Friday, 20 December 2013

Diagonally Striped Stockings

I made stockings!
The first time I saw diagonally striped stockings I wasn't very impressed with them, but I think that's probably because the illustration was relatively unimpressive. Also because this guy's left and right stocking stripes are going in opposite directions. How sloppy.

Young Elégant sitting in the Jardin du Luxembourg in a spotted suit with bavaroises, a fashionable cane, and a steel sword, 1786. (source)
But then I saw this picture.
Young Officer in a Zebra Coat, calling someone to give an account of his services. Galerie des Modes, 1789. (source)

I love this outfit so much that I must state it in bold letters with too many exclamation marks!!!!!
Everything is so fantastically coordinated. His stockings match his hat! The zig zags and the diagonal stripes work together perfectly. I'm making this outfit, or at least an approximation of it.

I already had decent fabrics for it in my stash.
Silvery grey dupioni, which I will paint zig zags on, for the coat.
Pink silk for the breeches, which will be perfect for the pink challenge.
Red and black striped knit for the stockings.
I also have buckram, black cotton, and more dupioni in the same shade of red as the stocking knit, which will be a hat.
It won't be strictly accurate, but this outfit will eventually be mine!

Now, back to the stockings. I bought this knit a few moths ago because the stripes looked perfect for 18th century stockings. The trouble was, it's a one way stretch knit, and the stretch goes in the wrong direction for vertically striped stockings. I got two pieces anyway, just because the stripes were so awesome.
I'm glad I did, because cutting it on the bias for these stockings gave it just enough stretch to make them wearable. Yay!
Both pieces of knit. There is a ruler at the top so you can see exactly how wide the stripes are.
I made the pattern by wrapping the knit fabric around my leg, pinning it, marking it with chalk, and transferring the marks to paper. I traced my foot for the bottom piece. I smoothed out the lines and mocked it up twice to make sure it was fit. I tried to photograph the patterning, but all the pictures were blurry.
I mocked it up in the actual fabric, but since there was only enough of each piece for three stockings, it worked out fine.
The finished pattern.
Since these are seamed in both the front and the back, there was no need for clocks.
I sewed them up with Mama's serger. Holy crap, serger wasn't in the spell-check dictionary. Unbelievable.
I got all of the stripes matched up pretty well.
The finished stocking feet, inside out. The top edges are serged as well.
Because I don't have any breeches yet, I used fabric scraps to hold the stockings up.
The tops keep slipping down.
Are they too tall?

The seams were rather lumpy underfoot and took some getting used to.

The perspective in this picture is really weird. My feet are much bigger than that.
Here are the red ones, with shoes.
Hmm. My shoes are pretty scuffed up. Time to polish them again.

The stripes are closer together, and the red isn't as burgundy,
but these are pretty close to the stockings worn by the young officer
Since I am quite excited about these, I think they are perfect for challenge #26. Matching stripes up perfectly without pinning or basting is certainly celebration worthy. They were also very quick and easy, which is great too.

The Challenge: #26: Celebrate
Fabric: Synthetic knit, one metre of black and white stripes and one of black and red stripes.
Pattern: Made by me.
Year: 1780s
Notions: serger thread
How historically accurate is it? The look is somewhat accurate, at least from a distance. The materials and construction are not. I am not sure about the pattern.
Hours to complete: 4:54 in total, including patterning.
First worn: Monday, Dec 16th, 2013
Total cost: I forget how much I paid for the fabric. I think it was either six-something or twelve-something.


  1. You sew very beautifully. Have you had any sewing lessons or is your good sewing as a result of lots of practice? best wishes Natalie

    1. Thank you! Yes, I have taken lessons. In grade 11 I took a fashion technology class, which was one of the electives at school. We had a good teacher who taught us the basics very thoroughly. All my sewing attempts before this class were disasters.
      I am currently in my first year of fashion at college. I also spend a lot of my spare time researching and sewing. I have been sewing since 2011, so I haven't actually had much practice, but I am extremely fussy about details.

  2. They turned out great! I love them, and I'm so glad you enjoy the men's fashion plates as well as the women's.

    1. Thank you! I'm so glad you post all the fashion plates!
      I love the mens fashion plates because the stuff they wear is gorgeous, but still practical enough for me to wear every day. The women look fabulous too, but I couldn't bear to dress like that. Frock coats are awesome! Waistcoats are awesome! Some day I will have a closet full of them.

  3. These are pretty fun and silly! :)