Stockings

There are several types of stockings known to be from the 14th century. This stocking pattern is based on parts found and published in the Museum of London: Textiles and Clothing. This stocking pattern is also very modern in its leg construction. While the feet in stockings in period were fairly fitted, it does not appear that the legs were always so. There is as much evidence for fitted legs and non-fitted legs. I have found so far to date are not shaped to the leg. One shown in the book Woven Into The Earth, does have a fitted ankle and lower calf. Whew! Sometimes the fabric is cut on the bias and sometimes on the straight of grain.

This demo creates a fitted leg.


Please click on small thumbnail images to download a larger image in a new window/tab

Step 1.

  • Measure your leg from the floor to above your knee where you want the top of the stockings to rest. A1 –> A2
  • Measure your leg from the floor to your ankle A1 –> B
  • Measure your leg from the floor to the widest section of your calf A1 –> C
  • Measure your leg from the floor to small part below your knee A1 –> D

stockingP1

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Step 2.

  • Measure around your ankle E –> F
  • Measure around your calf at the widest section G –> H
  • Measure around the section below your knee I –> J
  • Measure around your thigh where you want the top of the stockings to rest K –> L

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Connect the dots to form leg shape.

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Step 3.

  • Draw around your foot
  • Draw a line across your foot at the instep. This line tends to slant. M –> N

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Step 4.

  • Transfer M –>N line to the leg pattern
  • Measure around your heel from O –> P. Divide this measurement by 2. Mark your half measurements on either side of M–>N so that you have two half O–>P lines drawn in.
    Measure across your instep with tape at M and N and transfer this measurement to the legging pattern in a loop M –> N.
  • Also, use that measur3ment to create the Q-R line on foot piece, extending the M-N line in preparation for drafting the toe piece.
  • Draw a line around your toe from Q to R
  • Cut out all pattern pieces. Cut out the mockup, using your scrap fabric, on the bias with NO seam allowance.

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My Pattern

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If you feel more comfortable making your mockup with a seam allowance, it’s always good to experiment. I found in my own experimentation that a seam allowance is not necessary because everything is cut on the bias. Which means everything stretches.

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Step 5.

  • Using 1/4 – 1/2″ seam, sew the toe piece to the leg piece matching Q to M and R to N
  • Using 1/4 – 1/2″ seam, sew leg piece up the back of the leg
  • Using 1/4 – 1/2″ seam, sew the foot to the leg and toe. Match at heel and back leg seam.

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Step 6.

At this point you will discover where your paper pattern needs adjustment.
For me this is usually across the toe/foot, the heel length, the width of the ankle.

Once you have made your adjustments to your mockup and it fits, cut out and sew your stocking out of your ‘fashion’ fabric, wool, linen, silk

Finishing: Because your stocking is cut entirely on the bias, you won’t have problems with unraveling with the exception of the thigh hem. There will be a little tiny bit of stray threads but that should be the end of it. I have washed my stockings many times and have never had the seams compromised. That said…

You will want to hem the thigh opening. I use whip stitch or running stitch. I like using contrasting thread, just a little extra bit of fun.  In the example here, the stocking is linen so I also did a running stitch down the back seam

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Finished stocking with garters. one is woven and one is a bias cut

Extant Example

Cluny Museum 14th century. Cut on the straight of grain. Nockert found stockings cut both on the bias ‘diagonal” and on the straight grain ‘on the warp.’silkstocking1 silkstocking2 silkstocking3

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