Buying Your Hosiery
( Originally Published 1924 )
Various kinds of threads are used in the manufacture of hosiery, such as thread silk, spun silk, fiber silk, lisle, cotton, and wool. As in any other material or fabric, we find superior and inferior grades in each. It is well to be able to recognize their difference and thus be a better judge of their value. These are certain things which those who buy hosiery should know :
In the pure silk group are several different kinds of silks, varying in "weight." The so-called "pure thread-silk hose" are often woven into the required shape of pure silk threads. Very often lisle threads are added to the foot and garter-top to increase the durability of the stockings. People seem to be getting away more and more from the all-silk hose because of their poor wearing qualities.
Italian or glove silk hose are cut out from a piece of woven silk material and are sewed together at the seams. They do not adapt themselves to the shape of the ankle and calf as readily as a woven stocking, and unless they are made with the dimensions identical with those of the leg which they cover, they do not fit neatly. They are all-silk and, therefore, do not wear well. Some hosiery dealers have discontinued carrying glove silk hose in stock because of the comparatively small demand which they have for them.
Chiffon silk hose, those lovely gossamer ones that wear out so quickly, are woven from a very fine silk thread and, if desired, may be had with some lisle in the feet and garter tops, which makes them a little more practical. But at best they are a luxury. Every woman delights in them for evening wear. Even if she can afford to have but one pair at a time, by watching for drop stitches, laundering them carefully after each wearing, and taking great care in putting them on or off, she can prolong their dainty usefulness.
Fiber silk hose, as the name indicates, are woven from a manufactured silk. They are not as fine in appearance or texture as the pure silk ones and are hard on the feet. For the latter reason, many people find that they can not wear fiber silk hose at all.
Lisle hose are woven from twisted cotton threads, which make them more durable than ordinary cotton hose. At one time lisle was made from twisted linen threads. White ones, especially, are very practical for the homekeeper, as they may be boiled and are restful to the feet. Some dealers also handle chiffon lisle hose which are very sheer and look rather well, tho there are apt to be "shadows" in parts of the stocking.
Cotton hose, made from the untwisted threads, are inferior in appearance and durability to lisle.
Mercerized cotton hose have a luster which adds to their appearance. Mercerized yarns wear better than ordinary cotton.
Wool hose, woven from wool threads, usually contain some cotton or silk threads. Pure wool hose are uncomfortable, and their tendency to shrink is great. Silk and wool make a very fine winter hose.
For those who have trouble with their feet, there are black lisle or cotton hose with half or whole white or balbriggan feet, some with the light part sewed to the black, others, the better grades, with the light woven in with the black.
Fashioned hose have stitches added at the calf. This gives them the proper snugness at the ankle and yet the required width further up. As the stitches are added on either side of the middle seam, we find two smaller seams like a series of small dots where the stitches are added. The sole of the stocking is also "fashioned," as shown by two rows of marks in the sole of the stocking where the stitches are added to give shape to the foot.
In the cheaper grades of silk hose, "mock seams" are sometimes placed on either side of the middle seam to make the hose appear fashioned. In reality, there are no stitches added in the weaving of these hose, the stitches are merely loosened at the calf and tightened at the ankle, thus shaping the stockings. In purchasing hose, it is advisable to examine the seams to see whether or not they are "genuine."
"Outsize" hose are those which are fashioned larger at the top and at the calf than the ordinary ones. "Extra Outsize" can also be purchased for the extremely stout woman. This sort of hose prevents to some extent the "runners" which often come because the extra stretching of the tops strains the stitches of the hose. Outsizes are obtainable in all sorts of materials, silk, lisle, and wool.
Extra feet can be obtained in white, black, and cordovan. These feet, which are really soles, can be sewn on stocking legs, and the life of the hose doubled.
Spectacular bargain sales in hosiery are disregarded by the woman who knows that storekeepers never sell things at reduced prices unless there is a "catch" somewhere. The stockings may be "seconds," that is, have some defect which will lessen their durability. However, if they appear to be perfect in every way and yet are offered at much lower prices than at other timesóbeware ! They have probably been in stock or in the warehouse so long that the dyes have begun to eat their way into the threads and so can not be sold as new hose be-cause they will wear badly.
It is always advisable to purchase hose bearing the name of some reliable manufacturer from a dealer who is certain to have a fresh stock on hand.