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We Dreamers wear a lot of hats (and socks, of course), but one of our favorite jobs around here is helping customers find the perfect socks for cosplays and costumes. While finding a good color match for a cartoon character’s socks can be challenging, things get even harder when it comes to historical costuming. This probably has to do with the fact that these “costumes” are supposed to look and feel like real clothes that people actually wore, which means that things like fiber content and construction become a lot more important than they typically are for fictional characters. While our socks are generally a bit too modern to be truly historically accurate, we’ve got some helpful hints on styles that evoke the right qualities for historical reenactment!
O Basics in natural, worn under a full length skirt.
For much of European history, women wore full-length dresses, which meant that counter to contemporary trends, there was quite a bit more variety and decoration involved in men’s stockings than women’s. In fact, our recommendations for women’s stockings don’t change much between the Middle Ages and the 18th century; it’s how the stockings were worn that changed the most! During this time most women would have worn over-the-knee stockings, in wool, linen, or silk, depending on their class. Our O Woolies and O Basics (which are a cotton blend that serves as a decent stand-in for linen) make good choices for women who weren’t part of the upper classes at the time, and while we don’t have silk stockings for the aristocracy, the Zena Knee Socks from B. Ella are made from a fine, slinky viscose blend which mimics the look and feel of silk to good effect.
Of course elasticized fabrics weren’t invented until 1820, so earlier socks needed some help defying gravity! While all of the garters we sell are made from elastic for stretch, most early garters were just ribbons that tied under the cuff of the stockings, to hold them above the knees.
O Basics tied up with ribbon garters
Now, while women were busy wearing floor-length gowns, men wore relatively short tunics or doublets, with hose (similar to tights). This was the norm from the middle ages until the mid-16th century, when breeches became a more common addition, eventually leading to pants. During the medieval and renaissance eras, hose actually consisted of two separate legs, which tied or laced together at the waist, and were worn with a codpiece. Often the legs were two different colors, and the hose were typically made of wool.
Two half-pairs of Signature Cotton Tights, in rust and brown, all ready to be laced together.
As far as recreating this look goes, we suggest forgoing the authenticity of wool fibers, as our more finely-knitted cotton tights can be altered without unraveling. The Signature Cotton Tights or Solid Cotton Tights handle alterations well, and come in a nice variety colors, for fun with mismatched legs! We took two pairs of the Signature Cotton Tights and cut them up the seams, from gusset to waist, then trimmed the waistband off. After that you can either snip small eyelets along the top edge where the waistband was (but not too close!) for lacing together, or to a belt, or just cheat and use some Double Grip Clips to hold them together!
All laced up with a shoelace and ready for a codpiece (worn over leggings for modesty).
When breeches came into style, men traded in their hose for stockings. Early breeches came down to the knee to overlap the tops of the stockings, which were held up by buckled garters. The stockings themselves were not unlike the ones which women had been wearing for centuries at that point – they went over the knees and were typically made of wool, linen or silk. Most of the same options previously suggested for women will work here. The O Rayons are another good choice, and the mushroom and wheat colors are not only typical of historical stockings, they’re also made with rayon blended from flax, which is what linen is made of!
O Rayons in flax and mushroom
As the 17th century went on, men began wearing tall boots which were fitted in the leg, but loose on top. The stockings they wore with these boots had embroidered or lace-trimmed tops, which were made to fall over the top of the boot for added ornamentation. Lace was a popular decoration for men and women alike! This is one of the harder looks to recreate from our catalog, but we have a couple of ways of making it happen. The easiest thing is to choose one of our taller lace-topped styles (many of which are sheer thigh highs, but as long as they don’t have grips on the inside, those should work fine) and arrange them in the boot so that only the lace part is visible, cuffed down over the exterior of the boot. A more difficult, but also more authentic version of this would be to take a sock that is fitted in the leg but loose in the tops, like our M45s, and add your own lace trim or embroidery to the tops so they can flop over the boots to reveal the flourish.
The world of hosiery didn’t change an awful lot during the 18th century, but it did mark the first time in European fashion that feminine clothes became more elaborate than their masculine counterparts. This trend of women’s attire being more decorative than their masculine equivalents’ carried on into the regency era and beyond… and that is when the world of hosiery started to get really exciting!
Join us in part 2, where we will make our way through the advances of the 18th and 19th centuries! Huge strides in technology will be made, and hosiery options galore will become available as we make our journey towards the present!
