Tips and Tricks: Nylons and Backseams
As many of you have learned through unfortunate accident, nylon stockings, especially 100% nylon styles, are very delicate. Careful care in wearing, washing and storage can help extend your stockings’ life.
If you’re particularly prone to snags, check your nails (fingers and toes!) for sharp spots and fix them with a file, then add a little lotion to any dry or rough areas of skin. You want to try and reduce the snaggable variables. It is a special kind of infuriating to realise you’ve made a run in your stocking just by putting it on! We used to carry awesome, super smooth gloves for putting on stockings, but they are no longer made so we can no longer offer them. But if you (like me) know you need all the help you can get in preventing snags, even simple satin gloves can help.
Yanking isn’t the nicest way to shove your legs in any sock and for nylon stockings that is especially true. Carefully gathering the stocking up onto your thumbs (the thin nature of nylons makes this pretty easy), gently slip your toes in and ease it up around your heel. From there on out it’s pretty simple, letting the nylon slip from your fingers as it encases your leg. Once your stockings are up, use a careful touch and the pads of your fingers to ease the seam into lining up.
A great tip for encouraging those back seams to line up is putting a dot of sock glue at the back of your heel, sort of anchoring it in place. Since sock glue is water-soluable, if you fear damage to your stockings while removing them, just lightly dampen the area you've glued before removing your nylons.
Since it can be hard to check how lined up you are (because twisting to look at the back of your leg twists your leg too, throwing everything off) sit yourself down and use a small mirror on the ground, or in your hand, to check the straightness of that seam.
It’s best to respect the stocking’s fibers and listen to how much they want to stretch. Sometimes a stocking wants to be an OTK, or just hang out in the middle of your thigh, not go all the way up to the top your leg. Pulling hard at the cuff and shortening garter belt suspenders too much will put undue stress on your stockings. Not, like, emotional stress—they are just bits of nylon—but when every fiber is pulled to its max from your toes up your leg, something’s gotta give and it’s going to be the integrity of your stockings.
What about washing and storing? And what if you do get a run? Some more tips and tricks after the jump!
After a long day of work making your legs even more amazing, nylons deserve to relax and shake off the dirt of the day as much as any hard working person. Sometimes they just need to air out, but if it’s time for a wash remember to do it carefully, as we’ve shown you here before. Remember those gentle “kitty paws” in a bowl of suds and squeeze but never wring!
After they’re dry and ready to be put away, stockings need a safe place to rest. No snaggy wooden drawers or anything that might have a hidden jabby something that will destroy your stockings just by existing near them. There are some great options in this post from Behind the Curtain (where, sadly, she links to those gloves for putting on stockings that we used to carry) and I love the idea of making boxes for soxes. Stockings, I mean. But I am not that fancy a person, so I personally go for the plastic sandwich bag option. They’re clear so I can see which pair is what, they’re smooth so the stockings can’t get snagged and they’re tough so nothing else can get at ‘em.
Now, if you’ve got a run, there is a classic stand by: clear nail polish. Nylon is a man-made (frankly, kind of plastic, but like magic plastic) fiber and nail polish loves to stick to stuff like that. This works best if the stockings are as stretched as they’d be on your leg, so before you dot a little polish around the edges of the run (and make sure you get all the edges!), protect your leg with a piece of paper or stretch the stockings over something smooth and plastic (shampoo bottles work a charm). That way you can gently disengage the area with wet polish before it fully dries, preventing it from sticking to something (like your leg) and ripping even more when you try to remove it. Don't stretch or pull them too hard, though! That'll just encourage the run to grow. Like any time you deal with stockings, be gentle.
Now, I’ve also heard that a dusting of hairspray on your stockings before wearing helps toughen the fibers and prevent snags. Have you tried this, does it work? What other tips do you have for stocking care?