Monday, January 25, 2016

Socks, Yep Socks, Wool Socks

For a while now I've wanted a pair of wool socks.   Tall wool socks that I could wear as stockings with my historical dresses, that would be even better. Unfortunately, I can be a bit of a cheapskate, and wasn't willing to pay for wool socks. Due to this recent cold snap my feet have been getting a little cold in my boots, and finally an idea popped into my head. I could sew socks out of an old wool sweater!

So I went to the thrift store, found a nice, soft, thin-ish, 100% wool sweater. I bought it, brought it home, and started cutting it up. (Yes, I forgot to get a picture of it before I started cutting, but I'm sure you can imagine it with both sleeves intact as it originally was.) 

Last summer I used the Dreamstress's  seamed stocking pattern to make a pair of Victorian-like stockings. Those had turned out great, so I decided to use the pattern again for my wool socks. I cut the socks from the sweater sleeves, intending to use the ribbing at the wrist to hold the socks up on my leg. Unfortunately, the sleeves were only so long, so the socks wound up a bit shorter than knee-length, like I wanted. 

I needed to make these socks a bit longer. So, I cut a couple of rectangles from the body of the sweater and sewed them into tubes.

Those tubes I folded over and sewed onto the top of the stockings, like cuffs.

Perfect! I then had wool socks, exactly the length I wanted and for quite a bit cheaper than they are in the stores.

My excitement however was short lived. Sadly, while extremely comfortable, the thin wool wasn't all that durable. Holes quickly started to form at the heels and toes. Nooooo! Not about to lose my new wool socks I decided to add patches from the left over material to the high stress areas, to extend the life of the socks.

The patches definitely add durability. No more holes! I'm hoping to get a couple winter's worth of wear out of these now. Unfortunately, due to the cabling in the knit, my socks don't look like historical stockings at all, oh well, I'll wear them plenty for every day winter stuff. My toes are now happy and toasty despite the snow!

Once my wool socks were done, I remembered a second pair of stockings I'd cut out last summer, but never got around to sewing together. So, I pulled them out, and sewed them up. Less than an hour later I had my second pair of historical stockings done. 

Rather than elastic at the top, as I did with my first pair of stockings, I made a cuff from a folded over pieces of fabric, just like I did with the wool socks. Very easy, holds the stockings up perfectly, and much more comfortable than the elastic in my first pair! Now why did I put off making these for so long?? Well since I put them off so long (7 months to be exact) I figure I can use them as my first entry for January's Historical Sew Monthly Challenge, Procrastination. 

What the item is: Stockings

The Challenge:  #1 Procrastination, I cut these out 7 months before finishing them

Materials: 98% cotton, 2% spandex blend ribbed knit

Pattern: The Dreamstress's seamed stocking pattern

Year: 19th century

Notions: thread

How historically accurate is it? Not great, the look is right though, so maybe 40 -50%

Hours to complete: Less than one! Why did I put these off so long?

First worn: Not yet, just to check fit and take pics

Total cost: I bought a yard of this fabric last summer for $5, this is the second pair of stockings from this fabric so I'll say $2.50

Since I was on a roll with this sock sewing thing I decided to turn what was left of the wool sweater into a pair of boot socks for my mom. 

Three pairs of socks in less than three hours, I was feeling pretty productive, and thinking, why would I buy socks when they're so easy to make? So I started cutting up my old (store-bought, holey) socks to turn them into something else. So now in my mind when I see sweaters I think socks, and when I see socks I think, well, I'll tell you about that later. Meanwhile, I might go make myself a couple more pairs of socks out of the sweaters I never wear.


  1. Those came out very cute! Next time you look for a sweater to turn into socks, take a tip from the sock knitters-make sure there is at least 10% of either nylon or silk with the wool. That's how hand knitted socks last for years. That said, us like to give your way a try :-D

  2. Hmm, thanks for the tip! I just bought a couple more all wool sweaters to turn into socks, so I figured i'd go ahead and patch the high stress areas after the socks are cut out before I sew tgem together, but next time I will look for wool blend sweaters instead!