Article

18th Century Stockings Research by Carol Kocian

STOCKINGS or SOCKS -- MEN

Best: Densely knit stockings of wool, linen, or cotton. Colors are white/cream, natural, blue, gray, black, also "mixed." Stocking length is above the knee.

Frame-Knit stockings (or socks fo trousers) knit flat to shape and stitched up the center back to form a visible seam. [Theses are commercially unavalible at the time of this writing.]

Hand-knit stockings or socks knit in the round to shape with a faux seam of purl stitches up the center back.

Plain knit and vertically ribbed stockings (all one color) are both documented for men.

Tops: Fram-Knit stockings have turned over edge (hem) or are left plane. Hand-knit stockings have plain top or alternating knit & purl rows (garter stitch). No top ribbing or plain knit stockings.

Heels: Common heel or shaped common heel, or band heel (rare) on hand-knit only. No slip-stitched heels.

Gores: May have a visible gore, but not required.

Toes: frame-Knit toes are decreased and bound off, with seams running the length of both sides of the foot. Hand-Knit toes may be star, wedge, or 3-part wedge.

Gore clocks: (embellishment on both sides of the ankle) are subtle and same-color. Choose clocked stockings with caution, match to your impression, and be aware many modern reproductions are not accurate.

Lastly, stockings should be held up by the knee band of breeches.

Acceptable: Machine-made or hand-made stockings with or without shaping and/or center back seam, and with any heel, toe, and top-- but only in the colors noted above.

Stockings knit flat in the style of frame-knit stockings may be hand-knit or made on a modern flatbed knitting machine (see details for frame- knit stockings under Best)

Stockings cut and sewn from knot fabric yardage using an accurate pattern.

Cloth tape garters should be hidden, but better yet, tighten the fit of the knee band to hold up the stockings.

Unacceptable: red, yellow, or green stockings or socks. Striped stockings, synthetic stockings, athletic socks. Elaborate knit patterns such as cables and textures. Diced (Highland) hose. Buckled leather garters (these were military issue). Visible garters of any kind.) 

STOCKINGS -- WOMEN

Best: Densely knit stockings of wool, linen, or cotton. Colors are white/cream, natural, blue, brown, gray, or black, also "mixed." Length is above the knee.

Frame-knit stockings knit flat to shape and stitched up the center back to form a visible seam. [These are commercially unavailable at the time of this writing.]

Hand-knit stockings or socks knit in the round to shape with a faux seam of purl stitches up the center back.

Women's stockings were knit with a plain (unribbed) leg.

Tops: Frame-knit stockings have turned over edge (hem) or are lft plain. Hand-knit stockings have plain top or alternating knit & purl rows (garter stitch). No top ribbing.

Heels: Common heel or shaped common heel, or band heel (rare) on hand-knit only. No slip-stitched heels.

Gores: May have a visible gore, but not required.

Toes: Frame-knit toes are decreased and bound off, with seams running the length of both sides of the foot. Hand-knit toes may be star, wedge, or 3-part wedge. 

Gore clocks: (embellishment on both sides of the ankle ae usually subtle and same-color, but some contrasting clocks are documented. Choose clocked stockings with caution, match to your impression, and be aware manymodern reproductions are not accurate.

Lastly, stockings shoud be held up with garters of cloth tape or silk ribbons tied above or below the knee.

Acceptable: Machine-made or hand-made stockings, with or without shaping and/ or center back seam, and with any style heel, toe, and top-- butonly in the color noted above under Best.

Stockings knit flat in the style of frame-knit stockings may be hand-knit or made on a modern flatbed knitting machine (see details for frame-knit stockings under Best).

Stockings cut and sewn fro knit fabric yardage using an accurate pattern.

Wool,linen, or cotton knee socks (because the tops are not visible under the petticoat) -- again in colors noted under Best.
 

Unacceptable: Red, yellow, or green stockings or socks. Brightly colored tights or socks. Striped stockings, synthetic stockings, atheltic socks. Elaborate knit patterns such as cables and textures. Diced (Highland) hose. Buckled leather garters (these were military issue).

STOCKINGS or SOCKS -- BOYS 4 years to 14 years

Best: Densely knit stockings of wool, linen, or cotton. Colors are white/cream, natural, blue, brown, gray, or black, also "mixed." Stocking length is above the knee.

