How are Stockings Made
Here at VienneMilano, we are obsessed with all things legwear – from thigh high stockings to pantyhose and all the way to tights – it's a bit of an addiction if we're being honest. That's why we've tracked stockings through history and know how their production and manufacturing processes have been tweaked to turn out the closest thing to perfection we see today. We're peering deeper into stockings, getting to know them on a thread-deep level.
The Stocking Making ProcessPicture this: it all begins with five to eight threads of nylon, spandex, and or cotton, all being fed into a machine side by side. The ratio and color of these initial threads will ultimately decide the final result, with slight tweaks in thread type resulting in vastly different stocking looks and feels.
Most tights begin with white threads. However, the process can also start with non-white color thread (such as lurex, a type of metallic thread).
Why White Threads?
These white threads are essentially used as a canvas that is dyed with various shades once the final stocking design has been produced.
At a casual rate of 750- 1200 revolutions per minute, the threads are then woven together in a tubular fashion. In other words: 250-300 pairs of stockings a day. But as with anything in life, the more complex, the more time it'll take, meaning the output number varies along the spectrum of simplest to least simple.
That said, you're guaranteed to receive a tube of fabric within around ninety seconds. These first tubes are essentially the “guinea pigs” of stocking production and are also, as you might have guessed, designed to fit around the leg. If they pass quality inspection, that's a green flag to keep the machine moving!
Following that, each tube of fabric is cut in the middle to prepare for a gusset. This is the centerpiece of your stockings, which is a nicer way of saying “the area that covers your groin.” While often an afterthought when it comes to selecting stocking styles, the quality of the gusset is actually essential to just how comfortable your stockings are, so this step definitely matters.
Next, the stockings are flipped inside out for the foot to be sewn together while the machine is busy at work, shaving away any extra material to create a more streamlined silhouette.
Re-enter the GussetNow, it's time to replace what has been cut out with material that's designed to accommodate the curves and bumps of a body. And voila!
We'd like to point out that this is the “cutting-edge” method of stocking production. Once upon a time, stockings were made by sewing threads of nylon or cotton to form sheets (not tubes) of fabric together. These vintage stockings featured a back seam, which, while certainly a fashion statement, was really where the material was sewn together. At the time, a darkened heel and toe were used to reinforce those areas.
The Cherry on Top
While stockings are ready to continue on to the next step (just below) thigh highs have a little more work to do due to their unique design. Since thigh highs hold themselves up on the leg, they need a little assistance. This helping hand comes in the shape of silicone and a band of material that can made from lace or solid (a band of fabric.) The silicone is melted onto the fabric before being rehardened. The band is then sewn onto the top of the thigh high legs. reinforcing its strength and ability to hold fast to the leg.
Now it's Time to Add Some Color!
Once construction is complete, the stockings are placed in a machine where they are washed with soapy water before a dye is added to bring them to life!
When it comes to dying there are two methods:
Dyed in the Bag
This one is exactly what it says on the tin. The stockings are inserted into a bag of dye and then crumpled. After the dye has taken to the thread, the stockings are ironed or steam-fixed.
This method has its upsides and downsides. While it's significantly cheaper and faster to dye the stockings in a bag before being dried in an industrial drier, the ironing/steam-fixing often dries out the fabric, making the stockings less soft on the skin.
Dyed in the Drawer
Unlike stockings that are dyed-in-the-bag, dyed-in-the-drawer stockings are already ironed or steam-fixed prior to dying. This allows the fiber to “re-soften” during the dying process. However, this benefit is secured at the expense of time, as the stockings need to be placed in the drawer and microwave dryer after ironing/steam-fixing. That said, at VienneMilano, we think softness is priceless. So, this is our method of choice.
The Final Step
All that's left to do is allow the stockings to dry before a thorough inspection. Stockings that are deemed fit and fabulous for use are then pressed, steamed, dried, and packaged to be delivered to a shelf near you (or to us!)
How "Green" are we at VienneMilano? Check out our blog post on: The Eco-Friendly Side of Our Hosiery Production
At VienneMilano, we believe that legs are a canvas for color and texture. Hosiery allows you to express your style and creativity. We hope you've enjoyed learning about how stockings are generally made. Have a follow-up question about this process? Leave us your comment or question below.
A gift from us to youIf, after learning how stockings our made, you'd like to enjoy the fruits of the process by browsing through our collection; we'd like to help you on your way with a 15% off with discount code: BLOGPOST – enjoy!