All About Stockings

Katie's Stocking Story

I first discovered seamed stockings in my teens in the late 1980s when there was revival of 1950s style fashion. It wasn't until the mid 1990s that I found out about Fully Fashioned Stockings. While working at the fetish boutique Skin Two I heard others talk about the fabled 'Aristoc Harmony Points' while in the store we used to import 'Sweet Caroline' nylons from the US, followed by Eleganti.

When Skin Two decided to focus on their own label, and discontinue stockings I was stuck. How could I afford my beloved Fully Fashioned Stockings? I had a good relationship with the factory so I thought why not set up a website and maybe if I stock the nylons, I'll actually make enough money to pay for my own stocking habit?

I'm the first to admit that it wasn't the most ambitious business plan, but it certainly worked!

Stockings for Beginners

What is the difference between stockings, hold ups and tights? We'll have you up to speed with hosiery terminology before you know it.

 

Glamour Seamed Stockings

Our Glamour Point Heel Seamed Stockings are a design exclusive to What Katie Did and are made in Italy (like all our non Fully Fashioned nylons) which is the home of quality hosiery manufacturing.

They're made from a sheer 15 denier stretch nylon with elastane, which means that just 2 sizes cover sizes 10-18, 5ft to 5ft 11 in an ever expanding range of colours. A curve size is perfect for those of you with curvier thighs and available in our best selling colours.

Colourful Seamed Stockings

Are colourful seamed stockings period correct? Not only were green seams made in the 1950s and earlier, who really cares if they are period correct or not?! After all, if we were really living in the 1950s we'd be lucky to have a black and white television set, let alone Youtube!

(Plus we have receipts!)

Nutmeg Glamour Seams

Stockings are made in high volumes which makes it financially difficult to make slower selling styles which include our nutmeg variants. We're certainly not going to discontinue them, but hope this explains why we don't have such a wide colour range as our champagne variants.

Curve Glamour Seams

Our Curve Seamed Stockings are made in the same factory as our other Glamour Styles. There are two ways of making larger stockings, one is to use the same machine but to make the stockings longer and knit them looser. We tried this and although they were 'fine' , they weren't fantastic.

In the end we had to use a different machine which actually knits a larger leg. They are knitted very slightly looser than our other Glamour Seams to give them even more stretch, which does make them slightly more fragile, but we felt the fit was the most important thing. Just be a little careful putting them on!

A lot of cost of stockings is setting up and programming the machinery which leads to high minimum runs and much higher costs: hence our limited amount of curve styles.

Seamed Tights

Yes tights! Not totally period correct, but if we were being totally 1950s then we'd all be surviving on 6 pairs of stockings per year (which is what the average American woman purchased at the beginning of the decade).

We do sell far fewer tights than stockings hence the smaller colour choice.

Sizing Note: our Seamed Tights are a little smaller in size than their Stocking sisters. While I always wear a S/M in our Glamour Stockings I prefer a M/L in the tights. If in doubt please size up.

Fully Fashioned Stockings

Our Fully Fashioned Stockings and RHT ranges are made in one of the last four remaining Fully Fashioned Stocking mills in the world, in the heart of England. Both of these ranges are made from the same high quality silky soft non-stretch nylon evocative of the monofilament yarn used in the 1950s.
 
They’re seamed by hand which is extremely labour intensive and explains why Chinese factories have little interest making them a mass market product! If you haven’t tried real nylons before you might be rather alarmed at the length of them! Being non stretch they do look very long, but once you put your leg in them it will take up the slack.

 

Different Fully Fashioned Heel Types

Cuban Heel FF Stockings

Havana Heel FF Stockings

Point Heel FF Stockings

Outline Heel FF Stockings

Fully Fashioned Stocking Sizing

Sizing is very important with non stretch nylons: one size does certainly not fit all. Our Fully Fashioned and Nylons ranges are designed for dress sizes 12-16. If you are smaller than that then you might like to try a size smaller, while if you’re a size 18 you might try a size larger. Don’t be tempted to go up or down more than one size as you’ll either end up with wrinkled ankles, or digging-in welts.

RHT Stockings

RHT Stockings (that's reinforced heel and toe) were the first seamless stockings to be made on circular knit machines. Although manufacturing started in 1949 they didn't take off in popularity until the early 1960s when the fit improved.

They're ideal for if you want to recreate a 1960s look, or want the feel of 'real' nylon without worrying about seams.

Our RHT stockings are made from the same nylon, and in the same factory, as our fully fashioned stockings.

Tips: Washing & Storing Your Nylons

After 25 years of stocking wearing I have my care routine down to a fine art.

Store worn nylons in an old pillowcase so they don’t get snagged in your laundry basket. Once a week swish them around in warm water and a little detergent (or bubble bath version of your favourite perfume if you’re super-luxe) and hang up to dry by the toes.

Washing your Nylons

household object, be it a chair or a radiator, will have something that will cause a snag (I’ve been there plenty of times). Why not try one of those plastic circular multi-peg contraptions you can find in any good £1 store, or use a clip coat hanger?

The good news is that nylons dry very quickly over night so you won’t be cluttering up your bathroom for long. Once dry, store your nylons in the cellophane bag they came in, invest in our satin Stocking Storage Bag or store in a good old jam jar!

Tips: Keeping Your Seams Straight

My tip for seams, is simply don’t worry about them. As long as you get your seams straight when you put your nylons, you’re generally set up for the day.

To put your nylons on, gather the length of the stocking and carefully put your toe in the end, pull the stocking over your foot and ensure the ankle is correctly in place. Then, standing up, gradually pull the stocking up checking that the seam is straight.

It’s actually harder to put Retro Seams on straight as there is less of a guide for your finger to follow. Don’t try and adjust the seam on the leg, but roll the nylon down as far as needed and try again.

Tips: Care of Fully Fashioned Stockings

Real nylons are extremely delicate and need to be treated with the utmost care. In the heyday of stocking manufacturing, workers were treated to two manicures a day (on arrival and after lunch) to ensure nails and rough skin didn’t snag the delicate stockings. We highly advise the use of hosiery gloves, thin rubber gloves used for hair dying are an easy to find alternative - although slightly less glamorous! Believe it or not, the most dangerous time for nylons is not when you’re wearing them, but when you putting them on, removing them, washing them or storage.

Tips: Vintage Stocking Sizing

Stockings used to be sized as follows:

8.5 = foot size 3
9 = foot size 4
9.5 = foot size 5
10 = foot size 6
10.5 = foot size 7
11 = foot size 8

Unfortunately, nothing in life is that simple! This doesn't take into account the width of the leg or the stretch of the stocking (in addition, one modern fully fashioned stocking company still use the old size numbers but they do not equate to the real old sizes!)

Why Don't We? Service Weight Stockings

Service Weight Fully Fashioned Stockings- generally 30 denier - tended to be work for daywear in the 1950s as they were more durable than the finer 15 denier which are made today.

Why Don't we? Curve Fully Fashioned Stockings

There are only a few factories still making Fully Fashioned Stockings in the world today and all are running at capacity knitting standard size nylons. There simply isn't the capacity, and we don't have the sway to make larger width Fully Fashioned Nylons.

Why Don't We? Navy Blue Seams

We do make navy blue Fully Fashioned Stockings but we don't make contrast navy blue seamed nylon as the navy yarn looks the same as black. We do make contrast seam in Royal blue as an alternative.

Why Don't We? Fishnets

We did make seamed Fishnet Tights and Stockings until a few years ago, but gradually the fishnet factories in England gradually closed. Today we recommend dance fishnet tights which are extremely durable and flattering to your leg.

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