Evil in the Wardrobe

By Kate Sekules
September / October 2021

I wrote this very potted miniature version of my masters thesis, about late-19th century stocking darns, for Selvedge issue 102 "MEND Darn, Patch & Repair."

Since nearly the whole thing is behind a paywall, you can read it here. It begins:

"Have you ever darned a stocking? If you are under 90, probably not. Conceivably, you have never owned a stocking, let alone repaired it. But even now, the archaic act of stocking darning remains a powerful image, quintessentially female and domestic, the very opposite of stocking-adjacent accoutrements: suspenders, fishnets, garters, and the like. The stocking darn holds a special spot in domestic iconography, but never more so than in the late-nineteenth century, when whether and how you darned your stockings was freighted with especially grave significance. Consider the dominant role these flimsy tubes of knit fabric played in a woman’s wardrobe throughout the nineteenth century, and for many decades on either side..."

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