Today I’m showing you how to sew socks.
Living in a place with chilly weather, socks are a non-negotiable wardrobe item. What I don’t love is the price of socks or how tough it can be to find socks that fit my small feet. Hand knit socks are a great thing, but if you’re like me, you might be all thumbs with yarn. Instead, I set out to create a sock I could make from my abundant fabric scraps of knits that I have hanging out in my stash.
What I ended up with are extra warm, cozy socks so comfy you’ll want to fill your drawer with them. That they only take about 30 minutes to sew up/pair makes this a sustainable for your life sort of project that’s a great way to keep you warm to boot. These things are destined to be your favorite pair of socks.
So print out the free sock pattern below, and let’s get to sewing your own socks.
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How to sew socks supplies
- Free sock pattern (see below)
- ¼ yard knit fabric of choice
- 80/12 universal machine needle or 75/11 stretch needle (for spandex knits)
- Wonder clips or other sewing clips
- Sewing scissors or a rotary cutter
- measuring tape
- hand needle
Get the free pattern
Download the free sock pattern when you sign up for my newsletter below. If you already get my emails, download the pattern from the Resource Library.
Pattern seam allowance
The seam allowance of the free sock pattern is 1/4”. It’s meant to be sewn on a regular sewing machine. If you have a serger, you can use that instead, but I personally don’t like the feeling of the serged seam against my feet.
What kind of knit fabric should I use for DIY socks that I sew?
Do not used woven fabric for socks. For socks, you must use knit fabric (i.e. stretchy fabric). But your fabric doesn’t need to be too stretchy to be ideal for sock making.
There’s a lot of different choices here, and there’s room to experiment. Here’s my favorites:
- French terry
- Cotton interlock
- Specialty fleeces such as Polartec Power Grid or Polartec Power Stretch (I have these around because of the base layer gear I sew for myself. They’re lightweight, cozy and keep you warm).
- Upcycled sweaters or even an old t-shirt
- Sherpa fleece with an interlock cuff (makes for cozy slipper socks!)
- Sweatshirt fleece as long as it has a decent amount of stretch. The blue I’m using is from Fashion Fabrics Club from a while back, and it is not as thick as other sweatshirting, and it has about 20% stretch.
A couple caveats:
- I would say go for a 95/5 cotton spandex, but I’m not sure how these will wear. I’m concerned about them getting dirty fast and getting holes quickly. If you make these with a fun cotton spandex, let me know in the comments how they work for you.
- Sewing socks from fleece is really tempting because it’s so warm, but there’s a couple problems. It’s really thick which will create a lot of bulk in the seams. Also, most fleeces from fabric stores don’t have a lot of stretch to them. If you want to sew fleece socks, go for a specialty fleece like Polartec Power Stretch.
How to sew socks step-by-step instructions
Prep your free sewing pattern and cut out the pieces
First, print out your pattern and cut it out with a pair of paper scissors.
Cut out your pieces per the pattern.
There are 4 pieces to this pattern:
- Top piece for the top of the foot
- Bottom piece for the bottom of the foot
Pay attention to the stretch direction arrows. You want to make sure that the stretch of the fabric will go AROUND the foot.
How to adjust the pattern for fit
Check the length of the bottom sock piece. This pattern was designed for my foot which is a size US size 6, though I think with the stretch of your fabric it’ll fit a slightly bigger foot.
I realize most people have bigger feet than that, so add length along the line as you need. To do this, measure your own foot vs. the pattern. If you need a larger size, simply add what you need along the “add length” line.
Getting ready to sew
For the next step, lay out the pattern pieces on a table so you can visualize how they will go together. The top sock piece requires that you sew a couple inside corners, which might look weird at first glance. I tell my sewing students that sewing sometimes make you think inside out and upside down. So for you visual learners, don’t skip this step. It helps you know where everything will go as you sew.
Set your machine for a narrow zigzag stitch (0.5mm width, 2.5mm length).
Sew the bottom sock
Stack the bottom sock pieces right sides together. Sew along the bottom of the foot with a quarter inch seam allowance.
Sew the top sock to the bottom sock
Line up the fold of the top sock with the seam on the back of the heel.
Use your sewing clips to hold the bottom of the top sock piece to the top of the bottom sock piece.
Starting from one of the long edges, sew the two layers together. When you get to one of the square corners, stop right where the seams will intersect.
This is the corner, and it’ll be 1/4” from both edges.
Leave your needle down, then pivot to keep sewing. Be sure to line up the raw edges carefully as you pivot.
Keep sewing, and when you get to the next corner, stop again and pivot.
When you’ve gone around all the corners, finish off by sewing along the length of the foot. It should look like this.
After this, match the right sides together of the top edge of the sock. Sew the top of the sock together with a 1/4” seam allowance. It’s starting to look like a sock!
Sew the sock cuff
Fold the cuff in half along the fold line and press.
Open up the cuff and match the unpressed edges together. Sew down this edge through both layers with a 1/4” seam allowance.
Fold the wrong side of the cuff on itself along the fold so that the raw edges are even.
Thread up a hand needle and baste the raw edges of the cuff together.
Sew the sock cuff to the sock
Pop the cuff inside the top of the sock with right sides together.
Sewing with the cuff side up, sew the cuff to the sock all the way around the cuff.
Remove the basting thread.
Sew the sock toe
Stack the toe pieces right sides together, then sew around the curved edge.
Put the toe inside the sock with right sides facing and raw edges matching. Sewing with the toe side up, sew the toe to the sock all the way around the toe. Press the sock to finish.
Now that you have one entire sock finished, repeat all the steps to complete your pair of socks.
Optional seam finishing
If you find that the edges of the socks are uncomfortable on the inside, consider pressing all of your seams to one side and stitching them down. It’ll make the seam a little stronger, and they’ll be a little more comfortable to wear. Just be sure to stitch down with your narrow zigzag so that the stitches won’t pop as you wear your socks.
And that’s how to sew a sock from knit fabric. Make them up in a bunch of different colors, then kick back and enjoy your new cozy homemade socks!
Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.