Tonight Eleanor and Katherine of Glastonbury came over and patterned stockings - with duct tape! There was also quite a lot of giggling.
Eleanor led the process, having patterned using this method before. First she showed us what to do by using Katherine's leg as a model, and enlisting my help for marking in the foot patterning, then once Katherine was done, she took a turn at duct taping/patterning Eleanor's leg.
To make a stocking pattern using duct tape, you need to get a plastic bag that will fit over your lower leg, or wrap your lower leg in gladwrap. Tape into place with duct tape. Then keep wrapping and taping the leg until it is covered. Once this has been achieved, mark in the centre back seam line with a nice vivid, then mark in where you want the foot shaping to go - obviously this will differ depending on your particular style/century. Since we were patterning for 16th century style hose, we went with the single flat sole piece with "wings" (small triangular darts coming up from the sole, to just over the ankles). Then you (carefully) cut down the centre back seam line to release the foot, and cut around the remaining seam lines.
This part of the process was surprisingly speedy - it only took about 20 minutes to cover a leg, mark in lines, and cut the shape off. Bits that made it slightly slower were being ticklish (hence the giggling), inaccurate duct taping/foot placement, and scissors going gummy.
After cutting off the pattern, it is very important to stop and look at it for a while, and to compare foot/leg shapes.
This is a mostly-safe process: the duct tape is rigid enough that one can fairly safely slide the scissors down between leg and skin to get the pattern off. Admittedly, while watching the duct tape being stuck on, I may have passed comment that I was glad neither lady was a nurse - this inevitably led to the only mishap of the evening, where one lady promptly missed cutting the duct tape entirely and attempted to cut into her finger instead. Fortunately the scissors were gummy and she was laughing so hard that she missed.
The next step of the patterning is to flatten out the duct tape shape and transfer it to fabric - but as it was getting quite late on a week night, it was decided to save this until next time.
The ladies being reduced once more to hysterical bouts of laughter upon my reading out the journal entry, we shall leave you... until next time!