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Pastels are pretty straightforward. The fancy words for them are “high value and low to intermediate saturation”, which just means “bright, but not, like, vivid.” They’re all your basic colours, but tinted with a heavy dose of white.
What’s interesting about pastel tints are that some things, like beige, are technically pastels of something else (brown, in this case), but we don’t always consider them that. Pastels can be terribly contextual, but we know ‘em when we see ‘em. Some of the colours we’re going to look at have been touched on in other colour posts, but they all qualify (for us, anyway) as a pastel.
Disclaimer time! I’m not trying to define pastels. If you want to go down the learning rabbit-hole, Wikipedia is a good source. The Color Sorting Wiki actually barely touches on pastels, saying only “Think pastel when you think spring. Although not all spring colors are pastels and not all pastels are spring colors, the frequency of spring colors matching pastel colors is quite large.”
I’ve done my best to accurately represent these hues in relation to each other, so you can gather a good idea of what matches and what doesn’t. Since it’s sorta a subjective colour, to some degree, we’re just going to look at the pastel-iest of what we’ve got classed as “Pastel” in our colour search. That said, let’s get down to it!
Did you know, back in The Day, the O Basics were split up, with “O Pastels” on their own product page? As yarns changed over the years, we lost some of our favourite pastels for a while and, along with site changes, it just made sense to consolidate them.
And, of course, the O Lovelies are the prima donnas of the pastel, soft little shades that are whispers of colour. I tried my darndest to show that Lichen O Rayons are a soft colour, but they look so dark next to the other pastel Dream Stocking yarns!
Always more of a “winter”, in colours as well as fibers, B.Ella doesn’t have that many true pastels. But what they do have are classics. The cotton Bastia best exemplifies pastels for this brand. Though the Kimi, Erin and Sophia all have colours that we’ve classed as pastel, when you put them next to these Pima cotton pretties, they glower with tone (which is when you mix a colour with grey) rather than shine with tint.
Their soft heather styles give EG Smith an advantage in the pastel game, though really only their heather pink qualifies. Other than that, EG only represents pastel via the classics.
Though denim heathers and soft browns and beiges could be considered pastels (and we have Foot Traffic’s versions classed as such) for pastel purists only two colours really fit—their singular Mint and their thigh high in Pink.
As usual, Tabbisocks brings colour to the table, with a perfect pastel offering in several tints.
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.
This may have been the second warmest winter on record for Oregon, but it’s still in that late winter/early spring season that means ultra-cold mornings. And I know a lot of you elsewhere have been buried under snow so aggressive, you’d think you owed the weather money. When it’s cold, gloves are great, but sometimes they’re too much, especially if you’re just trying to take the edge off of chill while you’re inside.
So let’s look at arm warmers and the different finger styles and coverage ranges that all fall under the “arm warmer” umbrella! They fall into these basic styles: sleeve, mitt and fingerless. And there’s plain ol’ full fingered gloves, of course, but they’re a horse of a different, more straightforward, colour.
Let’s start with the simplest and most straightforward style. A sleeve is an arm warmer with no hole for the thumb. Some can play the legwarmer game too, though they tend to be a bit more snug than straight up leg warmers. And a couple styles you may think of as primarily leg warmers are wonderful sleeves.
Sleeves are often longer in style, most wanting to reach at least the elbows. That’s not a defining factor, however. Mostly, sleeves are perfect to pair with shorter shirt sleeves or for when you want a little more arm warmth (armth?) without having to add a whole ‘nother shirt to the mix.
They don’t do much for keeping hands warm though, so if you want to keep your top paws cozy, you might want . . .
Mitts care about your thumb and give it a special place to live. For some mitts, it’s just a hole in the side, but that’s enough to ensure that your knuckles stay covered consistently.
Some mitts are madly minimal, only a few stitches at the hand end keeping them from being sleeves. Wider hands aren’t often fans of this type of mitt.
