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Last week I shared styles we carry that have that hand made touch. Now let’s look at some things you can make or personalise as gifts! We’ve got a big ol’ DIY section full of ideas, I’ll share some favourites from there and then point you other places on the crafty web that has more fabulous sock crafting how-tos!
Customising stuff for friends and family can be fun, either by cutting into some socks to make styles you can’t find off-the-shelf, in DIY for Fun & Fashion, or custom-dyeing styles to match the giftee’s wardrobe!
There are more fun things to try in the DIY category of the Sock Journal, but let’s look elsewhere for more inspiration. Our DIY Sock Style Pinterest Board is full of ideas, from a galaxy bleach tutorial at The Sun Was High to a sweet little teddy bear at The Meta Picture.
I think one of my favourite tutorials from around the web is this glorious draft stopper at Squawkfox.
image from Squawkfox
From catnip pillows from retired socks at Craftster, to DIY grippy socks at Cut-Out-And-Keep, there are tonnes of great DIY ideas for socks floating around the web. If you end up solving a last-minute gift emergency with crafty sock superhero skills, share the results with us!
One of the beautiful things about getting somebody a present via the internet is that you can ship it straight to them! Physical mail is fun to get, particularly when it is a present. But there are problems. How do you make sure they wait until the special occasion or holiday to open their gift? How do you leave them a note or hide the price? Well, just read along, we’ve got some tips for you!
It all starts once you checkout. When you get to the page where you enter your information, pay attention to three places:
Make sure your Email address and Daytime phone are your contact info, not the person you’re sending a gift to. These contacts are how you get order and shipping confirmation and how we get a hold of you if there is something wrong with your order. If you put the gift recipient’s info there, then they find out what you’ve got them pretty much as soon as you buy it.
The Delivery Address needs to be the gift recipient (unless you’re shipping it to yourself, because you’re adding it to other, non-sock things, or whatever). If you put your address there, or forget to change it if you have the site set to remember your address, then it’ll go to you, not the person you’re trying to surprise.
To ensure no peeking, use the Company name field. It’s a sneaky trick that we love. The way shipping labels work, whatever you put in the Company name field goes on the line above the delivery address (this is also great place in general to let the postal worker know to leave the package behind the screen door, or with the super). So, if you want your giftee to slow their roll until an official holiday, write that here. Keep it short and all caps for best effectiveness.
Now, on to the Shipping Options page, which you’ll need to pay the most attention to!
If you want to leave a note for the person you’re sending socks to, or you don’t want them to see what you spent, check the “Gift invoice: do not include prices on invoice” checkbox. This does some magic and hides the prices from the gift recipient and! It opens up a nice space for you to leave a note, if you want to.
But what about that first box? If you type stuff there, where does it show up? Well, that’s where you put order notes, the stuff you want us at Sock Dreams to see! If you’re saying hello, requesting stickers, or crafting some emoji masterwork, this is where it goes (if you’re asking about sizing info, it should be emailed to us, not put in your order notes).
Here’s a side-by-side example of where each field goes once it becomes a printed invoice:
So what you type in the “order notes” box goes at the bottom of the invoice and what goes in the gift notes box (which only appears if you check the gift invoice checkbox) shows up at the top of the invoice, so it’s the first thing you see (if you don’t type anything there, no little Gift Note box will show up).
This means that if you’re sending a gift directly to someone, you should probably be aware that your order notes will show up on the invoice! So if you’re sending a gift, the recipient won’t just see the nice note you’ve left,
They’ll also see anything you put in as an order note too!
So make sure, when you get to the page that has you check over your order before finalising it, that everything is right!
Our free USPS First Class shipping in the United States (and free USPS Priority for orders over $50! check our Shipping FAQ) makes sending sock-tacular gifts easy, just remember to click that Gift Invoice checkbox to add a little personalisation to your present!
Using diluted bleach on dark colours is like the bizarro-world version of dyeing light colours! You’re just taking away pigment instead of adding it. There are a lot of great bleach stencilling and painting tutorials out there and Google awaits you with open arms and a bouquet of options. But our lovely Rosalind, who you may know from our Facebook and Pinterest, had a genius idea: stamping!
Since it was her idea, I am letting her take the wheel with the words!
First off, general safety tips!
Follow precautions on bleach bottle and do this in a ventilated area! Craft safely!!
What you’ll need to start:
• Bleach •
• Vinegar •
• A plastic or glass container large enough to submerge tights in water •
• A small, shallow dish or lid (I used a yogurt lid) •
• Paper towels •
• Spray bottle •
• Tights (Foot Traffic’s Signature Cotton Tights are thick enough to not bleed through, even to the inside)
• Rubber stamp(s) – choose patterns that are bold, with no fine lines. Abstract designs tend to work a little better. •
• Newspaper •
• Gloves (optional) •
• A outfit that you can risk getting bleach on •
1. Keep it clean! – Cover your work area with newspapers or a dropcloth.
2. Mix neutralizer – in the large container, mix vinegar with water, about 1 part vinegar to 5 parts water. You don’t have to be super exact. This solution is to stop the bleach and make it safe to toss your stamped tights into a load of your regular laundry for the final washout. No need to run the machine for one item!
