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This has been a month of nylons, hasn’t it? There’s something really fantastic about them and how they visually smooth out your skin, making your legs look even more fabulous. Of course, that illusion works best if your stockings are a similar tone as your skin. People come in a lot of different shades, so it is rather frustrating that most companies that make the nylons we sell only offer lighter shades of beige. And some even call the colour “nude”! Which makes no sense and is why we use the word “beige” for those colours. We are constantly telling our suppliers that we want more shades and though we’re seeing a teeny bit of forward progress, we just don’t know when more than beige will be a regular option.
The Dance Theatre of Harlem dyes their dancers’ tights and shoes to match their skin, which creates that classic ballet visual of uninterrupted line. You can see some samples of their work in the picture for this LA Times article. To create the classic visual of nylon stockings that perfectly match and melt into your skin, we can do the same thing. I’ve gone over some basic dyeing techniques here before, so I know you know how to do it. But which colours? What dye?
For these examples and as a general suggestion, I recommend RIT dye. If you live near a craft store, they’ve got it, in all the colours. Supermarkets and Wal-Marts also often carry RIT dye and, more often than not, offer all the colours. It’s easy to use and not that expensive, plus their site is a great resource, with a Colour Formula Guide to reference once you feel comfortable enough to mix up some magic (and it is magic, there’s a warm brown there that is made of their Sunshine Orange and Navy, somehow, so cool!).
Like I said earlier, people come in a lot of different shades and, if you’re going to dye-to-match then you’ll want to get it just how you want it. I suggest picking up some of the pantyhose that come in an egg and experimenting with those, so mistakes can be made cheaply before you customise stockings you love. For the experiments below I used the Sheer Backseams with Lace Top, though, because hey, we’re fancy.
Those gorgeous shades are all straight-from-the-box, no mixing! I’ll give you the vitals and some tips after the jump.
This might be one of the easiest sock DIYs and I can’t believe that we haven’t shown you how to do this yet! You’ve probably encountered those little bean bag sort of packs that you can chill in the freezer or heat in the microwave. They’re fab because they drape so comfortably over whatever sore spot needs comfort. And they’re also a perfect sock craft, sewing optional! You really just need two things: socks and filler.
Sock-wise, all you need is a Crafty Bundle or a (clean!) old sock that lost its mate or got holey in the toes. We like styles that are little longer, especially if you want to make this a sewing-free project. If your sock is open on both ends, make a knot in one end, so you have a closed tube. If you want, you could also sew that end shut.
For filler, there are a lot of great options: uncooked rice, feed corn, buckwheat hulls, barley, oatmeal, beans! Rice and barley are the most common options. Keep in mind that their grainy smell increases when you heat up the pack, so if you prefer a less hot-cereal scent you might like to add dried herbs and flowers like lavender and rose petals or mint and rosemary. If you decide to add a scent, mix it in with the filler and let them hang out together in a closed container for a while, so the smell gets nicely infused and distributed.
Now, all you’ve got to do is fill the sock with the filler! You want to aim for half to three-quarters full, this leaves enough room for the filler to scootch around and drape comfortably. Sticking the sock in a large glass and cuffing it over the top makes the filling process easier. A funnel is useful too, but so is a heavy piece of paper folded in half to make a sort of slide. Whee!
The second and last (!) thing to do is close it up! Again, a knot works just fine, but you can sew it if you want. Cut off any excess sock.
To heat your pack up, microwave for a minute or two and keep an eye on it for safety’s sake. You might also want to stick a small glass of water in the microwave with the pack while you heat it, the moisture helps heat sink into your muscles and helps ensure nothing catches on fire.
All ready to relax! But, what do you do if you don’t have the leisure to sit still and let the pack do its work? Here’s where a long sock comes in handy. Slip your pack into a long sock and let it fall to about the middle. Then use that long fabric to tie the pack in place! This works particularly well for lower back stuff (tie it like a belt) and shoulders (tie like a sash).
Now you can relax on the go, all thanks to this quickie craft (and socks!).
It’s March and that means National Craft Month! We’ve given you lots of DIY options for rejuvenating socks that aren’t good for being socks any more, but what about nylon socks and stockings?
Nylon styles can be thin and anybody who regularly wears classic stockings has experienced a ruining snag. With socks you can darn holes or cut ‘em to make arm warmers, or use them as the base of fun crafts. There’s a lot more material involved in a sock than there is in a stocking. Sure, thicker and opaque styles you can turn into arm warmers (like at the end of this DIY post), but what about those classically styled, sheer “nylons”? Dreamer Zaf gave some good tips for dealing with holes recently on the Tumblr, but what about when there’s just no saving them?
Well, conveniently I collect household hint books, and even more conveniently, I’ve got one from the 1960s (reprinted in the 1970s), back when nylon stockings were a staple. Heloise’s Housekeeping Hints is pretty much my favourite household hint resource and between this old version and later versions (she’s even on the web, now!), there are lots of ways to get some last use out of snagged nylons. They’re not that craft-oriented, but they are crafty (as in sneaky and smart!). For all of these tips, use clean nylons and cut off any lace tops (especially if they have silicone grip strips inside).
Lotsa tips after the jump!
Though we do have a rather wide selection, sometimes we just don’t have exactly that stripe or pattern that you need. But a steady hand and a little patience can take you a long way. I’ve got two quickie guides on adding your own drawn details to socks and there’s a bonus DIY at the end too!
Drawing on nylon
Drawing on nylon is the easiest, so let’s start there. Say your costume needs some sort of specific pattern on the legs. A good example would be Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas. Her stitched-together legs are a huge part of costume accuracy (which maybe I’m a big nerd about). Here’s what you’ll need:
• A good reference picture (I like this one of assorted Sally parts) •
• A permanent marker—they make Sharpies in about every colour now, which is awesome! •
• white or off white tights, like the Opaque Tights •
Always test in an inconspicuous place, to make sure that what you’re using and what you’re using it on don’t hate each other. The Opaque Tights and Sharpies get along pretty well!
It is way easier to do this with the tights on, so suit up. Keep in mind there will be a little bleed through from the marker.
Now, keeping an eye on your reference image, start drawing! Try to go as smoothly as you can. Sometimes I found that the felt marker tip wanted to catch on the nylon.
Ooh, the detail really makes it. I wasn’t trying to get too-too accurate with the stitches, just going for the overall feel.
And, done! So easy! If you wanted to earn extra points, just add a blue-grey shade to ‘em with the skills you learned in DIY: Dyeing Nylon.
That’s tights, but what about socks? Join us after the jump for more tips and tricks! Read more »
I’ve shown you the basics of dyeing socks and how easy it is. All you need is a box of dye and some hot water. But what about styles that aren’t cotton blends? What about non RIT dye options? Well just you wait. Nothing dyes quite as wonderfully as nylon.
You can use RIT on nylon easy. Use our search to find a white nylon style, I’ve even queued up the search terms just for you! If you’re using RIT, it’s okay if it’s a fiber blend, since this dye is made to work on cotton and nylon blends. Just follow the directions on the package, or the DIY we shared with you earlier this year. So plain ol’ black and white Ribbed Pinstripe Leggings plus some RIT in Sunshine Orange can become these Halloween-tastic orange and black leggings! The dye won’t make any difference to the black stripes, so I’m free to choose what colours I want.
What’s wonderful about dyeing socks and tights is that when you can’t find the exact colour you want for something, you can make it!
Now, there is a fiber-specific way you can dye nylon, and there’s even an option at your grocery store! Join me after the jump for more nylon transformation!