What Is A Darning Plate On A Sewing Machine?

Do you often discard your good clothes just because they have small holes? Darning plates are a good way to use your sewing machines to repair such odd jobs and even to do some creative work!

If you have had a tough time fixing tears and holes on your clothes using a sewing machine or ended up having to throw such clothes away, then you are not alone. The trick in getting the job done is to have the right tools. For such small fixes, the darning plate comes to your rescue. Sewing tears or fixing holes on any fabric using a sewing machine is a lot easier with the use of a darning plate.

Let’s see how this sewing accessory can be used to not only repair your worn-out fabric but also used for a host of other sewing projects.

What Is A Darning Plate On A Sewing Machine?

Darning Plate

A darning plate is nothing but a flat metal accessory, which is available in various models and styles. The plate goes over the feed dogs on your sewing machine. For those who are wondering what feed dogs are, these are the thin metal bars that have diagonal teeth, which move back and forth on the plate. The main job is to pull the fabric intact through the machine while stitching.

The darning plate covers these feed dogs and prevents any bunching or tugging while sewing. The darning plate, thus, ensures smooth and clean repairs. The plate also raises the level where the cloth sits. As such, the plates are also suitable for sewing buttons. You will even find some people using darning plates to create beautiful patterns and designs on their clothes.

There are different ways a darning plate can be used. You can use it with the sewing machine and do the necessary repairs and small patterns. However, in combination with a darning foot, your darning plate becomes even more powerful.

First, you will need to remove the presser foot and then attach the darning foot. You can then adjust the height according to the settings. Some machines have the settings to make the feed dogs go down automatically. However, it is best to use a darning plate to cover the feed dogs. It prevents the cloth from getting bunched and prevent it from leading to more tears. Thus, with a darning foot in combination, you can do so much more than just simple darning.

How To Install A Darning Plate?

Darning Plate

It is effortless to install a darning plate on the sewing machine. All you need to do is check the model and procure the plate, preferably from the same brand, to avoid disappointments. While some sewing machines already have this accessory in the package, you will need to buy one for sure others. Once you have found the right darning plate, then simply follow the steps below to install the plate.

Step 1: Make sure you turn off the feed dogs and remove the regular sewing plate that is on your sewing machine by unscrewing it with a small screwdriver.

Step 2: Make sure that you are holding the darning plate the right way up. In most cases, you will notice a mark on the plate to point you in the right direction. Ensure to check for this while trying to identify the side UP.

Step 3: You should also check the instructions manual to see which way it fits. The back of a darning plate usually has 3 or 4 raised pins.

Step 4: Check for the slots present on the needle plate.

Step 5: Align the plate in position and insert the pins into the slots correctly. Place the darning plate in such a way that the needle can get through the hole in the middle of the plate and fasten the screws.

Step 6: Make sure the plate sits firmly; otherwise, it may come loose while darning and spoil the clothing.

Step 7: Test it with a piece of cloth to see if it works properly.

What Is A Darning Plate Used For?

Darning Plate

As you have been noticing, a darning plate is not just meant to darn and repair, although these form the primary roles. You can do much more with the plate once you get the hang of the darning technique. In fact, along with the darning foot, the darning plate may become your favorite go-to accessory with which you can show off the designer in you. However, the main deciding factor will be the model of the sewing machine and your skill level. As you get familiar with the darning plate usage, you can try many exciting things and create beautiful patterns as well. Here are a few things that you can work with a darning plate and progress as you sew.

  • Darning and repairing small tears.
  • Making small creative patches to create something unique.
  • Sewing buttons on clothes.
  • Freehand embroidery on any fabric.
  • Monogramming by creating distinct symbols or logos by overlapping two or more letters or designs to create a motif-like design.
  • Appliqué work to create a pattern on your clothes from different fabrics consisting of intricate threadwork by cutting them and then sewing them together.
  • Quilting to make thicker fabrics.

Different Models And Styles Of Darning Plates

Darning Plate

There are many different models available, depending on the brands and sewing machines available in the market. The designs may vary, but the primary purpose is to hide the feed dogs. Some of the most popular brands include Singer, Janome, Brother, Cutex, and much more.

Most of the darning plates are made of metal, molded plastic, or clear see-through material, all of which are durable.

What To Consider When It Comes To Buying A Darning Plate?

Darning Plate

The Price

Depending on the material and the brand that you wish to buy, the prices will also vary. In general, you can find good quality darning plates anywhere between the range of 8 to 15 dollars. The costlier ones generally come with the darning foot attachment, which is a plus if you are planning to enhance your skill level and become a professional designer.


It is essential to locate a good seller. Hence, you need to find out where you can get a good quality darning plate. For this, the best thing to do is to find a darning plate from the same brand as your sewing machine. This will be the most suitable and perfect fit. However, you can find generic darning plates online, which might fit almost well on most sewing machines. You might even find some sellers selling their old sewing machines or their parts at a good deal. This will allow you to test it before actually buying one.

Other Factors

  • Type of Sewing Machine – Not all darning plates will fit into a particular sewing machine. Hence, map the machine with its accessory correctly.
  • Brand of Sewing Machine – Again, models of the sewing machine will vary in size and design based on the manufacturer, and so will the darning plate. Therefore, it is best to buy a plate from the same manufacturer to avoid problems with a misfit.
  • Skill Level – Know your skill level and go in for additional attachments like a darning foot, if you are going all-pro with your sewing job.
  • Usage-Based on the usage, pick the right make of plate. For instance, choosing a metal plate for heavy usage darning is a wise choice.
  • Price – All you need to know is never compromise on the quality while scanning through different price tags.
  • Type of Work – Understand the need for a darning plate in the first place. For instance, will you be doing just necessary repairs, or embroidery, or a combination of both, or much more advanced sewing work? Based on this, you can get one that best fits your needs.
  • Ease of Fixing and Removing – The most essential aspect to consider while buying any tool is to understand the process of installation. The easier to fix the plate when needed and remove it when not in use, better the buy it will be.

Darning plates can be a novel idea to those who are not seasoned, a seamstress. So, what are you waiting for? Get a darning plate now and fix all wears and tears in a jiffy without having to throw away what once could be a thing of beauty.

Do share your sewing success stories with us, and should you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to direct them to us in the comments section.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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