Your Opinions Please – Fully Fashioned Stockings

Hi Ladies! Today I need your votes to help decide some things about the future line of vintage-style seamed stockings I’m working for the shop.

Before you vote, here are some definitions:

These stockings are knitted to fit the leg size, as opposed to using just stretchiness to fit.  The seams are functional, and the heels feature an attractive reinforcement, such as a “point” or “cuban” style.  Fully-Fashioned stockings are the top-of-the-line in vintage legwear, and while gorgeous, are the most expensive option.

Examples of heels styles in Fully Fashioned Stockings

Reinforced Heel & Toe
These stockings have a mock back seam, no decorative heel style, but a reinforced heel & toe.  They fit the leg by stretch.  They are also well-made, but are about half to price of the Fully-Fashioned.  They are also more readily available.

Example of Reinforced Heel & Toe with back seam

American Duchess seamed stockings will be closely based on 1920s and 1930s examples, and offered in several sizes.  Colors will be true to the times, with tone-on-tone seams, welts, and reinforcements, not black, red, or anything risque.  Straight-up vintage.

So, if you will, your opinions please…


  • Ash

    June 11, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    I went with fully-fashioned – I can get mock seam stockings plenty of places, mostly within my own country too. Fully fashioned stockings on the other hand, I want to get from someone who I trust their quality control!

  • vintagevisions27

    June 11, 2013 at 7:50 PM

    I agree with Ash. You can purchase "vintage style" seamed stockings at a variety of places. Quality varies a great deal and are best suited for Halloween or other one time use. For me, if I'm going to spend the money I want a pair of stockings that are not only well made but also historically true to the style of the 1930s, 40s, etc. There are only a handful of places that sell good quality fully-fashioned stockings. I would love to see you add these to your shop! Count me in for a couple pairs! 🙂

    • Lauren Stowell

      June 11, 2013 at 8:20 PM

      Yes, I agree as well. I think they will make a good addition, and I would like to keep in line with offering things that are difficult to find elsewhere

  • Scene in the Past

    June 11, 2013 at 7:55 PM

    When you say they will be 20s and 30s, will they be more opaque? I've worn vintage FF stockings quite a bit, and the vast majority of the old store stock still available is very sheer – nearly invisible except for the seam. But reading catalogs, especially from the 40s, indicates that really sheer stockings were reserved for very special occasions only. Daily wear stockings were a lot more like semisheer "tights" for opacity, and were commonly darned (so they had to stand up to it instead of running).

    Also, will the FF stockings be made with a non-stretch keyhole welt? I understand that this is integral to the construction of flat knit stockings.

    • Lauren Stowell

      June 11, 2013 at 8:22 PM

      Hi Scene –
      I'm waiting for some samples to see about colors and opacity. In the meantime I've been looking at catalog images, and have also noticed the pretty bold and opaque colors in the '20s, particularly. To start, we'll probably go with a black, tan, and beige/fawn/natural, though I think smoke, gunmetal, and peach would be good too…

    • Scene in the Past

      June 11, 2013 at 10:02 PM

      Yay! That makes me very happy. I admit I'm also pleased because the more opaque ones (and smoke! gunmetal! peach!) would be good for 1910s and earlier uses.

      Oh, the other reason I really like FF instead of vintage seamless is that the welts are bigger. I have long legs and fairly slender calves, but heavy thighs. Vintage size 10 FF fit comfortably, but vintage 10 seamless, even the ones with a "stretchable" welt, are uncomfortable.

      ~ Ginger (I always forget to sign my name – sorry!)

    • Angela

      June 17, 2013 at 5:02 PM

      Lauren, the beige/fawn/natural – will this work for us ladies of color? Otherwise we are usually stuck with the black. The tan is usually too chalky looking on brown skin…just wondering. My mother was very light skinned and the colors they had in the 40's worked for her. I am a bit browner… I like the idea of the fully fashioned stockings as they look more authentic, but I worry about the leg length which for petite folk like myself the stockings bag at the ankles if the leg doesn't stretch to fit the leg and is pre-shaped to a generic-leg. I know you can't do everything for everyone but just thought I would put this out there as there are petite and/or ladies of color who need a source for vintage style stockings. Cheers and thank you for your continued work. Love ya.