The most indulgent mitt is the kind that have a separate thumb space that often goes as high as the thumb knuckle. Sometimes it’s just through smart use of a seam allowance (like on the Una), but sometimes it’s like a house knit or sewn just for those useful un-fingers.
And when your fingers get jealous of your thumb’s cozy house, there’s always . . .
As straightforward as sleeves, fingerless gloves are like gloves minus the fingertips. They’re the go-to for keeping hands cozy and a lot of us layer them under our mitts for maximum warmth that leaves us more dexterous than straight up gloves. We don’t have a lot fingerless glove options right now, but the styles we do have are solid and reliable basics!
We’ve found that it doesn’t matter that much if you have smaller or medium-larger hands, it doesn’t really change how high the finger bits go up on you. We did some extensive and goofy testing and hand comparisons and found that though the Basic Fingerless Gloves go up the highest, but still don’t cover the first joint on even teeny hands. Here’s the basic rundown:
The Basic Fingerless Gloves (below, left) are not only the base for our Tie Dyed Fingerless Gloves, but are popular with fire dancers for their great coverage and 90% cotton blend. For similar length in acrylic, the Acrylic Fingerless Gloves (also available in a shortie) go nicely up the arm, but are a little shorter in the finger coverage department:
At about the same finger coverage level, the unique Microfiber Chenille Fingerless Gloves (below, right) don’t go as far up most arms as the other two basic styles. They are wildly soft and fluffy though, which is pretty important in the scheme of cuddly coziness.
From straight-up sleeves to fingerless gloves, there are lots of ways to keep the warms on your arms as we make the cold and confusing transition to warmer months!
Though some feet don’t seem to mind the seam across the toes of their socks, others do. Sensitive toes and certain kinds of toe seams can be pretty uncomfortable. Our Woven Toe Seam section is there to help you find styles that will cause less discomfort!
Before we go into what styles have woven toes seams, let’s look at some regular, machine-stitched toe seams. Socks are knit in a tube by a machine and in large production they’re finished off by another machine that tightly sews the toe closed. It sort of looks like a serged edge, like most seams you see in store bought clothing.
For a lot of folks, this kind of seam isn’t noticeable. On styles with a formed heel, the seam falls across the top of your toes where there is often room in your shoe for toe wiggling. That gives you some ease for things like seams.
In tube style socks, that seam runs across the end of the sock and falls across the tip of your toes, or at the edge of your toenails. Even if you’re someone regular seams don’t bother, the kind on tube socks can be an irritation, depending on where it lands (smaller and narrower feet have more problems with tube socks sometimes, due to excess fabric) and what shoes they’re paired with.
Above, you can see the seam at the end of the toes on the Signature Cotton Thigh Highs on the left, compared to the kind of seam a formed heel style has in the Althea Cashmere Crew on the right. Some Dreamers with sensitive toes choose to turn styles like the Semi-Opaque Color Tights inside-out, so they keep the look but don’t have to deal with the seam. Not all styles are reversible (the nature of patterns and knit!) but there are styles in openwork, fishnet and lace that can work just as well outsides in.
Sensitive toes can also avoid the tyranny of a machine-stitched toe seam by choosing squishier styles. The nature of bouclé, for example (as we’ve discussed previously) adds a lot of loft that cushions your toes from a seam. And terry-lined styles work in the same way. You can see how comparatively minimal the toe seam on the Top Striped OTK Tubes is, once you pack terry loops around it!
In the same vein, thicker styles like the Erin Wool & Silk Socks (or the larger footed Maniche) can cushion around a seam, making for a more comfy fit. If you’re ever curious about how thick a seam is, drop us a line before ordering, our toes run the range of sensitivity, so we’re familiar with all sorts of comfort levels!
But for the ultimate avoidance of toe seams, it’s the woven (or “hand-linked”, or “flat”) toe seam. There’s barely a bump where the edges meet, perfect for those particular feet. Some brands, like Stance (on the left, below) or Sockwell (on the right, below) never use anything other than a woven toe.
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.