16 July 2015

White 18th Century Stockings

Although I have a perfectly serviceable pair of blue stockings, I really wanted a white pair to match the rest of my undergarments. I hated sewing the first pair, and I was happy to find that doing it a second time wasn't as painful. After bleaching it , I had enough cotton knit left over to make two white pairs. I have the second pair cut out and sitting in my stash, but no real reason to make them up any time soon.

18th century stockings with shoes

In the later half of the 1700's stockings became a little less gaudy and colourful, and I wanted some simple white on white embroidery. The embroidery floss I used wasn't quite white, but a slightly blueish white I picked up in a clearance sale. I like the subtle colour it adds, especially since the clocks are minimally decorated, but it doesn't show up in photos.

I did plan on doing a little monogram or some other embroidery at the top of the clock, similar to my other pair. I tried to do a monogram and it just wasn't working - I couldn't find the balance between simplicity for ease of stitching and a good design. I did a monogram on one clock but unpicked it...and managed to tear a hole in the fabric while I was at it. I patched it up with some white thread, and I don't think it's too noticable.

The cotton knit was much thinner than I remembered. I doubt the bleaching changed it, but the thinness is much more noticeable in this white pair than in the blue pair. If I ever need to make another pair i'd definitely look out for a thicker knit, I have a feeling it would be easier to embroider too.

After wearing my blue stockings for a while I noticed that the tops sagged quite badly. This could be a fitting issue, since there was a long gap between making the pattern and making the stockings, or something else. My garters do a great job of keeping them up, but the rest of the stocking ends up folded down over them. So for this pair I cheated and added some elastic to the top. It does the trick and stops them sagging and flapping around over my knees.

You might have noticed that the toe area doesn't fit quite as well as the blue pair. Usually i'd try them on, see where my toes end up and cut diagonally across from my big toe to my little toe to form the toe area. For this pair I guessed and just cut straight across. Although modern socks and stockings have a straight toe area, the amount of stretching they do means the toe area fits regardless. 18th century stockings are much more tailored, and rely on a precise fit to the wearers leg with a little bit of give. Let my example be a lesson - always measure and cut your toes!

Although plainer then I intended, i'm very happy with these stockings. They fit better than my last attempt, they're pretty, and they match the rest of my clothes (and my shoes!) much better. They were one hundred percent hand sewn too! If you want to make your own pair you can check out my construction post which details the fabric I used, the pattern I made and how I pieced them together.