  • Vienna La Rouge

    June 11, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    Being someone who wears the fully fashioned stockings quite often, I am always looking for more sources for 'new' reproductions.
    I also wear them for pin up shoots and on stage in about 80% of my classical burlesque numbers, so they need to look authentically vintage. The ones above are gorgeous!
    As for opaqueness, I usually go for a sheer, especially for stage. But I do love some of the less sheer styles of the 19-teens and early 1930s. I love the idea of an earlier seamed stocking, and I imagine a thicker more opaque weave would make them last longer!

  • Wendy

    June 11, 2013 at 8:40 PM

    As much as I adore the style and authenticity of fully-fashioned stockings, I voted for RHT because I've never been able to find vintage fitted stockings that work for my body. I'm very short (4'11") and my inseam is just 26". The very few pairs I've found that are short enough for me are far too small for my thighs, which are thick and muscular. I appreciate that you'll be offering several sizes, but it would be unreasonable to expect you to offer every size under the sun. If it was cost-efficient, would you consider doing a few styles both ways so those of us who don't fit into standard height/weight categories won't be left out?

  • Vienna La Rouge

    June 11, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    Also, one issue I should mention, like most taller girls, At 5' 10" most vintage stockings I find are too short for me, and even some of the repros I've found will run shorter.
    There is one company that I buy new ones from, that make them in sizes to fit all, but they are terribly expensive.

    • Lauren Stowell

      June 12, 2013 at 12:41 AM

      The manufacturer offers four sizes, sized according to height, up to 6 foot tall. I think we should carry the whole size range, so you statuesque girls will have something that will fit.

    • Lauren Stowell

      June 12, 2013 at 12:42 AM

      That's the Manhattan heel – everyone's fave, including mine, and also, of course, the most rare, exclusive, and expensive. The points on the left are a nice straight-forward style. I'm not too into the Cuban and Havana square heels, though they are period correct…just seem less elegant, and more common.

  • AuntieNan

    June 11, 2013 at 9:51 PM

    I've worn both, although the FF ones when I was much thinner. I found that they were occasionally too fragile, and because they had limited stretch, they "bound" across my ankle/arch area when I flexed my foot. I voted for both styles, which I don't know if you'll be able to wangle. And yes, there are stretchy mock-up repro ones out there, but they never seem to be available when needed!
    Thanks for this, Lauren!

    • Lauren Stowell

      June 12, 2013 at 12:43 AM

      I'll see what I can do. The cost of the FFs is high, but they're winning the vote. Maybe we start with those, and see how it goes with sales, then expand the line to the mock-seamed ones in the future

  • Danine Cozzens

    June 11, 2013 at 10:43 PM

    As someone who grew up in the 1950s when seamed stockings were just going out of fashion, I was taught to put them on properly, carefully rolled up with the seam all together, and wash them carefully by hand. Stockings came in many sizes and shades. You matched the shade to your skin tone. Department stores had bars like the glove bar, where you sat down and the saleslady put different shades over your hand. A full range of shoe sizes and lengths and skin colors would be quite a lot to take on. I did not realize there were so many repro versions out there. I voted for the sturdier hose but the FF would be glorious for the divas.

    • Lauren Stowell

      June 12, 2013 at 12:43 AM

      Danine, thank you for sharing this story – how cool! I can just imagine how glamorous it must have felt to go to the department store to have your stockings matched to your skin.

  • ajpiffle

    June 11, 2013 at 10:44 PM

    The ones on the far right and far left are my favorites! I also would be willing to pay $36+ if these could be ordered in inseam & thigh measurements (I have no idea how possible this is). I'm 5' 2" with a 28" inseam and narrow thighs. Without elastic in the fabric, I'm going to have a hard time getting a smooth fit.

    • Lauren Stowell

      June 12, 2013 at 12:44 AM

      Those are my fave heel styles as well. I don't know if it's possible to do inseam & thigh – it looks like they are sized according to height. I'm waiting for some samples to arrive to see how they stretch…I do believe there is some stretch in them.

