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Pure silk stockings

Posted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 3:58 pm
by sally
I just might, possibly, have tracked down a supplier of silk yarn in a weight that will work on my antique sock machine, meaning that if it goes to plan I may be in a position soon to start making real silk stockings in custom sizes and lengths for the Tudor and later posh types.

I'm going to need to experiment a bit, using pure silk on a grouchy 100yr old hand cranked machine that likes to eat fingers, cats and needles for breakfast will take me a little while, but whilst I play I may as well ask, is there a potential interest in proper silk stockings?

What I could do with knowing is which portrayals would consider using these (so I can tweak the pattern to be as acceptable as possible), what colours you might want, and whether a ballpark price of £35 for a pair of 100% silk over the knee fully fitted to your foot size stockings sounds about right.

Will post pictures once I've successfully made a pair, but we're looking at a double thickness hemmed top, smooth stockinette leg (clocks could be added as an extra after manufacture) and a plain fitted heel and toe. Like the woollen hose I've started doing, you'd have to be an experienced knitter looking at them very close up to be able to tell they werent hand knitted (and of course stocking frames existed from relatively early on anyway, so later periods are often fine with machined stockings anyway)

Just interested in peoples thoughts at this stage :D

Posted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 4:04 pm
by Tamsin Lewis
Fantastic!
I'd definitely be interested in these
Tamsin

Posted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 4:23 pm
by Shadowcat
Although I am cutting back on work, I would be happy to recommend at this price to potential customers.

S.

Posted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 4:59 pm
by And So To Bed
Sounds fine to me. The sort of people who'll need this kind of quality are generally more used to shelling out for gear, and this is actually quite affordable.

Posted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 6:26 pm
by sally
I have the most scandalous cherry coloured silk to practice with, its quite yummy :lol:

Posted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 8:58 pm
by Jenn
Oh yes please me too

Posted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 11:30 pm
by myladyswardrobe
Oooh!!! Yes please - I'd be very interested!

£35 per pair is actually very reasonable I think for silk stockings!!

Cherry red silk!! That does sound scrummy!!

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 11:34 am
by Jenn
Sally
out of the replies you've had so far three of us play gentry at kentwell - does that help with patterns as well?

silk stockings

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 12:41 pm
by Dathi
Sally


YES PLEASE!!! lots Cherry red and all the colours.....Any black?

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 12:44 pm
by Shadowcat
My customers are usually gentry too - 16th and 18th century mostly. Dancers too, so self supporting would be helpful? But of course, if over the knee, garters could be worn. O.K. no problems.

S.

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 1:10 pm
by sally
Jenn wrote:Sally
out of the replies you've had so far three of us play gentry at kentwell - does that help with patterns as well?
It does indeed, gives me an idea of how to scale the hem, length ratio etc. In theory any colour will be do-able though white is always a b**ger to keep clean during manufacture.

Watch this space...

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 1:26 pm
by Jenn
Personally I'd rather not have white as it looks so grubby after five minutes of wear and after a week - euch even with washing at night

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 2:20 pm
by Meg
Pure silk stockings, mmm... Why no knitted stickings in the 15th century, darn it!

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:54 pm
by agesofelegance
one of the problems I've always had is finding silk stockings fro my Napoleonic male clients. I've enquired at the various factories that make silk socks but they won't do them long enough and the 2 making silk stockings won't do them heavy enough for men to wear so if you can this will be great

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 10:12 pm
by Gail Horn
clocks could be added as an extra after manufacture
I've read about these, but have no real idea what they are. Any chance of a picture or an explanation, please? (I read far too much Georgette Heyer! :oops: )

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 10:56 pm
by agesofelegance
clocks are the embroidered bits on the ankles where the foot part meets the leg part

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 11:00 pm
by agesofelegance

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 11:34 pm
by sally
agesofelegance wrote:one of the problems I've always had is finding silk stockings fro my Napoleonic male clients. I've enquired at the various factories that make silk socks but they won't do them long enough and the 2 making silk stockings won't do them heavy enough for men to wear so if you can this will be great
In principle no problem, some of my woollen stockings are in shetland 4ply and the silk mill will ply the silk heavier than the laceweight I have currently got to trial if I need it, so thicker ones would be fine, and I can make any length that might be required. The only technical limitation is that I'm working with a fixed 84 needle cylinder, so whilst I can make some leg size ajustments through tensioning there may be some men whose legs are too muscular or heavy for long stockings, though Gareth wears his woollen ones without any difficulty and he's pretty large.

