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Welcome back! Last week we started our DIY gloves (which can be a handy replacement for body paint), and today we’ll finish them! If you’re just joining us, we recommend you read Part 1 to properly prep your gloves. Your tights should be positioned on your template, with a baste-stitch keeping them in place, before you move on to this tutorial.
Without further ado, lets get to it!
1. Machine Stitch
Get out your sewing machine, and sew along the baste stitch we did last week. Use thread that matches your tights, and sew at a small stitch (you’ll want to test different stitch lengths and tensions on some scrap tights, first).
It can be really tricky to get around the fingers without pulling on the tights and warping the fabric. We found that it worked best to start at the base of the fingers, and work to the tips. Sew a few stitches in between the fingers, then sew straight up the finger until you reach the tip. Back-stitch to seal it, cut the thread, and start at the next finger base. By having your stitches meet at the top of the fingers, you don’t have to try to do that full 180 degree curve, and it’ll be much easier to control your stitch.
2. Apply Fray Block
We found it’s easiest to apply the Fray Block before removing the gloves from the template. First, make sure to test your Fray Block on a section of the tights that won’t be visible, since you want to make sure it won’t discolor the fabric (if you used it in Part 1 when you cut the neck hole, you should know how it will behave on your tights).
Tie off any threads you can, snip them to manageable lengths, and apply Fray Block along the final seam. Once the Fray Block has dried completely, gently remove your template from your glove. If any of your stitches caught the cardboard, don’t panic; you should be able to gently ease the seams off of it, even if a little cardboard has to be sacrificed.
3. Remove baste stitch and adjust fit
Remove the contrasting baste stitch, using a seam-ripper. Go carefully and be gentle. Sometimes the baste stitch will be stuck in the finished seam, but if you’re careful, you should be able to get it all out. Just make sure you don’t cut your finished seam by accident!
Once the baste stitch is gone, take your fabric scissors, and trim carefully around the edge of your glove, leaving nearly a centimeter of seam allowance wherever possible. Be especially careful between the fingers. There should be a little space between each finger, but you likely won’t have room for more than a straight cut. The fray-block will help hold the fabric in place, but if holes develop in the seams, you can easily fix them with some hand sewing. If you make drastic changes (like significantly shortening the fingers), remember to re-apply Fray Block along the new seams.
Once you’ve made any obvious changes, turn it right-side out, and see how it fits your hand. If you need to adjust it any more, you can flip it inside out again. If the seams along your finger tips are a bit bumpy, don’t worry; they’ll be obscured when we add the nails.
Although we didn’t have a problem with this on our final product, if you find you’ve got excess fabric at the wrists, you can take it in just below the thumb. Put the glove on inside out, and have a friend pin back the excess fabric. Take it off and baste-stitch along the pin line, and then sew that sucker closed with your machine. Add Fray Block, and trim!
4. Apply nails
Put your gloves on right-side out, exactly how you’d wear them. Using a pen or chalk, put a dot at the center of your fingernails.
Now, to actually apply the nails, you’ll want to use a pen or smooth dowel that’s about the same diameter as your fingers. You can use your own hand, but be aware that you do not want to try and peel off a glove that’s been super-glued to your finger (we know this from personal experience). It’s much easier to use a prop.
Insert it in the finger, and put a bit of super glue on the nail. It doesn’t have to be covered; you just want enough to get it to stick to the fabric. Place it on the finger, lining it up with your mark as best as possible, but don’t worry too much; it’s more important that it sits straight and extends a bit over the edge of the glove, than that it exactly matches where your nail is. Your gloves should have enough give for you to wiggle them into place when you wear them.
Now, press the nail to the fabric, using the dowel to tap the fabric in place from the inside. Make sure not to keep the dowel still for too long, or the fabric will stick! You should only have to do this for a few seconds; super glue dries very quickly. Once it seems safely attached, you can remove the dowel, and move on to the next finger.
