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Tips & Tricks
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Did you know, May 17th is National Packrat day? I’m sure you do know “packrat” is a term for folks who hold on to maybe more stuff than they’ve space, or who are avid users of what I call “organised piles” (which is a thing I do, and those piles are library-catalogued, test me).
What does this have to do with socks? Well, I’m pretty sure some of you saw the word “packrat” and guiltily thought of your sock stash. That’s what it has to do with socks. So!
First off: no guilt, you love what you love. Second, let’s use this silly fake holiday to figure out how to make your stash more like a dragon’s hoard, rather than a cute rodent’s mega-nest. Organising, mending/crafting and sharing are ways to manage your socks. And you gotta organise to figure what the next step is, so let’s jump to it.
On the face of it, “organising” sounds kind of insurmountable. I mean, if I was organised, I’d be able to find those cute anklets I love for spring, right? The thing to remember is that you’re organising for your lifestyle, not a magazine spread. If two heaps of socks in separate laundry baskets is what works best for you, then go for it (that was my choice of organisation for years!).
A Sock Dispatch from last summer talks about some of the ways Dreamers organise their socks, which are varied as the Dreamers themselves!
“Those are still really organised!” Oh dude, don’t stress. We definitely tidied before taking pictures (and tight crops of sock storage means you don’t see any yet-to-be-sorted socks just outside of the frame)!
Let’s focus on how different Dreamers sort their socks. Everybody rocks socks in different ways, with their own individual emphasis on what they want socks for. So look at what influences your sock choices most? Here are four of the more common sock sorting themes, but there are lots more!
Do you want warmer socks separate from lightweight ones?
Do you have trouser socks for work and dreamy slipper socks for home?
Do you want to keep running/yoga/biking/aerial socks and leggings separate from “regular” styles?
Do you want to keep things sorted by colour and pattern first?
So, set aside a chunk of time (or a couple small chunks of time) and let’s make some glorious, organised heaps of socks. Your main sock stacks are going to be whatever sorting system works best for you (by weather, activity, fashion, etc). Then, make three more piles, and be honest: socks to mend, socks to give away, socks that are no longer socks.
Once you’ve got your stash sorted, put away everything but those last three stacks. Boxes, baskets, one of those intense custom closet systems from Overboard , whatever works for you. However you are putting them away, try to do so with good intentions. Keep delicate stockings in separate bags so they don’t get snagged, make a home for wayward onsies to stay until their friends return.
Sometimes, setting up simple expectations (I will pair everything before putting it away!) can help in building habits that better your day (if everything is paired, I can have matching socks even if I have to get ready in ten minutes!).
Look at that! You organised the HECK out of those socks. That’s the hardest part, you’re awesome!! I hope you re-discovered an old favourite. Now, we’ll deal with those three problem piles.
Mending & Crafting
Let’s look at the “socks to mend” pile. It doesn’t take too much crafty skill to do basic mending and fitting, especially when you know that most of your awkward stitches will be nicely hidden in a shoe! If you have socks you love but don’t wear because of holes or an imperfect fit, make yourself a little sock hospital of a mending basket (or bag, or box!) that you can dip into when you have a moment to restore a sock to health and regular rotation!
We’ve talked about mending a lot before on the Sock Journal, so I’ll just give you some links to resources for being a sock doctor!
• Got holes? Darn it! •
• Stockings too long? Simple sewing solution! •
• Too big a foot? This Tumblr user has a great fix! •
• A smidge too snug? Blocking may be your friend! •
• Foot just no good ? Maybe they’d be better as arm warmers! •
• Just not working as tights? Bet they’d be fabulous gartered stockings! •
I’m saying this as a person with a mending basket that never seems to empty, but mending is perfect for those times when your brain is just not up to crafts but you need something to do with your hands while you watch TV or listen to podcasts. Setting small goals (I will mend one thing a month!) or getting friends in on it (group mending nights!) helps a lot in getting those socks fixed and back on your feet.
But what if there is not still a sock enough to mend, but you still don’t want to throw ‘em away? Well, what can you make with them? We’ve got mad loads of crafting and DIY posts in a range of skill levels for you to check out in our DIY category!
