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Stockings
    Patterns A knitted or woven covering for the leg and foot. Such covering, made in different lengths, had been worn from the early centuries AD but was known by various other names; for the history before the later sixteenth century see Chausses and Hose. In the early sixteenth century the lower part of the hose were termed stocks or netherstocks, then stocken or stocking of hose; by about 1580 the word stocking had come into general use for the separate covering for the leg from the knee downwards and knitted stockings replaced the woven material tailored in sections to fit the leg (see Knitting). Seventeenth century stockings were made in various colours to suit the rest of the costume; the best quality ones were of silk and many of these were decorated with elaborate designs of clocks. Less expensive stockings were made of cotton or wool. Later, lisle stockings were produced which were made of cotton which had been given a silky texture by a mercerizing process.

During the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries when men wore stockings, these were fastened by a garter round the leg just below the knee. In the 1820s and 1830s as trousers and pantaloons took over from breeches, stockings were replaced by socks. Over the centuries ladies had also kept their stockings up by means of garters. Alternatively the stocking could be fastened to the underwear until, in the nineteenth century, suspenders were attached to the corset for the purpose of supporting the stocking (see Suspenders).

The colour of ladies' stockings varied greatly from age to age. While gown skirts were long, reaching to ground level, ladies could please themselves about the colour of their stockings. When, in the 1770s and 1780s, the skirt rose a few inches above the ground, the stocking was either coloured to match the gown or could be red, white or a pastel shade. In the years 1820-50 stockings were most commonly white or flesh-coloured. A black net stocking worn over a flesh-tinted one was considered very fashionable. Coloured stockings were re-introduced in the 1860s, while by 1880, they were usually made to match the gown or petticoat; black net returned to favour in the 1890s.

My Sewing & Garb Accessories Site: Stockings
   

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You can make your own stokings cut on the bias, quite easily. If making them out of woven fabric the stockings must be cut on the bias, it is the only way to get the strechiness needed to fit your leg

 

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2005 January 28