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Thread: Best stitch to alter an compression stocking?

  1. #1
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Best stitch to alter an compression stocking?

    DH needs one of his custom made compression stockings narrowed - it's falling down his leg thus not so much compressing anymore.

    The stocking has a seam that runs from the base of the foot to just above the knee. It's like a really firm densely woven control top pantyhose sort of fabric. I'm thinking of trying to measure how much needs to be taken in at various spots then cutting and stitching it back together.

    Of course, it's "contents under pressure" - so the stitch needs to be strong. I'd initially thought a flatlock seam using my serger would be great - it looks similar to the original stitching - but both serger books I have say it's a decorative stitch. I suppose I could use a satin stitch, or something maybe a tiny bit longer than a satin stitch, but I worry about running and compromising the stocking.

    Does anyone have another suggestion? Sending it back for alteration isn't an option and this one needs to last until September but it's the "nighttime" stocking rather than his daytime stocking, so there's a little leeway.

  2. #2
    Super Member Chasing Hawk's Avatar
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    Gosh, I wish I had an answer. My husband has to wear those socks too. Is there a way you can buy a pair to get him through to September?
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  3. #3
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    a Narrow triple stitch zigzag? It's a strong stich.
    Whatever you try shouldn't really hurt the stocking - since its not doing its job anyway.
    GrannyLady - Having too much fun dressing my grandaughters.

  4. #4
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    How about the stretch zigzag stitch? A ball point needle would keep the stitches from breaking when the stocking is stretched while putting it on.

  5. #5
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    BTW how id your hubby doing after last year's accident? Can understand him needing the compression stocking. Hope you are both doing well.
    GrannyLady - Having too much fun dressing my grandaughters.

  6. #6
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    I would not cut into the sock. I would add a line of zig zag stitching and leave the extra fabric where it won't wear on the leg. If he wears them under slacks it won't matter. If he wants to wear them with shorts, put it on the inside of the leg. The reason I wouldn't cut into them is you are going to get a run and there is a lot of tension on the seam and a regular sewn seam I don't think will hold.

  7. #7
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    I am assuming the stocking is a knee high. Is the whole stocking stretched out of shape or is it just the top that needs to be taken in to hold it up. Put it on,pull it up to the right height then use a safety pin on the outside to adjust it until you get it tight enough. You may need 2 pins and you may have to adjust it a few times till you get it tight enough. Does the stocking have a rubberized top? I had a pair of thy highs like that. They were fine when I first put them on but after they wouldn't stay up. I wouldn't sew and cut off to extra. If the pins work and he wears long pants you won't see it. This way your Dr will see what is happening and maybe have a better way to solve the problem. Sometimes a velcro strip will help but if you have a garter belt that works even better as it is adjusted at the waist

  8. #8
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chasing Hawk View Post
    Gosh, I wish I had an answer. My husband has to wear those socks too. Is there a way you can buy a pair to get him through to September?
    The problems with fitting a new one are that it requires Occupational Therapy to take the measurements with this snazzy measuring device they have - it's like a tape with a bunch of little measuring tapes mounted perpendicularly along the length of it - and an appointment in the summer is really tough to get, then the measurements are sent to a company in the US where the stocking is made, then sent back. The process takes about 3 - 4 weeks. In the meantime, he's still got falling down hosiery problems. Oh he'd be so thrilled to read this.

    Quote Originally Posted by SuzzyQ View Post
    a Narrow triple stitch zigzag? It's a strong stich.
    Whatever you try shouldn't really hurt the stocking - since its not doing its job anyway.
    Hmm,.. this might work, especially if I didn't cut the excess but maybe just rolled it to the side sort of like a jeans hem?

    Quote Originally Posted by SuzzyQ View Post
    BTW how id your hubby doing after last year's accident? Can understand him needing the compression stocking. Hope you are both doing well.
    He's doing really well considering the damage. The fact that the swelling is down enough that I need to alter the stocking is something I consider a good thing! Both stockings were created when the damaged leg was still bigger than the other leg. The damaged leg is now smaller than the other leg which indicates some muscle wasting but he's not having to fight constant swelling anymore. I'm doing fine as life is returning to semi-normal - mostly I'm just trying to get my stress level down now from being so high for so long. Typical symptoms - worn out, starting lots of stuff, not finishing anything, etc. Thanks for checking.

