By Diane Gilleland
If you love a good pair of knee socks, why not make them truly your own by adding a cute appliqué – or several? All you need to do is respect the stretchiness of the sock, and all that requires is a little measuring and some scrap cardboard!
One pair knee socks
Assorted knit fabric scraps for appliqué
Lightweight fusible webbing
Iron and ironing board
Water-soluble fabric marker or tailor’s chalk
Flexible measuring tape
Scrap of corrugated cardboard
Ruler and pencil
Step 1: You can make your appliqués by cutting shapes from knit fabric scraps. You can also cut out designs from old T-shirts or even old socks. Before you cut them out, though, press some fusible webbing to the back of the piece. (Different brands of webbing fuse differently, so follow the instructions on your package.)
With the webbing fused to the back, cut out your appliqué as you like and then peel off the paper backing.
Step 2: Now, put on your socks (and make sure any designs or patterns on them are lined up correctly). Place the appliqués where you want them on the socks, and trace around them with a fabric marking pen.
Note: If you’re working with dark-colored socks, you can use tailor’s chalk for this marking. Just handle the socks carefully in the next step so the chalk doesn’t brush off before you need to see the marks!
Step 3: Take the socks off now. See how much that traced shape changes? No problem – we’ll just make ourselves a cardboard appliqué template.
Step 4: Measure around your calf at the widest point with a measuring tape. Now, divide that measurement in half. Use this measurement to cut a piece of cardboard this same width by about 7″ tall. (The height isn’t as important as the width, so if it’s a little shorter, that’s fine.)
Cut the corners of this piece round – it’ll make the next step easier.
Step 5: Carefully slide this template into the sock now, positioning those tracings from Step 3 in the center. Adjust the sock as needed so the tracings are the same size as the appliqués again.
Step 6: Place the appliqués back over the outlines. Place a pressing cloth over the appliqués and fuse them to the sock with an iron. (Again, follow the instructions on your package of fusible webbing.)
Step 7: Leave the sock on the cardboard for now, because we’ll finish this off by stitching around the edges. I like to use invisible thread for this step. It’s a clear polyester thread that’s nice and strong, but has a little flexibility. It stands up well to the amount of stretching your socks will go through with normal wear.
Invisible thread can be a little tricky to work with, though, so if you’re new to sewing, you might want to use regular sewing thread.
Step 8: Thread a needle with about 18″ of invisible thread and tie a knot in the end. Bring the needle up under the edge of the appliqué, so that the knot gets hidden when you pull the thread through.
(Incidentally, I’m using black thread in these photos, so you can see the steps more clearly.)
Step 9: Continue around the edge of the appliqué, making a tiny whip stitch to seal the edges down.
Here’s how it looks with invisible thread. That’s all there is to the process! You can add one appliqué or several, and you can add them to lacy-textured socks as well as flat-knit ones.
In fact, here’s an appliqué I made by fusing a circle of one knit fabric to a flower cut from another knit. Then I embroidered some initials in the center Truly, the possibilities are endless!
About the Author:
Diane Gilleland produces CraftyPod.com, a blog that geeks out on crafting and also helps crafters use the web more effectively to promote their businesses.