**NOTE: I write a lot! I find it's easier if a tut has more text than less!**
I love backseam stockings. However, true back seams cost a tremendous amount of money because of the manufacturing process. Being a girl on a budget, I resort to mock seam stockings (looks like a back seam stocking, but the seam is false and the stocking is one piece not two). And these are still $10-15 a pair, and poorly made! I end up catching a run after a couple uses. So I scoured the internet for mock seam tutorials, to no avail. I ended up figuring them out myself, and figured I'd share XP Practice on some old tights or stockings before you try to use nice hose!
**These need a garter belt or garter to stay up and for the seams to stay straight! The pictures can't be fully seen unless clicked! You need to to see the detailed pictures.**
First, lay out your pantyhose. Make sure that the legs are flat! Then, take your scissors and cut just beneath the crotch. This may seem too long to make thigh-high stockings, but the stocking will shrink a bit after you stitch them. Plus, you can still trim them later if needed. Better to have too much than too little!
**You may also save the top waistband of your pantyhose to make matching garters, depending on the size of your upper leg (this is what I did).
With your iron set to *LOW* or *SYNTHETIC/NYLON* (don't want to melt 'em), iron your stockings flat, toe seams laying verticle on the ironing board.
Now, fold the stockings flat with a quarter turn, so the toe seam goes horizontally up stocking and across ironing board. Really, really, REALLY try to get the stocking flat, the ironed crease is where you sew your final back/mock seam.
Pin the stocking on the crease. I only pin every few inches, if at all, because the pins tend to slip and slide all over the sewing machine and nylon stocking.
Adjust your stitch and stich length on your sewing machine. You want a zigzag stitch with quite a small stitch length.
The idea is to zigzag half on half off the stocking's crease. The stitch will catch itself on the back of the stocking, creating that lovely back seam effect. You want the stitch length small so that the seam isn't too large and bumpy.
*My sewing machine is a Janome Sewist 580 or 508 (something like that), and my settings were option C and stitch length between 0 and 1. Check your machine's manual if you do not know how to set stitch or length.
Time to start sewing! Half on, half off the stocking, remember? Start a few centimeters away from the top so the stocking doesn't snag into the machine and tear, like the center image. You can just eyeball it :) Make sure you pull the stocking to stretch while sewing, otherwise the seam will rip and your stocking when you put them on. Stretching the stocking lets it stretch with your leg :)
I tend to pull from the back AND the front of the stocking to get a nice even stitch, while taking pins out as I go. *Also note, you need a good level of taughtness to give stretch and even stitches, but this does not mean pull the stocking through in a fast, hasty manner. This will lead to the opposite of you want, giving you irregular spacing between stitches and nasty lumps. Not good!
Your seam should look similar to this as you move down the stocking.
Sew to a few inches above the toe seam. You can sew all the way, but the stitching tends to rub and blister the ball of the foot, especially if you're wearing heels. Ouch!
Repeat steps 1-8 to your other stocking.
When you finish, your seams will look all wonky and wavey. It's okay! As long as you wear some form of support (strong garters/garter belt) they will straighten.
Flip your stockings inside out. Pull them onto your legs (nice and tight!) keeping your seams straight in the middle of your leg. Trim if necessary or desired.
From here, you can hem them. I don't, because they seem to hold up fine. If you need reassurance, here are a few ways to do it:
1. Use clear nail polish or Fray-Check and dab all over top edge and let dry. Done!
2. Use the same zigzag stitch you used for the seam around the top edge. Still stretch. Done!
3. Fold over the top edge two times, so no raw edges show. Using a wider zigzag, stitch around edge while pulling. This makes it harder to use a garter belt, depending on how wide you make your hem. Done!
Put on your garters or add your garter belt and you're ready to wear your spiffy new stockings. Yay!
And don't worry, if it seems to take you a long while to do it the first few times, that's all right. As you get the hang of it, it'll take less and less time.
Thanks for reading, comments/constructive criticisms are welcome!