The beginning of August marks the mid-point between the summer solstice and autumnal equinox, signifying the height of summer here in the Pacific Northwest. The warm season is in full-swing, so why not reap the benefits while you can? All those backyard barbeques, picnics in the park, and excursions to the seaside wouldn’t be complete without incorporating summer’s fresh bounty of produce. So many delightful fruits and veggies crop up this time of year that it’s hard to choose a favorite. One fruit, however, gets its very own month of recognition! August has been National Peach Month since 1982 and it’s easy to see why! Peaches are a summer staple and we have some peachy-keen items to help you celebrate this wonderful fruit all year.
One of the key characteristics of most peaches is their signature fuzzy exterior. This velvety coat doesn’t come on all peaches, but it is a dominant trait that provides a tactile aspect to enjoying this great fruit. Our selection of velvet items includes wrist warmers, gloves, and leggings. Though we don’t currently offer any resembling the color, they’re all pretty peachy!
On the left, we have a pair of Black & Gold Velvet Wrist Warmers from Polonova, a Portland-based company that specializes in screen-printing beautiful, ornate designs. There are a few velvet items from this company and they are gorgeous, every one. Next, for those of us that wish for a longer, more luxurious look, there are the Black Velvet Opera Length Gloves from Leg Avenue. Lastly, on the right we have the purrfect Leopard Velvet Leggings from K. Bell (which also come in a solid black version).
Sure, the peach fuzz trait is pretty easy to identify, but the color peach itself can be tricky; with over 700 different varieties of peaches in this world, the spectrum is pretty broad. A quick internet search will provide a fluid palette of tones varying from pastel orange to a pale, pinky-yellow. Additionally, as dreamer Brenna already discussed in both our Orange and Pastel Spotlights, light orange isn’t a very popular color among socks. While there is a wide range of the color peach, there aren’t a whole lot of socks in our collection that necessarily fit that description.
First, we have a pair of the Mango Solid Opaque Nylon Trouser Socks from Foot Traffic. We just love this particular shade of yellow-orange because it is so reminiscent of the sticky, sweet interior of a ripe Yellow Peach! Next up are the Sherbert O Basics and the Rust Orange Knees, both of which are from our Dream Stockings house-brand. While there’s no denying the Sherbert O Basics are a lovely punched-up peach color, the stripes of the Rust Orange Knees add quite the visual interest and are a nod to the signature blush on peach skin. Last, we have the Coney Space Dyed Over the Knee Stockings from E.G. Smith; a more artistic take on the fruit, the beauty of space-dyed items lies in each pair looking just a little different than the last, much like the beloved treat itself.
While all these items truly convey peachy qualities, none of them are quite on the softer, pastel side. In order to come up with a more delicate shade, we decided to try our hand at dyeing a pair ourselves. We’ve covered dyeing socks several times in our Sock Journal; from the basics onto various techniques, such as matching stockings to skin tone or coloring specific products like petticoats or nylon items. Personally, I have very little experience in dyeing clothes pastel colors, as the majority of my dyeing experiments have only incorporated dark colors. Thank goodness dreamer Brenna suggested I check out a brilliant resource on Rit Dye‘s website! Their Color Library had a plethora of tips and archived color combinations, which helped in creating the perfect peach formula! After we found Rit’s Peach Color Formula to be a little pink-er than we’d aimed for, we switched up the amounts of dye to create a different concoction. Both the Ivory Dreamy Bamboo Patterned Crews and the Natural & White A Chevrons made for great color studies, as their distinctive patterns showed up in a particularly lovely way!
No matter how you like them (fresh off the tree, baked in a cobbler, puréed in ice cream, or canned at home) we hope that you enjoy a peach or two this season, if you can! It has been pretty sweet sharing our rocking good times with all you wonderful dreamers out there and we hope the second half of your summer is just as nice, if not better, than the first!
It’s been warming up here in Portland, Oregon and finding the right socks for this weather has been a real chore for us! If you’ve also been perusing our Summer Collection for socks to wear while trying to beat the heat, you’ve probably noticed an unofficial theme of lightweight and openwork items. Together, the two make for a cute and comfy combination that is perfect for the warmer weather! We have a quick and simple way to add some visual interest to those footies and no-shows that only requires some basic sewing skills.
For this project you will need the following items:
• A pair of footies or no-shows; we chose the Vera No Shows. Not only are they a soft, recycled cotton blend made in the USA, they have a white contrast cuff around the sides and back that went perfectly with the trim we found.
• A form to stretch the sock on while sewing; we used the form that the footies came on as a sort of guide while sewing these. However, if you don’t have one you could always try the sock on and measure how long your trim needs to be.
• Your choice of trim; we went with a cotton eyelet lace
• A sewing needle
• Thread that matches your socks
• A bottle of anti-fraying glue (we used Fray Block)
Step One: Turn your sock inside out and place it on the form your footies were packaged on to determine how long your trim needs to be. You can also try the sock on and measure out the trim that way. Begin pinning the trim along the front of your footie.
