This has got to be my favorite and most repeated project in a long long time. I made everyone on my list these warm, cozy socks for holiday gifts. Here are some of the reasons why this is an awesome project:
- You can make it with a standard sewing machine; no serger needed! You could probably even hand-stitch pretty easily if you are adept at whipstitch. I did make these once with a serger and found the seams invasive. A medium to large zig-zag stitch makes a much more comfortable seam.
- This is definitely a remnant project. You need about 1/2 yard length of polar fleece for 2-3 pairs of socks, and that’s only for the long front portion. Since fleece remnants at JoAnns are usually 50% off whatever the current fleece price is, you can get these really cheap when fleece is on sale!
- It’s also a great way to use those weird pieces left over after making pants and dolman-sleeve tops.
- This is a sew in one hour project once you’ve drafted the pattern pieces. I’ve made so many that I usually whip a pair out in 30 minutes now.
Drafting the Pattern
I copped my pattern from some photos of a deconstructed sock I found online. The patterns I found in searching were all a little “off” for my taste, and the stretch/give of polar fleece means that you have a little wiggle room. It is preferable in this case to use the stretch and not over-ease the pattern, or you will end up tripping over the socks!
Here is a photo of my pattern pieces. When I get the pieces scanned and traced, I’ll add a PDF.
Let’s work from right to left. After quite a bit of trial and error, here is what I found as the best way to draft the pattern to fit:
Select a flat shoe that fits well and doesn’t have too much bulk. Trace around it. The tracing will add about a half inch of ease. If you want to get finicky (like me), trace both shoes (left and right) on the same space and “average” the tracing out.
You’ll want to soften this to an oval shape, with a tapered toe and a wider heel. You don’t want the sole to taper in at the sides; that extra ease allows for the arch of your foot. Then add another 1/8 – 1/4 inch for seam allowance.
For the back, measure from your heel to however high you want the sock to go. Draw this line on your pattern paper. Then measure around your calf where it will stop. Subtract about 1 inch, then divide by two. Draw a line this long centered at the top of the length line. Take your sole pattern and center the heel end over the bottom of the length line and draw the heel curve up towards the top line. Now use a ruler and draw lines connecting the heel edges to the top line ends.
One both the back piece and the sole piece, measure in about two inches from the apex of the heel curve. Mark this with a notch on each side.
To draft the front of the sock, overlap the sole and the back piece, lining up the notches. Trace the resulting shape and smooth out the sides to a straight line. This will be the longest piece.
You can see that I took my pattern and drew it out of tag board, then cut them out. This is nice because I can easily trace around with tailor’s chalk and then cut my fleece with a pinking wheel. Place the pattern pieces on the folded fabric with the central line on each piece following the “grain”. This will mean that the greatest stretch of the fabric will wrap around the foot/leg.
Because fleece doesn’t fray, you can cut it with a standard blade or a pinking blade, it doesn’t really matter. I like the pinking blade because I think it looks nicer on the inside, but sometimes it doesn’t cut quite as easily as my straight blade.
Sewing the Sock
First, decide which side of the fleece you want on the inside (wrong side). I usually use “anti-pill” fleece. For most projects I put the fuzzy side out, but for socks, I put the fuzzy side in. If you want to make life really easy, take your chalk and draw a big X on each piece on the side you’ve decided is the “inside”. (I do this on any project where the right/wrong side of the fabric isn’t blatantly obvious!)
Pin the back to the sole at the center and the notch marks with right sides together. Using a medium or large zig-zag stitch, sew very close to the edge around the heel from one notch mark to the other. Be sure to reinforce the stitching at either end. Keep a really close eye on the layers while stitching to ensure both sides catch, as you are creating a very narrow seam allowance!
Flatten the sole/back piece. With the heel “flap” facing down, match up the front to the back/sole, with right sides together.
Attach at the toe. I have pinned the center and each side. This is not as precise as the heel measure, but you want to sew from the toe back towards the heel, rather than around in one fell swoop. I cross the stitching on the front of the toe as a reinforcement. Starting at the top pin, sew around the toe and up towards the heel. When you get to the hell flap area, be extra careful to pull the junction area to the seam. reinforce about 1/2 inch on either side of that junction by reversing the stitch and going back over.
Because fleece doesn’t fray, you could be done now. It will roll a bit at the top, but I usually don’t hem the sock. If you want to hem the sock, turn over about 1/2 inch at the top and press with a cool iron.
Stich the hem with a zig-zag stich, gently stretching along the whole edge. Turn right-side out and enjoy!