Tuesday, November 15, 2011

downsizing (a sock redemption tutorial)

I admit it. I have a problem letting things go. It's hard for me to say, "This item is completely unusable. Its time has come. Let it go, for heaven's sake!" A pair of ratty pants, patched multiple times, finally given up on and put in the trash... oh, the immense guilt that ensues!

Yes, there is the option of turning clothing past its prime into rags, but I always think, "There must be some way to keep this usable as clothing."

I happen to like socks. Knee high socks. Argyle ones in particular. My recent admission that I do not mend socks means that I regularly have to throw out socks that are perfectly fine everywhere except the bottoms. I have a few long argyle ones that developed holes long ago that I never wear, yet haven't mustered the courage to put to rest in the trash can.
As I was about to finally man up and throw these away the other day, I realized there might be a chance to save them. I put one on my 3-year-old and pinned it so that it comfortably fit her little leg. I then took it off and cut along the pins, leaving the top of the cuff intact.
Next I pinned the sock, right sides together, and using a straight stitch I sewed the side seam until the heel, leaving the bottom part open. I went over it again with a zigzag stitch for added durability. I then trimmed the seam close to the stitching to reduce bulk.
I had my daughter put the sock on again to check the fit, then traced around her foot. I cut out a new bottom for the sock, using two layers of a knit fabric and adding about 1/2" around the tracing.
I then pinned the new bottom to the sock, right sides together, stitched around it (again with a straight stitch first and then a zigzag stitch), and trimmed the seam. And there they were: a cute pair of knee-high argyle socks for my little girl.
I am not blind to the fact that remaking socks is a perilous journey to undertake. My children regularly go into hysterics because the toe seam of their socks is slightly skiwampus. I have a few more pairs of great argyles dying to be put back into circulation. Perhaps I'll skip the bottom altogether next time and simply make some little leggings. My daughter said these downsized socks felt "a little funny", but she happily wore them as we played at the park surrounded by the glory of autumn.
(I hadn't thought of matching the pattern at the back when I cut out the socks, but I imagine it could be quite easily done.)


  1. Babylegs/legwarmers are a MUCH easier project if you have a chunk of the foot section intact.


    It's seriously a 5-minute project, if that. As long as you don't sew the seams on the wrong side, which I have the tendency to do when I'm trying to rush through something because I sneaked away from the kids.

  2. Ah, what a great method for turning socks into legwarmers! Next time I have some unwanted ones without holes I'll have to give that tutorial a try.

  3. I've never even thought of that. sounds like a good way to make slippers too -- maybe a little leather on the foot? some recycled purse leather from goodwill and some old socks. hmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    and oh my, I love her boots. drooling as I'm typing.