    Quote Originally Posted by quilttiger View Post
    How about the stretch zigzag stitch? A ball point needle would keep the stitches from breaking when the stocking is stretched while putting it on.
    Thanks for needle recommendation! Yes, I am thinking a stretch stitch or a 3 step zig zag is the way to go.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tartan View Post
    I would not cut into the sock. I would add a line of zig zag stitching and leave the extra fabric where it won't wear on the leg. If he wears them under slacks it won't matter. If he wants to wear them with shorts, put it on the inside of the leg. The reason I wouldn't cut into them is you are going to get a run and there is a lot of tension on the seam and a regular sewn seam I don't think will hold.
    The run factor was my biggest concern too! A short zig zag, like a little longer than a satin stitch do you think? 0.3 ish? I think that puts more thread there to hold rather than a longer stitch that has to hold more pressure per stitch... This particular stocking is mostly used for sleeping in or for when he's washing the other one, so I might just put the seam at the back with the other one - ie take up the old seam into the excess of the new seam. Are there any pitfalls in that?

    Quote Originally Posted by mumzer View Post
    I am assuming the stocking is a knee high. Is the whole stocking stretched out of shape or is it just the top that needs to be taken in to hold it up. Put it on,pull it up to the right height then use a safety pin on the outside to adjust it until you get it tight enough. You may need 2 pins and you may have to adjust it a few times till you get it tight enough. Does the stocking have a rubberized top? I had a pair of thy highs like that. They were fine when I first put them on but after they wouldn't stay up. I wouldn't sew and cut off to extra. If the pins work and he wears long pants you won't see it. This way your Dr will see what is happening and maybe have a better way to solve the problem. Sometimes a velcro strip will help but if you have a garter belt that works even better as it is adjusted at the waist
    The stocking goes to about 4 inches above the knee. The whole stocking is probably about the size it was, or a little stretched AND the top needs to be taken in. Strangely, the stockings don't have a rubberized top. I wondered if they might chafe with continual use. I've got some rubberized elastic though - the stuff with the bead of what looks like clear silicone on the backside - for taking in the top of both stockings and will test on the night stocking but the main concern on that same stocking is the bagginess in the whole length of the stocking. I fear the number of safety pins I'd need to use would risk the stocking quite a bit. I'd say at least 10 and they'd be under quite a load. I could compromise though, I could sew and not trim the excess. I suggested garters. He was having none of that.

  9. #9
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    I would NOT cut into the stocking. It will never be the same (ask me how I know). The advice about certain stitches is good; just choose which one seems to be the best for you. Good luck to both of you. You've both come a long way, so try to get your stress level down a bit more and enjoy each other.

  10. #10
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I wouldn't use a really strong stitch until you are sure you have taken it in the correct amount. If you take it in too much, especially at the top, it can cause problems. I had an elastic sock I used for plantar fascitis that was sliding down, so I sewed a zigzag on the outside of the sock to make it tighter. Took it in about an inch at the top (folded sock at seam and sewed half an inch in) and tapered it down. Sewing on the outside meant I didn't have to worry about cutting the sock or about having a hefty seam inside the sock to irritate my skin. However, taking it in an inch proved too much. It was comfortable, but it caused the varicose veins in my leg to pop out and inch after two continuous nights of wearing it. Thankfully, quitting the sock allowed my veins to go back to the way they were. Your type of sock is different but, if possible, I think you would be best off not cutting and simply using a plain stretch zigzag on the outside. Let your husband wear it that way for a day or two and then, if needed, you can take it in some more. Once you reach the right amount, that is when you might want to use a stronger stitch on the seam. Of course, sewing on the outside of the sock means your husband will need to wear long pants, but he probably is anyway.

  11. #11
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    Gosh, I know how you feel. I must wear compression hose, too. They cost nearly $100/pair. They have a buy two, get one free. I have tried to mend those I have (by hand) but then they're uncomfortable to wear. I usually get the holes in the big toe area. Mine are prescription and I'd be afraid any alteration would ruin the prescription. Don't know this for sure, though.

  12. #12
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carolynjo View Post
    I would NOT cut into the stocking. It will never be the same (ask me how I know). The advice about certain stitches is good; just choose which one seems to be the best for you. Good luck to both of you. You've both come a long way, so try to get your stress level down a bit more and enjoy each other.
    Thanks for that warning. I know I would have found out the hard way. We've definitely slowed down to smell the roses and appreciate the simpler things. We're definitely celebrating the baby steps too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99 View Post
    I wouldn't use a really strong stitch until you are sure you have taken it in the correct amount. If you take it in too much, especially at the top, it can cause problems. I had an elastic sock I used for plantar fascitis that was sliding down, so I sewed a zigzag on the outside of the sock to make it tighter. Took it in about an inch at the top (folded sock at seam and sewed half an inch in) and tapered it down. Sewing on the outside meant I didn't have to worry about cutting the sock or about having a hefty seam inside the sock to irritate my skin. However, taking it in an inch proved too much. It was comfortable, but it caused the varicose veins in my leg to pop out and inch after two continuous nights of wearing it. Thankfully, quitting the sock allowed my veins to go back to the way they were. Your type of sock is different but, if possible, I think you would be best off not cutting and simply using a plain stretch zigzag on the outside. Let your husband wear it that way for a day or two and then, if needed, you can take it in some more. Once you reach the right amount, that is when you might want to use a stronger stitch on the seam. Of course, sewing on the outside of the sock means your husband will need to wear long pants, but he probably is anyway.
    Thanks for this! I was planning on using the slightly tighter one as a template but sneaking up on the proper dimensions sounds like a good way to do it. There's a lot of scar tissue and skin grafts that I don't want to have a seam wearing against, so I will definitely approach it like you mention.