And that’s it! Try on your new gloves, and enjoy how eerie your arms look. Complete the illusion with some matching tights and body paint (we’ve heard good things about Ben Nye makeup).
Let us know if you end up using these for a costume—drop us a line, or share a picture on our Facebook page (and make sure to mention if you want us to share it with other people, or keep your pictures all to ourselves).
Today we bring you a tutorial for transforming tights into gloves, as a handy alternative to body paint. Often referred to as “armsocks” in the cosplay community, these gloves can be a real time-saver when you’re trying to depict supernatural skin tones. With your arms and legs easily matching, all you need to paint is your face, neck, and any of your chest or midriff not covered by your costume.
These gloves are not for the faint of heart, and we recommend you practice a few times on old pairs of tights, until you get the hang of things. We made a lot of sample pairs before taking to our final green pair, and it definitely smoothed the process along.
Since this tutorial ended up on the long side, we’ve broken it into two parts. This week, Part 1 will focus on prep; come back next week when we dig out our sewing machine for Part 2!
Fray Block or similar
Finger-sized pen or dowel
When picking your tights, you’re going to want something nylon, so that it won’t unravel when cut. We found that the Opaque Tights and the Color Tights were pretty much perfect (we used the Opaque Tights in lime for our gloves), but we practiced on some Leg Avenue Striped Tights, and they worked fine, too, so most opaque nylon tights should work. You mainly want something with a tube-style foot, otherwise you’re going to have to cut the whole foot off, and that’ll limit the length of your gloves.
1. Make hand template
In order to make gloves that fit your hands, you’ll want to start by making a template. Trace your hand onto a piece of paper, trying to keep your fingers relatively straight. You’re going to want to use this as a base, and trace the shape onto a piece of cardboard. Make sure to keep a little space between your fingers, even if that widens your template a little; you’re going to need enough room between each of your fingers so that you’ll be able to sew a few straight stitches, instead of the seams coming together at a point. This will be crucial later, since you’ll need room to snip the seams (otherwise you won’t be able to move your fingers).
2. Prep fake nails
You won’t need these until the very end, but it’s good to start them first, so you don’t get stalled later. If you need to file the nails down to a specific length, or paint them to match the tights (or to match another design), you want to do this before attaching them. Make sure to give them plenty of time to dry.
3. Make neck-hole
Before you get too far in this project, you want to make sure the tights will be the right length, and the only way to really do this is to try them on! But first, you’ll need a hole for your head. These gloves are meant to be worn over your head; almost like a sheer shrug. Starting at the crotch, use a sharp pair of scissors to cut a few inches up the center seam from the gusset. You won’t need to cut much; it should stretch pretty well. Be sure to apply Fray Block to the new raw edges before you try it on, so that you avoid causing any runs.
Slide the tights on your arms, and then lower them over your head. The cut gusset should be your new neckline, and the waist-band of the tights should sit below your chest. You can adjust the shape of the neckline based on your outfit, but it should naturally create a scoop-neck.
There should be plenty of give in the tights, and you want to be able to move well in these, so you shouldn’t feel constricted. If there’s lots of excess fabric at the ends, you can pin it off and start your gloves lower, but as long as there aren’t any unsightly wrinkles forming, you should be good to go.
4. Insert template
Turn your tights inside out, and cut off the toes. Insert your template gently, with the thumb to the inside of the leg. Be careful not to force the material too much. It should be taut, but you want it to sit smoothly across the template. Leave a little space between the top of the fingers and the raw edge, so you have some wiggle-room when you’re sewing. You’ll trim it down later, but you want some margin for error.
5. Baste-stitch around template
Using a contrasting thread, hand sew a wide baste stitch around the cardboard template. It may be tempting to skip this step, but we found that it not only made it much easier to follow the outline, it also kept the underside of the tights from being pulled or snagged by the sewing machine. Overall, this step will lead to a much cleaner finished product.
And that’s it for today! Move on to Part 2 to finish your gloves!
