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Tips & Tricks
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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!
By “topless” socks and stockings, we just mean socks with no cuffs. Sometimes the description “raw-topped” is also used (raw meaning unfinished). We currently carry four styles of this kind of sock. They’ve got to have garters to hold them up, since they have no elastic band or cuff at the top, but that’s kind of the point.
They’re also great way to deal with tights that are too short or worn at the tops (as in this old Sock Journal DIY), just chop off the part that doesn’t cover your legs! Making raw-topped stockings is probably the best entry-level DIY.
But what kinds of knit can you cut without creating a disaster? The worst thing is to see your creation unravelling before your eyes. You can always drop us a line to double check the snip-worthiness of a style, but we’ve got a couple tips for what to look for after the jump!
As many of you have learned through unfortunate accident, nylon stockings, especially 100% nylon styles, are very delicate. Careful care in wearing, washing and storage can help extend your stockings’ life.
If you’re particularly prone to snags, check your nails (fingers and toes!) for sharp spots and fix them with a file, then add a little lotion to any dry or rough areas of skin. You want to try and reduce the snaggable variables. It is a special kind of infuriating to realise you’ve made a run in your stocking just by putting it on! We used to carry awesome, super smooth gloves for putting on stockings, but they are no longer made so we can no longer offer them. But if you (like me) know you need all the help you can get in preventing snags, even simple satin gloves can help.
Yanking isn’t the nicest way to shove your legs in any sock and for nylon stockings that is especially true. Carefully gathering the stocking up onto your thumbs (the thin nature of nylons makes this pretty easy), gently slip your toes in and ease it up around your heel. From there on out it’s pretty simple, letting the nylon slip from your fingers as it encases your leg. Once your stockings are up, use a careful touch and the pads of your fingers to ease the seam into lining up.
A great tip for encouraging those back seams to line up is putting a dot of sock glue at the back of your heel, sort of anchoring it in place. Since sock glue is water-soluable, if you fear damage to your stockings while removing them, just lightly dampen the area you’ve glued before removing your nylons.
Since it can be hard to check how lined up you are (because twisting to look at the back of your leg twists your leg too, throwing everything off) sit yourself down and use a small mirror on the ground, or in your hand, to check the straightness of that seam.
It’s best to respect the stocking’s fibers and listen to how much they want to stretch. Sometimes a stocking wants to be an OTK, or just hang out in the middle of your thigh, not go all the way up to the top your leg. Pulling hard at the cuff and shortening garter belt suspenders too much will put undue stress on your stockings. Not, like, emotional stress—they are just bits of nylon—but when every fiber is pulled to its max from your toes up your leg, something’s gotta give and it’s going to be the integrity of your stockings.
What about washing and storing? And what if you do get a run? Some more tips and tricks after the jump! Read more »
They can be unsightly, those little balled-up bundles of fibers that build up on your socks. Where there’s wear, pills will happen; common causes are shoes rubbing against socks, where your thighs touch or really any spot that is subjected to abrasion.
Wool and acrylic are especially prone to pilling (though cotton, polyester and nylon like to do it too). Linen and silk are the safest from the perils of pilling. Wool has an advantage, as it is more likely to shed pill build-up. Synthetic fibers are tougher and more stubborn, keeping those pilled bits secure to the fabric. Washing pill-prone items inside out on a short, gentle cycle (or hand washing) helps prevent this kind of wear, but often it is inevitable.
However or whyever there are pills, they’re a problem that you can solve. One of the most common ways is with an electric sweater shaver. Electric sweater shavers are fun and kind of loud (which is also fun). They require batteries and are sort of like a teddy bear’s version of a beard trimmer. A lot of them are even made by the same companies who make electric face razors!
And one of those can bring some freshness back to a tired looking pair of socks or armwarmers, like this pair of Harajuku Arm Warmers. That area between the thumb and fingers gets a lot of wear and shows it.
But all it takes is turning on the sweater shaver and lightly running it over the arm warmer, either while wearing it or laying it flat. The key word here is lightly, just gently brush the shaver across the top. If you’re too rough you could put a hole in whatever you’re sprucing up, particularly if it is a delicate item.
And the pills are gone, turned into easily-disposed of fluff! The softer look of a much loved-and worn item doesn’t disappear, but the pills do. It even does a solid job removing all the pills on the heels of my poor old Extraordinary Thigh Highs, which have had a lot of hard wear.
Electric sweater shavers are definitely rad, but there have to be some non battery powered options out there, right? Tumblr Fairy Zaf prefers the Sweater Stone and I’ll walk you through that technique next. Why don’t you let us know your tips and tricks for removing pills? In looking up information on pilling I saw that some folks use the hook side of Velcro—have you tried it, does that work? I’ve definitely gone the sticky tape route myself.
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