Step Two: Using a basic running stitch, sew your trim to the sock. Be careful when doing this step because if you sew the trim to the footie without checking the stretch, it might be too tight! Make sure you check the tension.
Step Three: Cut off the trim where it meets the side edges of the sock and apply an anti-fraying glue to the freshly cut ends of the trim to make sure they stay tidy.
Once you’ve completed the last step, simply repeat on the other sock. After the glue dries, you are good to go!
If you have any suggestions or tips for adding sweet little adornments to your socks, we would love to hear them! Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Your cosplay is almost perfect. You’ve got your skirt and your corset. You’ve got your wig and your peace bonded weapon. The only thing you need to pull it all together is a pair of colorful thigh high boots. Buying expensive footwear is out of the question. You are saving your money for that autographed copy of Jill Trent, Science Sleuth #1. But the convention is next week and you don’t have time for another full blown sewing project. Don’t worry. We’ve got a very simple and inexpensive project that will get you set in no time. And the best thing is, there’s no sewing involved.
For this project you will need the following items:
- A pair of opaque nylon stockings in the color of your choice. In this tutorial we used the Solid Opaque Thigh Highs by Foot Traffic. We like them because they come in a wide variety of colors, they have a nice opacity to them and they sell for only $7. If you select a different sock, you’ll want to make sure you get something with a high nylon content, and something with a tube style foot.
- A pair of high heel shoes. Ideally you will want something with a wide toe. Something without buckles or embellishments. And most importantly, you’ll want something without a pattern and in a color that closely matches that of the thigh highs stockings.
- A package of self adhesive slip guards for traction.
- A bottle of anti-fraying glue. We tried several and found that Fray Block by June Taylor works the best. Make sure you pay close attention to the precautions on the back of the tube.
- A pair of scissors.
- One bottle of sock glue to keep the top of the boots from sliding down. We love It Stays! Roll-On Body Adhesive. The great thing about this adhesive is that it can be used to keep all sorts of costume pieces in place, such as shoulder straps, wigs, and even theatrical make-up.
Step One: Once you have selected the best shoes for the job, you’ll want to get the shoe inside the sock. Start by scrunching up the sock as if you were going to put it on your own foot. Then slide it over the toe of the shoe. Get the toe situated before carefully slipping the remainder of the stocking over the heel.
Step Two: If there is excess material around the toe of the shoe, you can tuck it under itself as shown. Once it is tucked, place a dab of the anti-fray glue in the fold and press until dry.
Step Three: With the toe looking nice it is time to move onto the heel. Because heels generally slope as they rise to meet the foot, you will want to make a very tiny cut about a half inch behind where the heel touches the sock. The cut should be just small enough to get the very point of the heel through.
Step Four: Place a ring of anti-fraying glue around the edge of the hole you just cut before you place the heel through it. This will help prevent excess fraying. Once the adhesive has dried slip the heel through the hole and work it upwards till it meets the foot of the shoe. If necessary, you can widen the hole, but make sure to add more anti-fray when you do. The sock does not need to go all the way up to the foot, but you can base this on the aesthetic that you are trying to achieve.
Step Five: When the heel is through and at the position you like, add more anti-fraying glue around the hole and any place that is showing signs of fraying. Let the glue dry.
Step Six: Place the slip guard on the base of the shoe. This will give you traction, as nylon stockings can be a bit slippery on the concrete floors that grace a lot of convention centers.
Step Seven: Roll the sock glue on your thigh where you would like the cuff to rest. Press the cuff to the glue. Your boots should stay securely in place.
Then, just repeat all steps for the second boot. And that’s it! You’re ready to go kick some butt. Figuratively of course. We at Sock Dreams do not condone literal violence. Just figurative butt kicking.
Let us know what you think, and if you have any tips or suggestions, we’d love to see you post them.
A few months ago we came across this awesome tutorial for DIY shoe wings on Cut Out & Keep, and pinned it to our DIY Pinterest board. Weeks later, some of us were still thinking about those wings, and all of the potential we saw in the concept of adding simple shapes to things that lace up….. things like stockings, perhaps. So inspired were we that we had to contact the creator of the original tutorial for permission to make our own, stocking-oriented version. She was really cool about sharing her creative property with us, and while we have simplified the process she uses, we encourage you to try out her more advanced method as well!
Bat Wings, completed.
Before we get started, you’ll want to pick out your patterns from our available PDFs. We’ve got one file for bat wings, star and moon, one for hearts, sharks and cameos, and one for a fairly awesome dragon tail. The cameo and tail patterns are a little bit trickier to cut out, so we recommend trying one of the easier shapes first to get used to the process.
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