DIY For Fit: Tights!
A little while ago I showed you a couple of DIY options for fancying up a pair of socks. What if a pair of tights are almost perfect, but there's something about the how they fit that doesn't quite work? We've got some options for common fit issues that should bring that almost-there legwear up to par.
Though we try to list as much information as we can in a product's Sizing Tips, what we can't convey with words is how something is going to fit your unique shape. Tights are one of the most finicky things to fit and, as they're not a returnable item because they have a crotch, one of the most frustrating to find have just one little thing wrong with the fit. We'll go over some of the most common tights fitting problems and the quick and easy solutions we Dreamers no longer hesitate to employ.
They “penguin” (the inseam is too short)
One of the most common problems with fitting tights is when they slide down, creating that ever-so-comfortable and flattering penguin effect. Though some folks (like me) find this happens with styles that have a double-seamed rear, the primary cause is inseam length. If you're leggier, or curvier and leggier, the manufacturer may not have calculated enough stretch to comfortably encase your legs and just getting tights all the way up, let alone keeping them there, is an infuriating challenge. There is the simplest solution for this: cut off the feet.
They won't be tights anymore (well, they'll technically be footless tights) and if they're a nice pair you may be hesitant—but if it's not comfortable to wear them, taking the chance means you'll more likely than not want to rock them instead of letting them languish in the back of a drawer. In our experience, pretty much any style of knit that tights are available in can handle being cut this way except for delicate and sheer nylon styles (the Opaque Tights are heavy enough to be fine), or styles that snag easily.
There are two different foot styles, and so two ways to approach this. With footed tights, like the EG Smith Leg Therapy Tights or anything by MP , you'll want to cut just above the formed heel. The pair of tights I'm showing you as an example are an MP pair that we no longer carry, I've had them for three years and have worn them maybe three times, but as footless tights I know I'm going to wear them a bunch more.
For tube style feet, like the styles offered by Foot Traffic and Leg Avenue, all it takes is a quick cut right above the toe seam. I like longer footless tights and hate hate hate the snug ankle band on most leggings, so taking scissors to a pair of Foot Traffic Combed Cotton Tights makes something I'll wear much more regularly.
But, you ask, how do they hold up in the wash? Below is how both styles I showed above handle being washed (in the washing machine on cold and in the dryer for maybe too long, because I'm awful with laundry). They hold up great! And now I have two pairs of footless tights that I'll love to wear, instead of a couple of things I'd forgotten I owned.
More quick DIY solutions for uncomfortable waistbands and what to do if they're just no good as tights any longer after the jump.
They go up too high or cut in at the waist
Another problem with tights is how generously high the waistband goes up on most styles. The past couple of years we've seen a dearth of low-rise options for tights and some styles have waistbands that go up far too high for my taste. Or, if the waistband does fall in an okay spot, it has that “underwear style” flat elastic that digs in. Well the same solution solves both problems, cut it off!
I buy my Erika Microfiber Tights a size too large, because it increases their opacity. But that means that their already high waist goes even higher. I tend to fold them down, but it's about time I got them sitting where I want. To do this, put the tights on and mark, with chalk or something like an eyeliner pencil, where you want the waist to sit. Remember! Measure twice and cut once. Cut areas of fabric will shrink as they curl, so it’s best to cut less and see how it looks—you can always cut more later. You'll have to excuse the scribbles, I just could not get a good and clear picture.
But how well do they stay up without the waistband? Depends on your body type, but more often than not tights hug close enough from toes to tops that the waistband only acts as insurance against them creeping down. As with any DIY for fit, you're altering to create something you'll actually wear and be comfortable wearing. For me, it's worth the risk.
They're just no good as tights any more
Maybe the crotch seam has busted, or the top was snagged, but what to do if you've a pair of tights that just don't do the job as tights any more? It's time for them to transform into raw-topped thigh highs! This is also a good trick if you're having trouble finding true thigh highs. All that is needed is to cut the panty section from the legs.
So, just because a pair of tights isn't rocking your world doesn't mean you can't transform them into something that will! Have you modded a pair of tights to your liking?