Frame-knit stockings (or socks for trousers) knit flat to shape and stitched up the center back to form a visible seam. [These are commercially unavailable at the time of this writing.]

Hand-knit stockings or socks knit in the round to shape with a faux seam of purl stitches up the center back.

Plain knit and vertically ribbed stockings (all one color) are both documented.

Tops: frame-knit stockings have turned over edge (hem) or are left plain. Hand-knit stockings have plain stop or alternating knit & purl rows (garter stitch). No top ribbing on plain knit stockings.

Heels: Common heel or shaped common heels, or band heel (rare) on hand-knit only. No slip-stitched heels.

Gores: May have a visible gore, but not required.

Toes: frame-knit toes are decreased and bound off, with seams running the length of both sides of the foot. Hand-knit toes may be star, wedge, or 3-part wedge.

Gore Clocks: (embellishment on both sides of the ankle) are subtle and same-color. Choose clocked stockings with caution, match to your impression, and be aware many modern reproductions are not accurate. 

lastly, stockings should be held up by the knee band of the breeches.

Acceptable: Machine-made or hand-made stockings, with or without shaping and/or center back seam, and with any heel, toe, and top -- ut only in the colors noted above. 

Stockings knit flat in the style of frame-knit stockings may be hand-knit or made on a modern flatbed knitting machine (see details for frame-knit stockings under Best).

Stockings cut and sewn from knit fabric yardage using accurate pttern.

Cloth tape garters should be hidden, but better yet, tighten the fit of the knee band to hold up the stockings.

For small boys, tights in cotton or wool may stay up better than stockings.

Unacceptable: Red, yellow, or green stockings or socks. Striped stockings, synthetic stockings, athletic socks. Elaborate knit patterns such as cables and textures. Diced (Highlighted) hose. Buckled leather garters (these were military issue).

STOCKINGS -- GIRLS, aged 10 months to 12 years

Best: Densely knot stockigns of wool, linen, or cotton; colors are white/cream, nature, blue, brown, gray, or black, also "mixed." Length is above the knee.

Frame-knit stockings knit flat to shape and stitched up the center back to form a visible seam. [Fram-knit stockings are commercially unavailable at the time of this writing.]

Hand-knit stockings or socks knit in the round to shape with a faux seam of purl stitches up the center back.

Girl's stockings were knit with a plain (unribbed) leg.

Tops: Frame-knit has turned over edge (hem) or is left plain. Hand-knit has plain top or alternating knit & purl rows (garter stitch). No top ribbing.

Heels: common heel or shaped common heel, or band heel (rare) on hand-knit only. No slip-stitched heels.

Gores: May have a visible gore, but not required.

Toes: Frame-knit toes are decreased and bound off, with seams running the length of both sides of the foot. Had-knit toes may be star, wedge, or 3-opart wedge.

Gore clocks (embellishment on both sides of the ankle) are usually subtle and same-color, but some contrasting clocks are documented. Choose clocked stockings with caution, match to your impression, and be aware many modern reproductions are not acurate.

Lastly, stockings should be held up with garters of cloth tape or silk ribbons tied above or below the knee.

Acceptable: Machine-made or hand-made stockigns, with or without shaping and/or center back seam, and with any style heel, toe, and top -- but only in the colors noted above under Best.

Stockings knit flat in the style of frame-knit stockings may be hand-knit or made on a modern flatbed knitting machine (see details for frame-knit stockings under Best)

Stockings cut and sewn from knit fabric yardage using an accurate pattern.

wool, linen, or cotton knee socks (because the tops are not visible under the petticoat) -- again in colors noted above under Best.

For small girls, tights in cotton or wool (same colors as above) may stay up better than stockings.

Unacceptable: Red, yellow, or green stockings or socks. Brightly colored tights or socks. Striped stockings, synthetic stockings, athletic socks. Elaboate knit patterns such as cables and textures. Diced (Highland) hose. Buckled leather garters (these were military issue).

Thank you to Carol Kocian for contributing to this section. You can read more about historic stockings at her blog site www.stockingframeofmind.com

Minute Man National Historical Park

Last updated: October 28, 2021