I am so pleased with my first project. About two years ago, I gave Douglas some linen pants from Old Navy for summer wear, and just this month they developed a rather large hole near the front pocket (where he usually carries his wallet). I also later found a hole on the knee, too. They really do fill a hole (haha) in his wardrobe so I didn't want to just toss them or spend $30-35 on a brand new pair. I decided to try darning them, which I ended up doing by machine.
First I snipped away the fuzzy threads, then cut out a square of muslin which I pinned over the hole, from the inside of the pants. I then hand-basted the muslin in place so I wouldn't be bothered with pins when I was darning. Now, my machine (Bernina Activa 240) actually has a darning program, which I used to go over the hole several times until it was completely covered (I also went beyond the margins of the hole, as I could tell the threads were weak there). My darning program starts the needle at the far left of the foot, stitches straight as far as you want, and then once you press the 'reverse' button, it will move the needle to the right a small amount and backstitch. When it reaches the original starting point, it will change direction again, and so on, until the needle is as far to the right as it can go. Then you can simply lift the presser foot and repeat as needed, until the hole is completely covered! Once that was done, I flipped the pants inside out and trimmed away the excess muslin.
Now, of course I took close-up photos to show you the results, so you can see the mending, but I guarantee you wouldn't notice it at all when my husband is wearing the pants. (I tested this by asking a friend if she could tell where I had mended them!) The thread blends in so well, and I believe that is key -- use a very exact thread match. If your machine doesn't have a darning function, you can still give this a try -- consult this YouTube video which basically uses the same method as mine, only zig-zagging back and forth instead of using the darning program.
Do you have any clothing that could see new life, given the darning treatment?