    You're right, he's wearing long pants for the most part but interestingly he's always been like that - to the point of his legs practically glowing when we went to Mexico a few years ago! - but he's wearing shorts more now at home because he got used to it when he was laid up.

    Quote Originally Posted by matraina View Post
    Gosh, I know how you feel. I must wear compression hose, too. They cost nearly $100/pair. They have a buy two, get one free. I have tried to mend those I have (by hand) but then they're uncomfortable to wear. I usually get the holes in the big toe area. Mine are prescription and I'd be afraid any alteration would ruin the prescription. Don't know this for sure, though.
    I don't recall what these ones cost but I think it's higher than that. They're working though and insurance is reimbursing us for most or all of it. That's helping a lot (other than cash flow of course) What is making them uncomfortable after mending? Is it the seam itself, the bulk if any that's left, something else? I have the same problem you have with socks. I often blow holes in the big toes of my socks. It's usually my toe nails that do it. If they get a little too long they cut the threads of the socks. I wonder if clipping the toes out of a regular sock and putting it in the stocking first would help?

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    Once you get it adjusted to the right compression, it still may not stay up. That's what happened with mine. I used a product called "It Stays" and it worked great for me. It comes in a bottle like a roll-on deodorant, and you just roll some on your calf and press the stocking onto it for a few seconds. It doesn't hurt the fabric or your skin and it washes off with water. It worked so well on my stockings that I started using it to keep those pesky bra straps from drooping. Not affiliated with this company, but I really like the product IMHO.

  14. #14
    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
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    It is recommended that they only be used for 6 months before re-newing so I suggest you have a look at the "use by" date before going to a lot of trouble. I have heaps of trouble with mine not staying up but have found the glue that Jobst produces to keep them up has solved the problem. A roll -on bottle costs about $22 in this country and it is called "It Stays". You should be able to buy it from the place you buy the stockings or the chemist/drug store. You don't need to use much. I use about 3 bottles per year.

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    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Strangely whenever we receive the stockings, they're basically a loose stocking in a shipping envelope - if sent by mail by the hospital - or handed to him opened. I suppose we can go by the date his CC was charged and add a week or so for the expiry date.

    Well, I received a PM that said that modifying the stocking could cause problems - ie blood clots if not well done, so I won't modify and will look into the roll on some more. The concern I have is how safe it is for a relatively new skin graft. I haven't been able to find ingredients in an admittedly short look - I found a funnel page for the product itself - didn't like that and then possibly a manufacturer link that showed me dealers in my area - mostly the medical aid shops.

    Thank you to everyone for your suggestions. I do appreciate it!

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    Archaic Arcane, yes, it's the stitching repairing the hole. Insurance does not cover any of this type of hose for me but I have to have them because of titanium heart valves.

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    I've faced this issue with knee braces. How about an old-fashioned (but maybe masculinized) garter belt? You can get the metal garter parts cheaply at JoAnn's Fabric. No warranty wrecked, hopefully, and he can adjust via the garter belt adjustment (like a bra adjustment) that you can build in. A garter belt has two garters, but maybe he needs four. Still, it's a cheap solution and an afternoon's work.

    If you do sew on the stocking, use a rounded point or ball point needle and, I agree, don't take the current seam out. I would not use a serger (I know you like vintage machines) because it is intended to cut the fabric. I would use a zig zag stitch if possible, one that takes smaller stitches in every zig zag, i.e., a stretch stitch.

    I hope he does better every day. Hang in there!

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    Quote Originally Posted by cricket_iscute View Post

    If you do sew on the stocking, use a rounded point or ball point needle and, I agree, don't take the current seam out. I would not use a serger (I know you like vintage machines) because it is intended to cut the fabric. I would use a zig zag stitch if possible, one that takes smaller stitches in every zig zag, i.e., a stretch stitch.
    Finally someone came up with the hint about the needle. That is very important when sewing on knits, and even more so with this application. I would sew a new line down the whole leg, making it narrower. That way, one line of sewing medium to large stitches would suffice.
    And everybody: cut those big toe nails. I don't have that problem anymore. My fungal nails don't grow, so don't cut up my socks. Ha ha!
    And good luck.
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    I would do the same as Tartan says with the stitch to ensure it is tight enough. Then, when that seam is in the correct place then cut and strengthen.
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