And even if you don’t have a crafting or mending bone in your body, you may know somebody who does! Socks are great for doll clothes and their thickly knit material is easy to handle for small ones just learning to sew. Essentially, you can make your own Crafty Bundles (though the socks we use for Crafty Bundles have never been worn and are just defects and things like that).
If, after later inspection, some socks are just not fixable or useable in any way, set them into the “socks that are no longer socks” pile and we’ll get to them in a moment.
What? Give people your old socks?! Give me a second—I’m not talking about, like, your ratty, shoe-stained ones. I mean, you bought a pair and they don’t fit the way you like, or you just never wear them or that was the pair that taught you that you were allergic to wool.
Because of the sock saturation most Dreamers have, we end up with a lot of styles we just can’t give the life they deserve. So, just like with clothing swaps, we often bring in old styles during regular closet clean-outs and let other folks have at it. If you’re somebody who does clothing swaps on the regular, then try introducing socks into the mix of sweaters that sweet-talked their way into your closet.
If those socks still can’t get love, then take them to your local clothing donation center. Some smaller towns have giant mailbox-looking bins, some places have charity shops, check and see if they take socks!
No matter how you’re sharing and swapping socks, keep these this in mind: make sure the socks are only gently used. If something is just ratty and threadbare, it’s not a nice thing to give to someone else and your better bet is probably recycling.
Socks that are no longer socks
Fiber recycling is sort of hard to track down. It’s going to vary a lot on what your local options are and if charity and thrift shops around you also take fiber recycling donations. Luckily, Zkano takes socks for recycling through the mail!
There’s more info at this link, but here’s a little of what they say:
Old fibers can be reworked and reused. The most worn out cotton fibers can be composted. Here’s where we come in. . . It’s little steps that make a big difference as we move towards a sustainable lifestyle. Our family is proud that you’re taking a few of those steps in Zkano Socks.
Look at that! Organising, fixing, sharing and repurposing. It’s something possible with simple steps that can be broken down as small as your time needs. Don’t let your socks wear you out!
There are places out there that specialise in the complicated world of kid-sized socks, so we leave that main focus to them. But we still want to be able to offer you awesome folks awesome socks for your awesome little footed friends (and selves!). Since this time of year has folks shopping for shoe sizes they may not normally be looking for, here are some quick tips!
Though the category says “Baby & Kids”, right now we almost have more kid’s styles than baby-sized styles. What’s the difference? And what about toddlers?! Let’s talk sizing. First off, the age of a kid sometimes has little to do with their foot size. Some kids have big paws that they’ll grow into later, some have little feet, just like in adults.
The baby and kids’ sizes we have fall in four-ish very general categories that are influenced by how our suppliers, like Sock It To Me, size their children’s socks. There are some basic inch-length differences between the umbrella sizes (“Baby”, “Toddler”, “Big Kid”, “Little Kid”) that we’ve found hold pretty true across most children’s foot sizes. I’ll be referring to Zappos’ shoe size conversion chart as I know it’s one you (and I!) use as a general reference for shoe sizes, but be sure to check the Sizing Tips for the styles you’re looking at and drop us a line if you have any questions. Let’s dive in!
Baby socks have feet around 3 inches long, unstretched, which is perfect for most newborns and folks under eighteen months. Shoe-size-wise, they’re about an Infant size 2 and smaller. These wee socks are squee-ingly adorable in their minute proportions. If you’re getting socks for somebody’s first Christmas, these styles will probably be the best match for their feet. If you want to look at just socks this size, click here (or search “Infant” and limit the results to the Baby & Kids category). The styles below are some of our favourites:
Toddler socks have feet around 4 inches long, unstretched, they also fit bigger-footed babies, though if somebody isn’t toddling, extra fabric on the end isn’t too much of a problem. When it comes to shoes, they’re around an Infant size 2.5 to about a Toddler size 5. Once folks start walking, what socks fit them (and their hilariously tiny shoes) best starts to really vary! But most folks under three should do okay in these styles. Which styles? Click here to see toddler styles (or search “Toddler” and limit the results to the Baby & Kid’s category). Here are a couple of our favourites:
Now, you may have noticed that Polar Feet’s styles with kid sizes came up in the Toddler search. This is because the smaller size is called “Toddler” and they’re slipper socks, so the extra room in the toes (as modelled by Little Dreamer Izzy, below) isn’t that big a problem.
