We offer FREE USPS shipping on all US orders!
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!
Of all the colours, why did khaki get saved until October? Well, because it is the scariest! Not like, “oohooOOH, I’m Khaki and I will haunt you!” but oof, it’s a complicated colour that likes to defy both colour-editing and easy classification. So, more of a monster type (though it may haunt a colour namer’s nightmares).
In short, khaki is somewhere between tan and green. Where that “somewhere” is varies highly by supplier, though it tends on the side of tan.
Disclaimer time! I’m not trying to define khaki, just understand it. It’s far too subjective and colloquial to really pin down. Khaki is a slippery beast! 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. And we’re going to go over some basics about the origin of this colour term (thanks to this helpful Wikipedia entry), so you can get an idea where khaki is coming from.
But before we get into all that, let’s see how our suppliers handle khaki.
With the widest range of interpretation, B.Ella takes khaki from dusty greenish to pinky tan all the way to a proper safari drab
Probably the most dedicated to the colour khaki, EG Smith also lands a bullseye for khaki ideals. There’s always a bit of dye and fiber batch variation between their three bootsock styles, but otherwise they nail it.
Another solid khaki though, like most of their colours, it’s used more often as a one part of a colourway, rather than the starring attraction.
Not many other brands dare to tread the path of khaki. And when they do it seems a little forced. To be fair, the Julia Over The Knee are technically called “Sage”, but we also add in their Additional Info that they run a bit khaki.
So, what is up with khaki anyway? Let’s corral this sneaky monster of a colour.
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!
As the leaves change into their autumnal blaze, it seems appropriate to talk about those not-quite-orange-not-quite-red colours we call “Rust”, “Spice” and “Paprika”. When we talked about orange and about red, we skipped over this kind of colour, because it’s totally its own beast.
Like with dark reds and navy, both of which are technically shades of another colour (red and blue, respectively), “rust” is a darker orange, or a yellower red, depending on the particular flavour of the hue. And, same as dark red and navy, we don’t have a colour search for it specifically.
But if you search “rust” and choose Orange and (or) Red from the Colour options on the sidebar, you can pin-point it easily. Though: not everything these hues is called “Rust”, so here are quick search links for you for the most common colour names:
And if you want to get the whole lot in one sweep, try this link!
Disclaimer time! I’m not trying to define rust, or “spice” or “paprika”. If you want some fancier names for shades of rust, Wikipedia gives you just some (neat, but not useful) facts and points you to articles on shades of Orange, Red and Brown for your poetry! 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. That said, let’s get down to it!
Dream Stockings & Dreamer Socks
I think we have a delightful range of toasty shades, with the O Rayon book-ending the basic orange tones with dips into red and gold.
Mostly, B.Ella uses rust as a colour pop, paired with brown. Though the Sophia Confetti Knee High come up in this search, I think they’re actually quite truly red and not that rusty.
Cronert rarely goes rusty, but the batch of Cotton Overknees we have right now have two shining examples of the shade.
Purveyor of paprika, EG Smith keeps their rusts red and ready, but toasty enough to stand on their own.
They don’t play in this colour much, but Foot Traffic’s two entries into rustiness are nice options. As they do regularly, the hue of the Opaque Trouser Socks is the same as the tights and the Signature Cotton Tights are the same hue as the leggings.
Nouvella is special because they have Spice. It’s a space dye, something I never usually include in these colour posts, since one of the defining aspects of space dye is the use of multiple colours! But, Nouvella’s “Spice” space dye is so unique and so utterly a rust I had to include them. The spice must flow, you know.
Oh Tabbisocks. They hide their lovely range of hues with words like “brick” and “red brown”, meaning a causal search for rusty tones won’t bring them up! But they’re there and glorious.
Another one you have to trick the search to show, Una has two flavours of spicy shades that fill any rusty holes in your soul.
Amazingly, there’s no “Assorted” batch for me to share; everybody (right now anyway) offers one or two types of rusty radness. So let’s go look at how this already in-between-y hue breaks down into futher nit-picky sub groups.
A lot of people say “nude” when they refer to beige and tan. A lot of our suppliers do too (Leg Avenue, in particular), but we use “Beige” as a colour name in place of the erroneous “nude.” Why? To be very frank, peachy beiges and tans are not a skin-matching “nude” for everyone. We’ll get into that a little later in this post, with some options for finding styles that might be “nude” for you.
Disclaimer time! I’m not trying to define beige and tan. If you want some poem-like lists of names for shades of either, Wikipedia has them for both Beige and Tan and is kind of an amazing resource for colour in general. 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. That said, let’s get down to it.
One last thing though: I’ve yet, in my seven-plus years slinging socks, found a clear delineation between how “beige” is used and how “tan” is used. Like, one isn’t more pink or anything. As with “teal & turquoise” we’ll have to accept that “beige & tan” are forever linked into one, indefinable mass.
Dream Stockings & Dreamer Socks
From a soft gold to cool and deep, our house brand styles run a neat and tight selection of hues.
Pinky, golden and neutral, B.Ella hits the main colour points with just a couple of styles.
With a handful of beiges, Foot Traffic treats beige and tan like basics, with a nice selection of options.Their nylon beige matches across both tights and trouser socks.
Because they focus a lot on classic stocking styles, Leg Avenue’s beiges and tans tend to be sheers and net, which can cause some interesting issues if you are looking for a shade that will match your skin instead of contrasting. However!! The Professional Fishnet Tights in Light Toast are darker than their standard “Nude” (what we call Beige), which is why we made sure to post a straight shot of the net itself as an extra image.
From left to right: Professional Fishnet Tights with Cotton Sole, Sheer Thigh Highs with Lace Stay-Up Top, Contrast Cuff Cuban Heel Thigh Highs, Sheer Lace Top Stockings with Backseam, Spandex Fishnet Pantyhose
As usual, Tabbisocks nails this hue down, with a nice range of warms and rosy tones that are particularly lovely in everything from Mori to Victoriana styles.
From left to right:Harajuku Leg Warmers, Ruffled Arm Warmer, Basic Five Toes, Crochet Lover Over the Knees, Harajuku Scrunchy Socks, Crochet Look Sleeves
Bottom row: Five Toes Pantyhose in Chocolate Brown, Beige
From pearly porcelain to tawny dust, brands that only offer one or two beiges or tans have a nice range among themselves.
All of these hues fall into some gorgeous groupings of colour, let’s take a look at that next!