Cozy Socks From Polarfleece Blanket




About: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output devices. His detailed drawings of traditional Pacific...

Make yourself a pair of cozy socks from polarfleece in less time than it takes to read this.
I used a fleece blanket I found on the street. An airline blanket would work fine, or any fleece garment that doesn't fit you.

There are a few tricks to this project:
Make a paper pattern so you can refer to the pattern and evolve your next pairs of socks to perfection.
Fleece stretches more in one direction than the other. Put the stretchy direction around your foot.
Stretch the cloth while doing zigzag sewing - then the seams will stretch with the cloth later.
Sew the zigzag seam so the needle overshoots the edge. That binds the edge.
If your thread tension is low you can pull the seam around so it looks whipstitched butt-to-butt and lies flat.

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Step 1: Stretch Test

Fleece stretches a lot more in one direction than the other.
This particular blanket stretches most in the direction of the stripes.
So I'll make my socks with the stripes around the legs.

Step 2: Make Paper Patterns

Here's what my patterns look like.
There's a sole, a back, and a "vamp" which is the long part that covers the instep of the foot.
The size of the cloth pieces will just match the diameter of each part of the foot they cover.
No seam allowance is necessary.

Step 3: Mark the Cloth

These patterns nest together nicely to waste minimum cloth.
Use a sharpie marker or anything else.
Permanent is okay, the lines won't be visible on the finished socks.

Step 4: Cut Out the Pieces

I'm cutting two layers of blanket here.
The fleece sticks together nicely, so if you're confident you can cut out two or more layers at once.

Step 5: Sew the Heel Seam

Lay the sole on the back piece(or vice versa).
Set your sewing machine on the widest zigzag stitch it makes.
Thread tension can be low, stitch length long.
The type of thread doesn't matter.
Sew along the edge of the cloth so the needle straddles the edge of the cloth on every zag.
That will bind the edge of the seam.
Pull on the cloth as shown to stretch it. That will make a seam that also stretches when it is done.

Step 6: Sew the Side Seam

Lay the piece you just made on the vamp piece(or vice versa).
Sew them together the same way you did the heel seam.

You don't need to hem the top of the sock, it won't unravel.
Hem the top of the sock if you want, or trim it with whatever exotic furs you have handy.

Enjoy your cozy new socks!
Make a whole lot of them and invite your friends to go winter camping!

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    20 Discussions


    2 years ago

    made a pair, a bit larger than stated and my husband stole them from me, been wearing inside snow boots for extra warmth, so I made 6 new pairs to share. Now everyone wants a pair. Even used old sweat pants, no waste here.

    Great pattern thanks


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Do you happen to know how I can add a little elastic to the top to make them fit better? I'm planning on making some thigh high socks and your tutorial seems simple enough that I can do it myself.

    3 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Hi, I'm not TimAnderson, but I'll reply anyway... :)

    You sew a hem at the top, and when you do that, you can sew an elastic into it. This can be done in several ways. I figured I'd find you a video about it - this shows 7 ways to use elastic:

    But in short: First determine how long the elastic has to be and cut it with a little piece extra for overlapping. Overlap it and sew it together lying flat using a wide but short zig zag stitch, so you have a circular elastic that fits your leg comfortably. Mark the sock top in 4 equal parts, do the same on the elastic. Then fasten the elastic to the inside edge of the top of the sock, at those 4 points. You can then fasten also in the middle of these points too, so you have it divided into 8 parts. Then I would begin sewing the elastic onto the inside edge. Stretch the elastic and fabric as you sew it on using a zig-zag seam (remember, it has to be comfortably wide enough to pass over your heel without breaking the thread/seam, so stretch enough!). Then fold the hem over once or (even better/prettier) twice and stitch it down using either a zig-zag or an elastic straight seam (which on most machine is a very narrow zig-zag) or you can use either a twin/triple needle (or cover stitch machine if you have one) or an elastic decorative seam. Whatever you prefer. I would pick a quite soft elastic for comfort and also not a very narrow one. I would have gone for one that is around 3/8"-1/2" (1-1.3 or 1.5cm). The reason why I wouldn't pick a real narrow one, is that it easily can dig into your calf/ankle if you sometimes get a bit of swelling, e.g. during a flight (that is a good time for such comfy socks!). Not comfy with socks with narrow elastics. Personally I would NOT want any elastic at all, in general I have had very little problems with socks riding down, even if they have no elastic. With most socks today made with elastan/lycra/spandex, they in general stay in place nicely without any elastic. And it has the added bonus that if your feet swell, you don't get any marks at all! I would for sure make a pair without elastic first and give it a try to see... You can always add an elastic later... Good luck! :)


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Quite the wall of text. Currently I'm heading to bed but I will read this over in the morning. Thanks for replying though! :D


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I know it's been a couple of months, but I thought I'd reply in case you haven't gotten around to trying all that stuff above. Make it easy on yourself and use fold-over elastic (commonly used in lingerie) - you can find it in tons of colors and patterns...Just google it and you'll see several places to buy.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I'm going to serge my socks using decorative thread with the intent to have the seams on the outside for extreme comfort.

    Your socks are a great idea and you can make many from a small amount of material. With the stretch in the direction around the leg, then pulling up on the sock probably form fits it around your calf and leg. Nice idea!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    An Overlock/Serger machine would work best If you have one but the zig-zag stitch works well.

    I will have to try this as all my socks seem to be disappearing.

    One question I have is do they slide/roll down on you or do they stay up?

    2 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    they stay up fine. usually fleece stretches more in one direction than the other. Put the stretchy direction AROUND your foot.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    yeah, getting the stretch right is crucial... no problems with them sliding down at all. i've got an old airline blanket and am going to crank some more out. it took me a while to get my pattern right. but i traced it onto some interfacing for multiple reuses. i've got a serger, but the zig zag on the machine is more comfortable to wear, especially with the seam on the inside. thanks again!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    fantastic! this looks really easy, the part about finding the blanket on the street is going to be difficult but once i find it! lookout! i've reposted your instructions on my blog on making stuff - mostly presents at this point.

    (i'm wearing a pair of store bought fleece socks and they don't have/need elastic but there is a "hem" )


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I made some socks this morning, and wore them all day. They're nice and warm. Here's the socks and the pattern I used - I ended up making the pattern twice because I'm picky about fit.

    2 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Excellent! Those look good. We're in Belgrade hitchhiking to Istanbul. It's getting warm as we get south, and I'm starting to give socks away. People seem to like them a lot.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Haha, that's real cool. Just one question in the first picture the seams are on the outside, how does it feel with them on the inside?


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I made these socks with felted merino wool and cashmere sweaters, and they turned out great! Here they are are on my blog:


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    doesn't seem to "instant" but kick ass none-the-less, was there any kind of elasticity in the top portion to keep it from going down to your ankles?