Wednesday, January 19, 2011
By far one of the best projects I have undertaken is making fleece socks for myself and my family. This project, like so many others, had its roots in an emergency that I was unprepared for, and I learned my lesson accordingly.
A couple of years ago, we had a sewer pipe that runs under our house break. That would be bad enough under normal circumstances, but the pipe that broke was the one that was embedded in the slab portion of our tri-level home. As we diagnosed the problem, worked through the insurance coverage, and then invited the nice men with the jackhammer into our house, we were without water to the kitchen for four months. Even worse, the repair portion of the festivities occurred in the dead of winter, which meant that my downstairs door was left open for most of December as the repair men (who were surprisingly neat for people who were taking a jackhammer to a 12 foot path through the house) ran cords and such out the door to their truck.
The house was freezing for several weeks, and I got really obsessed with things to keep my feet warm. I ordered sheerling-lined slippers and knitted, lined socks, but the thing that really helped was a pair of fleece socks I found online. They retailed for about $15, and I literally wore them and then washed them to wear them again. I feel kind of bad that my repair men had to look at me wearing the same sweatshirt and socks every day for about six weeks, but I promise I was doing laundry regularly.
I can't afford an entire wardrobe of $15 pairs of socks, so I learned to make my own. I use Green Pepper pattern 837, which includes sizes for children, youth, women, and men. A little experimenting led me to alter the pattern to have a longer leg portion. I also made alterations on the larger sizes to create a wider footbed and wider heel, to accommodate different foot shapes and the fact that fleece can shrink a tad, no matter what they tell you. The project also improved my sewing skills, as I learned how to work with stretchy fabric and to ease during sewing to accommodate a three dimensional shape (the foot).
My family was incredibly gracious in allowing me to experiment on them to get the patterns just right, and last year I made about 35 pair of socks for myself, Mr. FC&G, and my parents. This year, I made several pair for the craft fair and for Christmas gifts.
Fast: Even with pattern alteration time, you should be able to make a pair of fleece socks in under an hour. I probably have the process down to 30 minutes.
Cheap: Unless you are really trying to showcase a design or match plaid, you should be able to make a pair from less than half a yard of fleece, which you can get dirt cheap from the remnant bin at your local fabric store. Usually, I can make a pair for less than $2 in fleece costs, although I sell them for more than that to factor in the production effort. (I sell for $12 a pair, which includes sales tax, because I want to make my socks a better bargain than the mass-produced versions.)
Good: Fleece socks got me through a really bad winter (you can see my entire wardrobe of them hanging on the line above), but my father gave perhaps the best testimonial when he said that his feet were warm in the winter for the first time in his life.
Posted by Jennifer Lorenzetti at 9:49 AM