Bigger toddler feet fit them fabulously, as the smaller end of their fit scale is a Toddler size 6. The same goes for the Hooray Hoopla “V.S.” socks, they’re a great match for bigger toddler feet. But both the Polar Feet and Hooray Hoopla socks are more properly . . .
Little kid socks, which have feet around 5 inches long, unstretched, are generally designed for folks in the 5-8 years old range, they fit at least a Toddler shoe sizes 6 through 8, but their stretch can let them fit up to a Little Kid shoe size 1 to 3, depending on style or brand. The age and shoe range starts to get a bit murky around here, because growth spurts rule the day for this age range. Be sure to look at the Sizing Tips for the styles you’re interested in, to make sure they fit the little kid you’re shopping for.
Overall, little kid socks are too big for pretty much all toddlers (though again, it all depends on the kid) and too small for middle-schooled folks. Sock It To Me calls this size “Youth” and our Dreamer Socks for little feet use the same terminology. Click here to see all the styles in this size (or search “Little Kid” and limit the results to Baby & Kids category). Don’t be confused by the adult feet you see in some thumbnails, those styles just come in three sizes, one of which is for bigger feet! Some favourites:
Big kid socks, which have feet around 6 inches long, unstretched, are generally designed for folks in the 7-12 age range, but because of the stretchiness of socks, there’s a lot of give in this size. They fit at least a Toddler shoe size 8.5 to a little kid size 11, but with their stretch, some sizes fit up to a US women’s shoe size 6!! Holy cow, guys. You can see why we tend to be general in size naming and try to put foot length in the Sizing Tips for children’s socks!
Remember, each brand or style is going to be a bit different, so be sure to look at those Sizing Tips! Sock It To Me calls this size “Junior” and our Dreamer Socks for little feet use the same terminology. Check out all the big kid options by clicking here (or search “Big Kid” and limit your results to Baby & Kids). There are some fun styles in this size range and a lot of overlap with the Little Kid styles, most of which have two sizes:
Special bonus! By clicking here, or searching “Big Kid” and limiting the results by clicking “Small Feet” under Category, you can find all the kid sizes that fit up to a US women’s shoe size 5 or 6 (depending on style and brand). How do we know they fit up that big? Because grown-up Dreamer feet have tried ‘em on! In fact, both of these styles have smaller-sized adult feet modelling them:
We know having a smaller shoe size can make sock shopping frustrating, so drop us a line if you have any questions! There are some sneaky styles that fit far better than you’d think!
And as for those growing kid feet, don’t stress too hard about the sizes. When in doubt, round their size up, because before you know it, they’ll be fitting them.
It is now officially holiday shopping season. We know it can be stressful, finding just the right thing for somebody (or yourself). Whether you’re having trouble choosing a style, figuring out fit, ordering and shipping your socks or all of it is dumb, why are presents so hard—don’t worry, we’ve got some tips and tricks to simplify the process!
I’m going to try and get all the tips and tricks and hyperlinks together in one place here, so buckle in for a longer post, but bookmark it, because I think it’ll be a good source of help for this and future holiday seasons! At the verrrrry end of this post are a bunch of links, so if you’re short on time, skip down there!
Picking styles for yourself and others
Even for yourself, creating a wishlist is a fun and useful thing. If you try to leave items in your shopping cart as a way to hold onto a style, they don’t always stay in your cart! Remember, other people are shopping too and they might be quicker on the draw for that last pair. We recommend folks finish their orders in an hour to make sure everything is there.
So, if you can, encourage folks you’re shopping for to make a wishlist. We added wishlists in 2011, and they’re easy as pie to use. Just make sure you’re signed in and click that little “Add to wishlist” button!
Wait, “signed in”?! Yep, even though you can shop as a “guest” and not have an account, it can help a lot for tracking orders and making wishlists if you have one. If you have questions about your account, they’re probably answered in the Account FAQ, we do our best to keep all our info up to date and useful!
