August 28, 2010

Stockings Should be Changed Twice a Week

I know knitting takes a very long time. I also know that I have to change my stockings every day on I will die. Yes. Die. Okay, maybe I won't die, but I certainly wouldn't want to be in the same tent with myself. It seems impossible to me that even for gentile ladies , stockings were only changed two or three times a week as is suggested in the book The Lady's Guide to Perfect Gentility.

If you are a reenactor, you know how smelly the guys can be--you can smell them before you see them. In an effort to be authentic, many of them refuse to wash their clothing or socks, even in between reenactments. I always offer to wash their clothing as a public service but many refuse.

Back then laundry could be a weekly or even a monthly thing. I could not imagine waiting that long for a nice, clean, fresh smelling pair of socks. I don't think I can put a dirty pair of socks back on once I take them off. It sends shivers down my back. I think I'd be one of those people who were trying very hard to invent stocking knitting machines during the 1850s.   

For instructions for knitting socks from an 1860s Godey's Pattern, please check out this post: Civil War Era Socks From Godey's Lady's Book.


  1. WOW! Yes I can cure with the guys being smelled a mile away at events! The wool does that! :)

    Yes I love putting on a clean pair of stocking every day at events too! How they did it is probably because they did not have 4 pairs like I do I guess. Great post Stephanie! I enjoy info about their everyday lives in the civil war!

  2. I know what you mean about dirty socks! I only do day long events, and I *still* wash them after every event!

  3. Thanks Sophia, I sometimes wash them at night and hang them over my tent. :D I sometimes don't wash my dress if events are close together but I do wash my underpinnings, except my corset.

  4. Rebecca, I feel like I'd rather have enough socks instead of a fancy new dress if it came to that.

  5. if you never wear synthetic socks or trainers your feet will not smell bad!
    i´m wearing only wool socks and good leather shoes when i´m not bare feet - nylon tights and fancy shoes only a few times in year - so my feet do not stink and i wear the wool socks 3-4 the people in the history :-)


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