19th Century, Historical Sew Fortnightly, Sewing

Guess who figured out how to make stockings?


1870s Manet's Nana inspired stockings thedreamstress.com

They are inspired by the stockings worn by Manet’s Nana:

Manet Nana 1877 - detail of stockings

They aren’t perfect because, hey, I’ve only just figured out the pattern, and I didn’t have quite the right shade of blue merino-silk blend knit (also, I doubt I’ll ever be able to find another length of merino-silk knit of any colour), but I am still thrilled with them!

Here is what the pattern looks like:

1870s Manet's Nana inspired stockings thedreamstress.com

They have a centre back seam, and ‘Cuban’ V heel shapes.

1870s Manet's Nana inspired stockings thedreamstress.com

There is shaping at the heel and ankle to mold the stockings to my foot.

1870s Manet's Nana inspired stockings thedreamstress.com

To mimic the embroidery that would decorate the front of a real pair of 1870s stockings, I had a cunning idea.  I have a whole length of amazing vintage floral trim from the amazing Lynne:

1870s Manet's Nana inspired stockings thedreamstress.com

I cut out two full repeat motifs, and carefully pinned them to the front of my stockings, making sure that they were perfect mirrors of each other:

1870s Manet's Nana inspired stockings thedreamstress.com

Then I carefully took off the stockings, slipped them over a metal tray, and sewed them down with silk thread, inside and outside the motifs:

1870s Manet's Nana inspired stockings thedreamstress.com

This was by far the most time-consuming part of making the stockings – an hour to draft and test the pattern, 15 minutes to sew the stockings together, and then an hour and a half of handsewing of the motifs on each stockings.

1870s Manet's Nana inspired stockings thedreamstress.com

But the end result is pretty spiffy!

1870s Manet's Nana inspired stockings thedreamstress.com

I am SO excited, because I’ve always wanted perfectly matched stockings for my outfits, and now I can have them.  This pattern should be reasonable for everything from medieval to the 1930s.  Squee!

The Challenge:  #10  —  Art

Inspiration: Manet’s Nana, 1877

Fabric: 60cm of silk-merino blend knit  (found at an op-shop, can you believe it!).

Pattern:  My own!

Year:  1877

Notions:  2 repeats of vintage embroidery and organza trim, thread.

How historically accurate is it?    Not really. 19th century stockings would be specifically knit as stockings, either by hand or machine, not cut from flat cloth and sewn.  And, for the look I am going for, they would be more likely to be pure silk, not a wool-silk blend.  Plus the motifs should be knit in or embroidered on, not applique!

Hours to complete:  4 hours & 15 min, including figuring out the pattern.  Un-adorned, I can now whip these up in 15 min!

First worn:  Just for  photos, but watch out for a full Nana shoot!.

Total cost:  Believe it or not, I found 2m of the silk-merino knit at an op-shop for $8!  And I could get about 20 pairs of stockings out of that, so 40 cents!

Keep an eye out for the rest of the Nana accessories (shoes!  A chemise!) and a tutorial on how to make your own stockings, because I took really good photos of the process!

1870s Manet's Nana inspired stockings thedreamstress.com


  1. Janet van Dompseler says

    I am impressed! I have often thought about trying to make stockings but never actually got around to doing it. Thank you for beating me to it! I am eagerly awaiting the tutorial ! Well done!

  2. I’m so looking forward to the tutorial! Even with period inaccurate knit, it’s great, and I love over the knee socks (which are basically stockings). 🙂

  3. Deb Vlahakis says

    Marvelous. I am green with envy. They would be superb with my 18c gowns

  4. I love this idea — and what an inspirational post. Great job on the stockings!

  5. So pretty! Love the color too 😀 I keep meaning to make myself some stockings, but just haven’t had the chance. Looking forward to your tutorial!

  6. Wow, they look great. And I love the idea to embellish stockings with cut out lace.
    Thank you very much you want to publish the tutorial.

  7. Lynne says

    Wheee! Imagine me, mentally doing Snoopy’s happy supper dance! Perfect!

  8. What a fantastic pair of stockings, and what a fascinating pattern.Did you base it on period examples? They’re so gorgeous with the floral trim.

  9. These are great, how amazing to have made them. Love the decoration and the colour.

  10. These are amazing! I want some! Would you consider a tutorial? Happy to pay for a PDF pattern, too brain tired to try and work it out myself!

  11. Oh my goodness gracious!!! I have been wanting to make some stockings too, so the fact that you are going to be doing a tutorial is SOOOOO exciting!!!! Can’t wait! (sorry for all the exclamation points. ;P) Glad you are feeling better after your flu.

  12. I can’t wait to see the tutorial either!!! I’ve wanted to make my own stockings but had quite a rough time of it, and I’m sure this will help!
    The look great!

  13. Kylla says

    Beautiful! I can’t wait for the tutorial.

  14. How did you draft the pattern for the stockings with the cuban heel?

  15. Please send me the link to my E-Mail address.


    P.S. Are you going to post a tutorial on how you drafted the stockings?

      • When do you think you will have the time to, with all of your other interesting projects, I understand that you are pressed for time, just would like hint.
        also understand about this time of the year and all the holiday hassles.
        No pressure!!!


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