Medieval Stockings

Elizabethan Stockings

I wanted to sew woven fabric stockings for a long time, and now I’ve finally sewn a pair of medieval fabric stockings! I like how they turned out. And they’re more comfortable to wear than I thought!

Related: Save Old, Holey Tights & Stockings – Refashion Tutorial

A while ago, I turned old leggings into medieval knit stockings. Then I used the pattern to make a pattern for clocked stockings. And finally adjusted the pattern for woven knit fabric.

16th Century Hose

Elizabethan stockings were usually made of silk, linen or wool. But because these were my first pair of woven fabric stockings I just used unbleached cotton fabric. The leg part is cut on the bias so that the stockings fit close to the leg, and the sole is cut on the straight so that it doesn’t distort in shape. I used the same pattern for the right and left foot. My stockings are pieced together: In the past, clothes were often pieced together to save fabric.

My stockings are completely sewn by hand with blue and white cotton crochet thread. By the way, linen or silk sewing thread would’ve been historically accurate. But because these stockings are just a test pair, I used what I had in my stash. For the top (welts) of the stockings I used two layers of fabric to give it strength. The medieval stockings are held up with ribbon garters.

Medieval Stockings
Antique or old German seam to join the sole and leg part

Here are three great articles about Renaissance stockings and 18th century clocked stockings (pdf). My main inspiration were these beautiful 1590-1615 woven linen stockings at the V&A museum. I used the same stitch to join the foot and leg part of the stockings:This hand sewing stitch is called antique or old German seam.

Related: 34 Types of Seams – Historical Sewing

The seams of the medieval linen stockings seem to be topstitched but the seam allowances are left raw. Here are more pictures of extant woven fabric stockings: ca. 1800 woven linen clocked stockings at the MET museum and medieval cut and sewn woven hose.

2 thoughts on “Medieval Stockings

  1. How awesome these are. I never thought of making these for today. They would be great with boots and a long skirt, extra warm. Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

    1. Thanks, Sherry! I made the stockings as part of a historical outfit but they can totally be worn today. I’m surprised how comfortable they are!

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