Since most of us Dreamers are sock fans, it’s probably not much of a surprise that we occasionally struggle with sock storage. It can be tempting to just throw all our socks into a pile and be done with it, but that can make socks hard to find, not to mention take up valuable floor space.
We’ve shared in the past some of the ways we Dreamers store our socks, and today we’re going to talk about organizing your sock drawer (or sock dresser, as the case may be), complete with a quick DIY.
If you’re going for a complete overhaul of your sock collection, it’s probably easiest to tackle them all at once, so you can start fresh. This will also give you a chance to go through and remove socks that need mending, socks that have outworn their usefulness (literally), and socks that could go on to a better home with a friend or a local thrift store. Seasonal socks can also be moved to longer-term storage, until their season rolls around again.
This is also a good chance to indulge in that tempting sock pile.
Once you’ve determined who will stay and who will go, it’s time to start folding. Our goal here is to 1) make them as compact as possible, 2) make it easy to see everything in your drawer, and 3) maintain the quality of your socks as long as possible. To this end, you want to make your socks into a nice folded square; one that is flat, and can be stood up next to its brethren in your drawer, making your morning grab for a sock that much quicker.
There are a few different techniques to folding socks. Perhaps the most common (and certainly the quickest) is to fold the top cuff of one sock over the other, to keep them connected. This may save time, but it doesn’t fulfill any of our folding goals: it takes up lots of space, will quickly lead to a chaotic drawer, and will stress the elastic band of the sock doing the binding. All in all, not an ideal technique.
These Holiday Striped Crews are having a stressful day.
Back in 2011 we wrote a Sock Journal on darning socks, which has turned out to be one of our most popular Sock Journals of all time. Since socks get so much traffic from being in your shoes all day, they tend to get holes more often than other items of clothing. You can fix these nicely with the darning tutorial we made.
Now darning is pretty great and looks neat and tidy, but sometimes it can be a bit fiddly. For those of us with little patience to spare, throwing the socks away gets more attractive by the minute. But if you’re patching a high-traffic area, like a toe or a heel, it doesn’t need to be pretty, it just needs to be sturdy.
If you were to look at wool fibers under a microscope, you’d see that each strand has little barbs running the length of it. When wool is exposed to heat and moisture, these little barbs cling to each other, thus creating felted wool. Needle felting is the process of repeatedly stabbing wool with a special needle, instead of applying water and heat. The resulting fabric is tough and perfect for patching a bare area on your best wool socks. If you’ve never needle felted in your life, don’t worry—it’s simpler than it seems!
What you’ll need:
• A 2 inch Styrofoam ball •
• A scrap of fabric (optional) •
• A felting needle (or two!) •
• Matching wool •
• A damaged wool sock •
First, wrap the scrap fabric around the Styrofoam ball to make a felting egg. You don’t have to use the scrap fabric, but it prevents you from having to pick little bits of Styrofoam out of your socks before you can wear them again. Our next move is to insert the egg into the sock right where it needs fixing. You’ll notice that in our darning tutorial, the sock is turned inside out. You can totally do that here, but I have elected to felt on the outside so the shoe rubs on the felt itself rather than the sock.
Lay a bit of wool over top, keeping in mind you can always add more if you find it’s not enough. Begin rapidly poking around the edges of the wool with your felting needle, being careful to keep your fingers away from where you are working. Don’t jam the needle all the way in, or you won’t be able to remove the egg easily; keep your needle stabs nice and shallow, just barely entering the egg. You’ll notice the wool starting to tighten up a bit and join to the sock. Once you’re confident the edges are nice and felted, start working towards the center in a spiral.
Here’s where your personal judgement comes into play. You’ll have to decide for yourself if it’s felted enough or not. Go ahead and pop your felting egg out of the sock and check it. Do the fibers pull apart if you stretch the heel? Do the edges come away from the sock? If yes, pop the egg back in and keep felting and checking. If it looks and feels nice and sturdy, you’re good to go! The final test, though, is to try on your sock and see how you like it. Go ahead, admire your hard work and ingenuity. You’ve earned it!
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!
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