Vintage Must Have: Seamed Stockings

Last week I discussed girdles and how essential they are to creating a period correct foundation for your garments.  I also mentioned that I use them mainly for the garters to hold up my stockings.  For everyday use, I wear new seamed stockings.  I do this for a few reasons.  Vintage stockings are becoming increasingly hard to find (and thus rather expensive) and can become brittle.  I have ruined several pairs within minutes of putting them on.  However I covet vintage seamed stockings, buying them whenever possible, and wear them for special occasions.  Recently I went to AlexSandra’s Vintage Emporium  and I asked her if she had any seamed stockings.  AlexSandra brought out a bag full of new-old stock stockings.  Most were seamless (perfect for 60s outfits) however I found some fully-fashioned pairs of stockings…including these with the amusing brand of “Hard to Find”

But don’t fret fellow stocking lovers, I left a few pairs for you!  In fact, AlexSandra just listed these stunning NOS Lilly Dache stockings in her bridal shop, Union Made Bride, along with many more fully-fashioned pairs!.  Those in the Portland area can also visit AlexSandra’s brick-and-mortar shop for vintage delights.  For details on her hours and location, please visit her website.  Additionally, I have two pairs of deluxe stockings (stockings featuring some sort of design or detail) currently for sale on Etsy.  You can view them here and here.

So what does “Fully Fashioned” mean exactly? Here is a perfect diagram to understand:

As for new stockings, there are a range of price points, quality and shops you can purchase new stockings from. Once again, Secrets in Lace (yes! It’s like a one stop shop for all vintage style foundation garments!) offers up new fully-fashioned stockings, including items from Dita Von Tease and Bettie Page collections.  What Kate Did also supplies a range of stockings, including seamed, although not fully-fashioned, stockings, perfect for everyday wear, which is who I have been using lately.  Previously I purchased Leg Avenue stockings from various websites (including 3 Wishes) and shops around Portland.

When shopping for stockings, you want to avoid the items described as “thigh highs” because a thigh high is very different from a stocking.  Thigh highs are of stocking length, however, in the welt they have rubber bands around the inside of them for them to stay on, thus supposedly rendering garters superfluous.  However, these tend not to work, and/or are uncomfortable, resulting in an almost tourniquet like experience.

Additionally, I want to make note, if you travel by air frequently, or do not enjoy being touched by strangers, I do not recommend wearing a girdle or garter belt and stockings when traveling.  Garters do show up on body scanner images and even if you show and tell the TSA officer what is creating the anomaly, they will still pat you down.  At some airports they simply pat down the area which the anomaly shows up, other airports will conduct a full body pat down.  And I am speaking from experience from multiple occasions.  For air travel, I suggest purchasing seamed pantyhose, another Leg Avenue product, available here as well as many other websites.  Although, I will admit, I find them difficult and of poor quality.

I think that just about covers it! If you have any remaining questions regarding stockings or girdles, please do not hesitate to ask!

For more on vintage foundations:
Vintage Must Have: Bullet Bra
Vintage Must Have: Girdle
Vintage Must Have: Slip

13 thoughts on “Vintage Must Have: Seamed Stockings

  1. Oh, I love seamed stockings! Although admittedly, I tend to spend my 6-10 dollars on dresses and accessories instead of stockings… they seem so trivial! But I suppose they really do add to the overall look.

    • I totally understand! As someone else commented, stockings are something that vintage ladies graduate to over a period of time. But it’s also a thing of priority. I have many friends who will say that Bakelite is a “must have” and personally, I don’t care too much for Bakelite. I would rather spend my money on WWII sweetheart or western themed jewelry.

  2. I have so many questions! What is the keyhole for? I have some seamed pantyhose (is that the right term? Not stockings as the are attached as a pair similar to tights and sit up on your hips/ waist). Anyway, said seamed… thingos are a bit challenging as I can never get the seam to stay in place and it wonks out all over the place, often giving me a wiggly line down the back of my leg. Would this be corrected by wearing garter belts and proper stockings? Or is there a trick to getting the line straight? And why are fully-fashioned stockings better than regular stockings?

    • The keyhole is a by-product of the manufacturing process. They’re woven on special machines and that’s why they’re so expensive to buy new these days, because they’re so specialised!

      The trick to getting them on straight is to bend over in front of the mirror and pull each leg up, aligning the seam as you go. I think this is easier using proper stockings! They look much nicer too with a garter 🙂

      Fully fashioned being better is a matter of personal opinion but I love them – it’s the one thing I’m strict about when it comes to wearing vintage! They feel so much nicer and look better 🙂

    • The keyhole is simply a result in the production process of FFS. FF stockings are knit flat, and then stitched together, creating the seam and keyhole. And, yes, pantyhose are just like tights, usually the only difference is that tights are thicker. And the problem you have with keeping the seam straight is the same problem I have had with wearing the seamed pantyhose, which is why I called them difficult. When you wear seamed stockings you put one leg in one stocking, and another in the other stocking, and the two are unrelated, where as they are connected with pantyhose, so you end up fighting with one leg’s seam over the other, creating the wiggly line and difficulty in keeping the seams straight. So, yes, wearing a garter belt and real stockings would result in an easier putting on experience, thus starting out with straighter seams. A good way to start with straight seams is to put your stockings on while sitting on your bed in front of a mirror. You can lean back and pull on the stocking while seeing what the seam is doing. Sometimes seams will go askew when you cross your legs (since you have your knee hitting your calf) but sometimes they don’t. Often, fully-fashioned stockings are simply better quality. They are often made of less stretcher knit, and have a range of sizes, made with specific heights and weights in mind, where as modern stockings try to simply accommodate everyone. The time it takes me make them is greater than that to make regular stockings. Additionally, FFS simply make me, personally, feel better. I feel more period accurate, and that puts a smile on my face. I hope that answered your questions. 🙂

    • Why not invest in some fully fashioned stockings and several good girdles now that you have the information you needed? I think most of the ladies her will agree that you will not regret it! I personally can guarantee that once you try them, you’ll want to wear them daily and will have no problems finding reasons everyday to do so.

    • I guess I wasn’t clear when I wrote what I did about What Kate Did in the post. :/ I was using them as an example of a place that has good quality and reasonably priced non-FFS for everyday wear. Thank you for sharing the link! 🙂

  3. Vintage seemed stockings are a wardrobe must for me, too, though I generally wear modern ones that fit the bill, as older ones (as you pointed out) can be so fragile (and very, very pricey). I’d absolutely love to find vintage coloured seamed stockings in my price range one day – especially navy blue, forest green, and dark brown (stocking swoon!).

    Wishing you a wonderful Wednesday, dear gal!
    ♥ Jessica

  4. OK,Ladies, I’m truly Vintage and I sold these exact stocking a million times over as a teen working in the “Fine Ladies ” Department !! As a teen, stick thin, I still wore my girdle,hose, and heels every day ! LOL !
    Thanks for a great trip dowm memory lane !
    Sierra Sue

  5. As a side note : Nordstroms sells backseam stockings that are full pantyhose. They are divine and last for quite a while! They’re $11 per pair, which can be pricy – but they do last for quite a while!

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