  • Lara Corsets

    June 12, 2013 at 1:35 AM

    I voted for other/both because I would buy some of each and recommend them to my customers. My question is for us larger ladies, Will you be offering plus sizes for larger calf and thigh widths?

  • KittyMeow

    June 12, 2013 at 4:06 AM

    Fully fashioned all the way for me. And at a low price, because I cant justify paying more than $15 for a pair of stockings that are usually quite delicate and I can get real vintage ones on ebay for pretty cheap (with a bit of digging).
    I would possibly pay more for the contrast seams and edges like the left hand pair in the pic you have of the FF's.
    Currently I don't buy new FF's at all as they are very expensive .

  • Anonymous

    June 12, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    I wear fully fashioneds almost every day, they can't be beat! However, I buy imperfects, which are a lot more affordable than the full priced alternative, and they last just as long. I'd love to see thick cotton fully fashioneds, I've a couple of pairs from the 1940s which are snuggly warm in winter – I wear them in snowy weather with skirts.
    Ruby xx

    • Lauren Stowell

      June 18, 2013 at 2:52 AM

      I don't know if the manufacturer makes these in cotton, but I can inquire. As for imperfects, apparently they sell them, but to "select clients." I don't qualify yet :-

  • Kiyotea

    June 14, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    I voted for fully-fashioned because, though I've yet to delve into vintage costuming, I figured "go big or go home!"
    I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of a new dress though, so I might join up. 🙂

  • L. R. Stern

    June 14, 2013 at 11:04 PM

    I LOVE fully fashioned stockings! I have a couple of pairs that I wear all the time, and will be buying more as soon as I can afford to. Right now I get mine from Classic Charm. They run about $22 plus shipping, so I'd buy them from you for $25 or less.

    I also second Ruby's comment about cotton ones–I'd definitely be willing to pay more for those!

  • Lyric

    June 15, 2013 at 8:09 PM

    Vintage wine taste on a less than beer budget unfortunately I had to vote for the less expensive option . . . sigh.

    These are so lovely, AD. Thank you for allowing us to vote.

  • Tourbillion

    June 16, 2013 at 2:33 AM

    I like that you are entering the market for 20's and 30's stockings.

    I have a slight preference for full-fashioned (because I like the heels better), but I can use either. Since I would need a larger size, the stretch might be more comfortable, but they don't look as nice.

    I have a pair of vintage (1920's probably) silk stockings, and also some cotton ones. They are full fashioned and very opaque (and a bit too short for me). These are impossible to find new, so I would love to see something like that. Actually my dream stock list would be cotton lisle or silk (nylon is ok too) in a wide variety of sizes. Though I would need opera length in a larger foot size and preferably an outsize leg.

    I realize that is probably not going to happen–but I bet there is a market for what I would like to see. There are others making sheer full-fashioned stockings, and also others making fake stretch ones. So less sheer ones would be unique.

    Also, why not black stockings? Or is it just not black seams?

    • Lauren Stowell

      June 18, 2013 at 2:50 AM

      Hi Tourbillion –
      Though the ones I'm sourcing at top-of-the-line, we're kindof limited in some ways. For one, they're nylon only, not silk (you're right, they are *impossible* to find), and I can do all kinds of custom colors, but I'm not sure what options I have on opacity yet. The goal is to get as close to the original examples as possible. Yes to black stockings, just not black seams.

  • Mary Nease

    June 17, 2013 at 3:02 AM

    If you go with fully-fashioned, please, PLEASE stock larger sizes! That's why I picked ones with stretch- I have thick calves and thighs and a lot of other places that carry good seamed stockings and fully fashioned ones do not carry ones that would fit my legs. Also, make sure they go all the way up! These silly, period-inaccurate thigh highs I see everywhere totally negate why I would wear hosiery- thigh chafing!

    • Lauren Stowell

      June 18, 2013 at 2:48 AM

      I'm limited to what the manufacturer can produce – the sizes go up to XL (height 6 foot), and with the fully fashioned, there may be problems with fit. For the stretchy ones, they are more accommodating and also well-made, but still only go up to size XL. All the stockings are thigh-high and require garters to stay up.

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