Wednesday, January 23

Never throw away your old socks.....

Just to explain.....

Ever since merino wool underwear came on the scene several years ago, I have been a fan. I'm sure that wool underwear is actually nothing new, but I always thought that wool next to the skin must be very itchy until I tried merino and discovered that it was amazingly comfortable.

I have four merino tops now, one which I bought from Vulpine (before they went bust), one is from Finisterre, one is some unknown Chinese make that Elder son gave me, and one is a heavier weight Smartwool one (also given to me by Elder Son). The problem with the Chinese one and the Finisterre one though is the length of the sleeves - they are not long enough for me. It is only in recent years that I have realized I have long arms, and it drives me nuts when a supposedly long sleeve creeps half way up my forearm underneath the other garments that I wear on top.

So, necessity is the mother of invention, and I thought - how can I lengthen these sleeves? Answer - with old socks. These particular socks are not actually that old, but annoyingly, considering they were not cheap (bamboo ones from Bam Clothing) they have worn out at the heels and would have taken ages to mend (I think a Singer stocking darner, an attachment for a sewing machine that enables you to quickly darn thinner socks, would have come in handy!). I'd hung onto them knowing they'd come in useful for something.

All I did was sew the upper part of the sock to the end of the sleeve -

It does the job perfectly! No more sleeves riding up my arms. I have done it on both the tops where the sleeves were too short. On the other top I used the main body of the sock, hemming one end.

This particular top (it's the Chinese one) was also too short in the body, and would barely stay tucked in. A long back, or just long all round (the Smartwool one is lovely and long) is particularly important when cycling. For this I used the ends of some leggings which I had already chopped off below the knee in order to be able to get them on more easily under my cycling tights, which are not warm enough in the winter without a second layer underneath.

In order to have the knitted grain direction matching that of the top, I had to cut across each leg and re-stitch them together, to make a long strip to go round the top. It's not the neatest of needlework but it does the job and it's not going to be seen anyway!

It's very satisfying doing this kind of job - making something much more wearable.

I always hang on to old socks now...... there's always a use for them!


  1. Ingenious solution! I have arms that are apparently too short for most clothing. Hemming is certainly easier than adding length. As an alternative, I've had a lot of success with the Fehr Trade 'Surf to Summit' pattern and merino jersey.

  2. I think it would be sensible to make ALL sleeves on sporting garments longer as they can then, as you say, be hemmed if desired, or just left. I find sleeves that are too short much more annoying than ones that are too long.
    That pattern looks interesting, although I can't see me ever making such garments - although never say never....

  3. [This is actually Elder Son's comment - for some reason we haven't been able to work out, his comments never get to my "Awaiting moderation" folder.]

    "Wow! great idea! And what is nice is you can make the sleeve extensions a bit of a snugger fit with the right sock choice, so that they seal in the arm / around the wrist, without the rest of the sleeve being too tight against the upper arm or forearm."

    1. Yes Elder Son! My ankle socks have proved to be just the right size for my wrists. And by the way, just in case you're thinking about it, any such work done for you by moi will cost a lot of bottles of port.

  4. That's good idea. Years ago my mum knitted me some little cuffs to keep a newly mended broken wrist, the nurse said to keep it warm to stop arthritis setting in. So I had lots of different coloured cuffs to match whatever jumper I was wearing, you could hardly notice them but they did a great job stopping it hurting in the cold. I occasionally wear them now when its really cold. x

    1. Yes, I sometimes wear cut off socks just as extras to keep my wrists warm. Keeping your wrists warm keeps the fingers warmer too.

  5. What a wonderful solution! Many garments are too short in the arms, whether you're long-limbed or not, mainly because we're stretched out over the handlebars. Like you I usually eschew cycling specific garments, so you've come up with an adaptation that's brilliant.

  6. dont know why these havent been coming thrugh to me, That is a really good use of old socks, I love merino too and get mine when and if Aldi get them as they are such good value and wash well

  7. I've looked at Aldi's too (not that I need any more) but having read a lot about the provenance of some merino wool I'd want to check up on the way theirs is produced before buying from them.

    Do you mean you've not getting notification by email when I publish a post?


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