Common Problems


Fix a snag or loose thread in a sweater by turning it inside out and using a simple safety pin or needle to grab the snagged yarn. Then pull the excess yarn back into the inside of the sweater. Knot the yarn inside the sweater (as close to the fabric as possible) and trim off any of the excess.Want to prevent snags in the future? Clothing experts warn that one of the easiest things you can do to prevent them is to do a better job of sorting clothes before you wash them. Keep your knitted garments away from jeans or other heavy clothes with zippers, which pull threads. Also make sure pet nails are trimmed and smooth.


For larger, more serious holes, you'll need to utilize a technique called “darning”. This is something of a lost art in the age of affordable fashion, but our grandparents' generation is likely all too familiar with this practice of mending small holes to repair an otherwise fine garment. How it works is that you're essentially stitching up the hole by reweaving in new knitted material. You can use a contrasting color to highlight your stitching or match the color of the original yarn for a more invisible repair.1)  Situate the hole snugly over a wooden darning mushroom to support the fabric, but don't stretch it too tightly. This helps you create a stabilized work surface.2)  Create a vertical running stitch base across the entire hole, extending just past the edges.3)  Repeat the process, now stitching horizontally, weaving your thread over and under the vertical thread lines. This is what recreates the knit's original weave. Finish by pushing the needle inside the garment, tie off the thread, and snip it.

Essential Tools:Magnetic darner and needle kit, $8.99 by The Quilted Bear and wool darning yarn, $5 by Laine Saint-PierreTip:The Clothes Doctor has an easy-to-follow video tutorial showing you the surprisingly simple technique.

Call in the Pros

If you're not the DIY type, don't trust yourself with a needle or simply don't have the time (or patience) to practice and perfect your darning technique, then there are professionals that you can entrust your knitwear with—it will simply cost you more time and money (the average repair will cost anywhere from $30 to $50). The upside is that the repairs are much more invisible and far more durable. The shops have a wide range of yarns to match your sweater and employ various knitting options to mend the hole. Alterknit and The French American Reweaving Co. in New York, Without a Trace in Chicago and the Knitwear Doctor in Costa Mesa, California, are all trusted shops.

Ask The Obtainer

I’ve been using a cheap freebie comb for way too long. What’s a good one that’s worth upgrading for?

- John

Kent pocket comb

I appreciate you wanting to upgrade, sir. This is one item that rarely gets taken seriously, and yet, we use it at least once a day, right? My vote goes to Kent, the British brushmakers, who makes a not-too-large comb with strong, rounded teeth, in a classically stylish tortoiseshell pattern. Each one is hand-made from premium acetate (like a pair of Persol glasses) and will hold up for years of abuse. Best of all, you don’t have to go to London to find them. I’ve bought mine from Amazon, which informs me that over the past decade I’ve purchased exactly two—both of which I still have today. But two other options would be a larger version of this, made in Switzerland for Baxter of California’s barbershop or Chicago Comb Co.’s carbon fiber comb, designed with a handy loop at one end.

Have a style question you'd like answered? Ask The Obtainer

Smart Buys
Smart Buys

The sales and discounts our team is currently watching.

J.Crew cut these selvedge jeans in a classic, straight fit from 100% Japanese cotton. They have a slight resin finish but will continue to fade as you wear them.

$189 / $89.40(w/code SHOPSALE)by J.Crew

This lightweight jacket is slightly oversized for easy layering and is cut from waxed cotton from Scotland’s famed Halley Stevensons mill.

$225 / $185by Orvis

Made by artisans in Leon, Mexico, using a deep tanned leather that will take on your personal patina over the years, these offer a rugged take on a classic chukka.

$195 /$156by Rhodes

The New Balance 580 is one of the most distinctive models in the brand’s history. This sleek update offers a slimmer silhouette of the ’90s style.

$130 / $78by New Balance

Inspired by a vintage pair of workman’s trousers, Todd Snyder’s take on some classic carpenter pants are made from a soft and ultra-comfortable moleskin fabric.

$198 / $119by Todd Snyder

A 32-ounce Nalgene bottle gets a throwback graphic detail thanks to REI Co-op. The wide-mouth design is made of 50% recycled material.

$15.95 / $10.93at REI Co-op

Worth a Read
Worth a Read

The three best stories from around the web.

‘There was no chance of finding them in the men’s section,’ he says, noting that most men’s jeans are ‘very normal’, with little in the way of a considered shape or finish.”


The Guardian

Go ahead, throw your sunnies in your fleece pocket—and thank an old sailor when you do.”


Gear Patrol

It’s always good to do an audit of your wardrobe at the start of a season … This helps with what you don’t need, as well as what you do.”


Mood Board
Green again…

Green again…😎👋!

September 15