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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!
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!
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