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 1:06 am
by Botwot
Sally

Yes please, always looking for extensions/improvements/additions to the wardrobe, 16/19C covered by my group. My legs could charitably be described as "chunky" at best, (fluid retention doesn't help either !).

Would be superb as handling items as well as for use and Pricing is fine at that level.

Martin

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 1:07 am
by Botwot
Sally

Yes please, always looking for extensions/improvements/additions to the wardrobe, 16/19C covered by my group. My legs could charitably be described as "chunky" at best, (fluid retention doesn't help either !).

Would be superb as handling items as well as for use and Pricing is fine at that level.

Martin

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 7:55 am
by sally
Botwot wrote:Sally

Yes please, always looking for extensions/improvements/additions to the wardrobe, 16/19C covered by my group. My legs could charitably be described as "chunky" at best, (fluid retention doesn't help either !).

Would be superb as handling items as well as for use and Pricing is fine at that level.

Martin
You might be a useful person to test run a pair by Martin, it would be a valuable experiment to see if I can make enough adjustments to give you a decent fit without losing the effect of the close silk knit :D

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 7:26 pm
by Annie the Pedlar
Excellent price.
Tudor women are answering but its the gentry men that get stumped.
From my experience they are usually quite tall and the stockings would need to come very high up the leg as you can get a nasty pink gap when they sit down and their hose ride up. Most men want black but occasionally they make a super duper costume and want hose to match.
If they are going to all the bother of getting silk stockings I think they should ask for clocks but they might not know they need them.
To get to potential clientelle I'd advertise to the costume makers. Customers think of accessories after they've commissioned the costume and often ask the maker for advice.

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 7:50 pm
by sally
Good point Annie, were your woolly ones long enough? That was the standard length I was thinking of but I can easily do longer if needed

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:05 pm
by Annie the Pedlar
They're fine for me. I was thinking of a 6 foot plus long lanky viol player.
Or my 5 foot 8 cuddly viol player - actually his legs have stayed skinny.....
I think it would be best to measure their legs along with their feet. Happy to do that for you at Kentwell. I'm famed for groping gentry legs :shock: Its not like there's going to be millions of them...

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 11:06 pm
by Jenn
They're long enough for me - and I'm 6 foot (and there aren't that many men at kentwell who are that much taller than me)

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 5:31 pm
by Wiblick
yes I'd be interested in a couple of pairs at the very least. Keep me updated.

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:31 pm
by Botwot
Sally

Pleased to help out as test pilot/ catwalk model (err maybe not) / crash-test dummy.

Will PM you with contact details

Martin

Stockings

Posted: Sat Mar 03, 2007 2:10 pm
by Dathi
Sally

After dribbling for a bit....I should have said 16th and 17th Century!

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:58 am
by Tod
Sally, I think you count the Lace Wars people in. :D

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 6:14 pm
by sally
Just a quick update, I've been playing with the silk yarn and the initial results are yummy indeed. Current yarn is giving either a very sheer shimmery stocking with loads of fit and stretch in it used singly, or doubling it up a good rich glowing colour with full coverage- but the maximum width of the stocking is a bit less as some of the stretch is lost by plying up the yarn, but I will experiment further with tensioning to see if we can accomodate most leg sizes on this. Hoping to post pictures in a few days (got to order more yarn to do a proper pair now I've played a bit) but I think its looking as if you'll have a choice of two weights, the sheer ones at £35 (lovely and slinky, probably more of a ladies stocking) and the heavyweight ones at hopefully no more than £42 which should suit the manly legs that don't feel like wearing the sheer ones.

Watch this space, I'm also talking direct to a couple of silk mills to see if they can custom produce me a yarn that will fall between the two weights at the price I'd originally planned for. Will post pics in due course so you can see what the two weights are looking like. Either way, they feel divine on the skin.