Okay, but what do you fill that tempting wishlist with? And how do you know that the styles you’re buying for someone will fit them? Does knowing their dress size help, or that they’re “slim”? Or, if you know they wear plus-size styles, then you can’t get them anything that says “one size”, right?
Nope! “One Size” and dress sizes don’t mean a thing when it comes to fitting socks and legwear!
Figuring out fit
First off, as Dreamer Zaf says in this fabulous Tumblr post, when we say “one size” “Never, ever, ever do we mean One Size Fits All. Generally, we mean it only comes in the one size.”
So, if you click the drop-down box for size (the middle one, after the one you use to choose colour) and you see “One Size” is the only choice, then we sadly don’t have any other size options for this style.
Sometimes (most particularly with Leg Avenue), there will be a “One Size” and a “Plus Size” in the drop-down. This is a combination of things, based partially on what the supplier calls a size (and how it is then entered into our system) and a result of a style gaining a larger size at a later date.
But we could call One Size “fishcakes” and use the word “marabou” to mean “Plus Size” and it doesn’t really matter. Just like in clothing, sizes are different across suppliers and styles, so we do our best to make sure the Sizing Tips on each product page gives you all the information you need to know if what this particular iteration of “Plus Size” or “Small” or “fishcakes” is right for you. Even if that means we end up writing what looks like a tl;dr of info. I think the greatest example of which is the Professional Fishnet Tights with Cotton Sole.
But, if you’re looking for a good fit, then that highlighted Sizing Tips box is your best buddy! For example, when searching our Plus Size category you will see styles with only a “One Size” option, but that doesn’t mean it won’t fit some plus size bodies. And “Small” in a lot of brands (like Cronert, or Dream Stockings) is about foot size, not leg size. With your measurements in hand, you’ll know if a large kid’s size is actually exactly your small foot size.
Dreamer Zaf talks more about the importance of measuring on our Tumblr, but here are the basics:
• Know the measurements of the person you’re shopping for •
• Don’t worry about what the size is called, look at what that size fits •
• If our Sizing Tips say something should fit but it doesn’t, let us know •
Okay, okay, so what measurements do you need to know? And how do you get those measurements for someone without ruining the surprise of a gift?!
One of the things we love to do is help folks find which socks will work best for them. That’s why we put as much information as we can into the Sizing Tips on each product page and try to give as much real-life testing as we can into the styles we carry. Sometimes you’ve got to scroll a little to see it, depending on your monitor size, but it’s there!
And if it isn’t, or you’ve had a different experience, let us know via email and we’ll make sure things are up to date! So many products we carry are wrapped up in packaging and sometimes things sneakily change in a way we don’t notice until you let us know.
So okay, the information is there, but you’re still unsure—or, you’ve got a particular fit issue or need and our Advanced Search isn’t helping? Then it’s time for our handy-dandy contact form! Select “Sizing Query” from the topic drop-down and make sure your email address is correct so we can get back to you.
Now for your question itself! Something we tell folks a lot is that “large”, “skinny”, “plus” or really most adjectives and dress sizes don’t mean much without context. Who knows what clothing sizes mean anymore (besides, they’re based on everything but the measurements we need)! If you write us saying you’ve got “tiny calves” and nothing stays up or you’ve got “curvy thighs” and stockings always roll, we can only give you the vaguest help. But we want to give you specific help! So here’s what you’ve gotta do for ultimate sock searching assistance: measure!
Even if you don’t sew, a tailors tape (or fabric measuring tape) is the best $2 tool to have. I use mine to measure weird spaces furniture needs to go as much as I do when sewing! But, if you don’t have one, don’t worry. The same ability to measure around stuff is just as easy to obtain with some yarn or string and a regular ol’ ruler.
You just wrap the yarn around what you’re measuring, then lay it out next to a ruler and BAM! Measurements.
In general, a good reference for where you need to measure for what coverage of sock is the image on the Measurements & Sizes page (shown below with common coverage highlighted for easy reference). We also like to know your shoe size, too, particularly if you have smaller or larger feet than the average sock you encounter.
But more information is always useful, so after the jump we’ve got some slightly more in-depth tips for measurements to send with your sizing question.
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!
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