Review + DIY: Velvet Heart Lace Socks
Disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.
I'm not much of a fancy sock person - San Francisco is a leggings and tights kind of city. But it's definitely been getting warmer, summer's been getting longer, and I've been trying to mix up my wardrobe in general, so I fell in love with the idea of these lace socks. Unfortunately, the reality fell far short. The issue is definitely one of quality rather than design - I still think the socks are adorable and am hoping to at least squeeze a photoshoot out of them before they fall apart.
I bought the socks from ModCloth, knowing full well they were a final sale/no returns item. When they arrived, I admired the cute cardstock packaging, wrapped with a grosgrain ribbon, detailing care instructions (machine wash cold, tumble dry low), and of course, the original brand name: Velvet Heart. Luckily I saved the label otherwise I completely would've forgotten that information for this review, as ModCloth always conceals original brand names. Velvet Heart still has the socks available in a handful of colors. (Don't be confused by their product image: it's a technical drawing, not an actual photograph of the sock or even the same lace.)
I slipped them on to pop down the block to run an errand at work. Even just trying them on they seemed awfully snug. I have small feet, size 6, standard width, so that was a bit surprising. Baring my knees, I wore them with a simple dress and black pumps. My work is literally a block down the street from me, so I walked a total of two short blocks. By the time I got back, my toes had already popped through! I was shocked... I had just paid $10 for socks that I wasn't even able to wear for a full hour before they developed holes!
The problem lies in the construction. The sock is seamed together from a lace fabric, which on its own might be fine. It's held together with a narrow overlock and matching wooly nylon thread. I wear the seam along the outside edge of my foot, twisting it to a back seam at the heel. My toes popped through the fabric at the seam, which leads me to believe that A) the seam allowance is too narrow, and/or B) it was stitched with a "sharp" needle rather than "ballpoint." A sharp literally punctures the fabric for each stitch and is used for woven fabrics, whereas a ballpoint rolls the individual threads aside and is used for knits. Upon closer inspection, it seems the fabric was cut on the wrong grainline, with the stretch running vertically rather than around the foot. No wonder they felt so snug when I tried them on!
As I said, I think they can be salvaged for a photoshoot, but I certainly won't be able to wear them out, especially with heels. Still, I think the simple construction would make for a fun and easy DIY project. Attached is a pattern I've drafted for this style of sock. To put it together, remember to pay attention to the direction of stretch and use a ballpoint needle. Even if you don't have an overlock machine, you could try using a faux-verlock stitch on a home sewing machine, or combining a straight stitch with a zig zag to finish the edge. Remember to test your tension settings on scraps of your fabric. I would use a double pass zig zag to add an elastic trim like the one on the Velvet Heart socks, but you could fold under 1/2" and do a simple zig zag if you're using stretch lace fabric yardage. (These are DIY/home-sewing options, not production standards, FYI.) Alternatively, you could buy a a fixed width stretch lace, which is often used for making lace mitts and bralettes, and tailor the sock height to match its width, using the scalloped edge to avoid finishing the top of the sock altogether. You'll need a lace that's a minimum of 9" wide - I think ideal would be about 12". If you want a taller sock, you'll have to add width to the top to create a calf shape.
What do you think of lace socks? Is there a particular brand that makes a style you like? Are you going to try to DIY your own lace socks now?