3. Make stamp pad – fold a paper towel down to the size of your dish or yogurt lid. You can cut or tear it down to size, but be sure that you do have a few layers in there. Pour a little bit of pure bleach onto the pad – enough to dampen the towel, but not to form a puddle around it. Basically you want it to be about as wet as a real stamp pad with ink would be.
4. Mix bleach spray – in the spray bottle, mix a little bit of bleach into some water. Since you want to be able to distinguish your stamps from the nebulous mist effect that the spray bottle creates, make this pretty well diluted, so that the bleach acts very slowly and can be neutralized before it gets as light as the stamps.
Lots more after the jump!
“Legging” is a pretty general category. When you look at our leggings section, you’ll find stirrup and capri leggings, along with true leggings and footless tights. Stirrup leggings cover your arch, but keep toes and heel free and capris end somewhere around the knee. Let’s pretend I meant for that to rhyme.
Now, sometimes we have folks talk about “leggings” but mean thigh highs, so it clearly can be a regional term. In the most general sense of how we use the word, leggings are like tights without the feet. They’ve got a waistband and end in the general area of your ankles. We and our suppliers also sometimes use the term “footless tights” to mean leggings—they’re practically interchangeable except for one thing: underpants visibility.
We’ve started to refine our terms the best we can, based on our experience and what words our customers (you beautiful folks!) use when looking for a specific style. Here’s what we’ve found. If you’re looking for leggings, more often than not you are looking for something with maximum underoo coverage. Leggings pair fabulously with tunic-length tops and dresses, things that don’t necessarily go with flashes of your undercarriage. Maybe they’re not perfectly opaque, but they’re at least tattoo-covering level of opacity. You can find all the straight-up leggings we carry with this search.
We’ve used a little bit of magic to sort together our favourite leggings that do the best at keeping things under wraps. Just search “opaque legging”, with the quotation marks around the phrase, and the most opaque of opaque leggings show up. And so do the Narita Sheer & Opaque Footless Tights, but we don’t know why, since they’re not opaque leggings at all. It is an unfortunate side effect of magic.
Make sure to check the descriptions and pictures, some styles listed there have two seams in the rear, which isn’t everyone’s favourite look (or feel). Of course, everyone is built a little differently, so opacity can vary. The more a style is stretched, the less opaque it can be. If you can, buy a size up for more opacity. The Thermo Fleece Lined Footless Tights are a good example of this. If you’re near the upper stretch limit for a size, they’re not very shy about what you’re wearing underneath.
We’ve found the Nouvella Cotton Legging and Cotton Capri are the most reliable for keeping you covered. One thing to watch, though: Charcoal and the Plum tend to run notably shorter in the leg than the other colors, but they’re super stretchy and soft. We also don’t think they’re as opaque as the other colours, so you might want to buy a size up for more opacity. Like a lot of true leggings, they’re a “cut & sew” style, with seams on the inside of the leg.
Okay, okay, so leggings cover your butt like a good friend backing you up that time you said you did a thing you didn’t. But what does that mean Footless Tights are?
Easy, everything else! Is it like tights but without feet? Then it is footless tights. It’s like identifying sharks. Bitey? There you go! Only, I guess, actually simpler than real taxonomy.
Clockwise from top: Side Stripe Footless Tights, Black Roses Printed Footless Tights, Foot Traffic Floral Footless Tights, Lycra Fishnet Footless Tights, Cherry Blossom Printed Footless Tights, Floral Flocked Footless Tights.
And one more time, here are some quick searches for you to bookmark or reference:
I cannot believe that three years ago Niq handed over the Sock Journal reins to me. How time flies! It’s why I love doing this little yearly round-ups to keep track of all those days going by. After the first year we had the start of our social media team that you now see wonderfully juggling all the new ways to interact online. By last year I started feeling comfortable enough to show you my nerdiness and start doing more sock care and info posts.
When I asked the other Dreamers what their favourite posts from the past year were, all of their faves matched mine! Which makes me feel pretty awesome!
The overall favourite was the addition of Tips and Tricks to the Reference category (which, BTW, is where all the informative posts, like DIY and “What is A . . .” live). I’ve tried to keep all these posts short, sweet and image-heavy—giving you all the little tips (and tricks) we’ve learned about socks over the years. Like blocking to increase stretch!
And I’ve been lucky enough to get to do some more involved DIY posts. Like dyeing stockings to match!
With last Christmas I started doing my favourite indulgence that luckily you all seem to dig (and they’re kind of favourites with the other Dreamers too!). Sock Stories! Where socks are the star and I am a big ol’ nerd playing dolls with them, essentially. The Nutcracker was the first sock story, but I think it is the latest instalment, where the socks star in a drive-in movie, that I am the most in love with.
But one of the most exciting things that has happened in the past year is our robust new search engine. You can search by all sorts of things, supplier, coverage, texture, fiber and (most importantly) colour! I ran down the basics last fall and we’re always refining everything to bring you the best, most relevant, results we can.
I hope that, over the past couple of years, the Sock Journal has become even more of a solid go-to for sock info and reference and fun. What have your favourite posts been this past year? What would you love to see more of?