Making Stockings with Fabrics

While stockings can be painted using an airbrush, making them with real fabric-based materials (soft lint, real stockings or nets) will give a more realistic look. I think it has to do with the different shading you observe from looking at a layer that has real thickness and depth, instead of a layer of paint which is completely flat. Anyway after strolling for a few hours in a local Jo-Ann during a hunt for some unrelated materials, I thought of buying some fabrics and give it a shot. They are really cheap, too, especially when all you need is like 1/4 yard.

While there has been articles written by people who have tried to use coarser fabrics to make netted stockings, for my Capcom Lilith figure I’m building I wanted to use finer fabrics to create a pair thin stockings for her. The main challenge is that these fabrics are less flexible than nets, and can only be stretched in a very limited way. This article describes my experience, and as usual please feel free to offer suggestions if you have any, as I don’t feel that I’ve perfected the techinque yet.

First cut out a piece of fabric (duh). To be safe, it’s better to cut more than needed – I went with 50%, since for complicated shapes it’s not clear how the fabric can wrap around the object.

Then tape the fabric on a piece of clean paper and spray glue on one side. For many fabrics the two sides are different, so you want to make sure you’re spraying on the side you want. I used the 3M Multipurpose adhesive. It’s sufficient to spray one slow pass over the fabric, since it’s pretty strong, and you don’t want to soak the fabric. Moreover, the fabric I use is very thin, so it actually penetrates a bit already even though I’m just doing one pass. On the other hand, you want the glue to be covered evenly everywhere.

The next step is to decide where you want the seam line where the fabric joins each other to be. I tried to make the seam line as hidden as possible, but still it never hurts to have the kit hide it for you. For Lilith I chose to have it be the inside of her legs, following the contour where the two legs meet.

If you are wondering why I have some parafilm on Lilith (I’m sure you’re not ^_^), I went with a couple of failed experiments where I spray glue on Lilith first, then attach the fabric. I thought this would allow me more flexibility to adjust the fabric, and also I never really know whether the glue will soak the fabric too much and make it unworkable. Those fears turned out to be unfounded, it’s much more practical to put glue on the fabric first. It’s also much easier to undo your “fabrication” when you screw up.

Anyway after the glue is sprayed, wait about 10-20 seconds so that the glue will be more solid and tacky. Then lay the fabric alone the seam line – but go over a bit because we’ll be doing some cutting later.

Hold the fabric carefully, and remember to clean your hands in the beginning, since the fabric now sticks to everything including your hands. Last thing you want is to have dirt glued *inside* to your pretty transparent fabric!

You can also mask the part where you don’t want the glue to go on. However the glue can be washed away with turpentine (which does not damage Mr. Color – no idea about other brands), so I don’t feel it’s necessary.

Once the fabric goes on, gently press the surface so that the fabric will adhere to the model’s contours. You can’t just do it with pressing alone though, and there are areas where wrinkles will form. To get rid of them, lift the fabric a little and pull, until the wrinkle disappears. The glue is nice in that you can tack and untack it quite a few times (like 5-10 times) before it loses its tackiness. If you use Mr. Color, it stays on really well so you can be somewhat violent when you pull the fabric without damaging the paint layer. Once you level the wrinkles, continue the gentle pressing….
After I’ve done about 50% of the surface, I use some masking tape to mark the seam line.
Alright let’s continue with the fabric. On deep curves and grooves, a skewer stick can be used to get the fabric in.
The bent in the thigh is pretty difficult to get a level surface, because there are too much extra fabric around the area. In this case I tried to create natrual folds and wrinkles that’d normally appear in such areas. But I admit it was pretty damn hard to work with these areas…
Now that we’re almost wrapping the fabric around completely, time to take care of the seam. I made a cut alone the seam line. It’s not very important for this cut to be precise, as long as you more or less follow the seam line. In fact it’s better to leave a little masking tape along seam to act as cutting guide for the next cutting. The main purpose of this cut is to remove the extra fabric that were covered by the masking tape.
After the cut, I carefully pull the masking tape and the excess fabric away. There were bits of masking tape left over along the seam, that’s ok for now…
Now work the final stretch of fabric so that we completely wrap around her leg.
Fingernails can sometimes be used to push fabric into grooves.
Now I’ve wrapped the fabric over the seam line.
The groove between her butt and upper thigh was given some wrinkles.
At this point it’s safe to cut away the large areas of excess fabrics.
Now the important step of getting a nice seam line. Cut along where the two pieces of fabric joins together. The closer you cut to the seam the better it looks (duh).

As a sidebar, I’ve experimented with a method that creates a ridge from the two ends of the fabric. The ridge can be cut after the glue dries. With a very sharp knife and careful cutting level to the surface, you can get an almost perfect seam! However, I still haven’t thought of a way to reliably create such a ridge, so for now I’ll settle on something that works well albeit imperfect.

After the cut. The shin area looks better than the thigh, mostly because I didn’t care about the thigh, as the area is completely hidden in the kit.
Now using a sharp knife trim off the excess fabric from other parts of the kit. I was prepared to do some touch up later on her boots and suit, so a little damage to the paint is ok.
At this point you can still do a little adjustment on the fabric. I found that her butt area had some unwanted wrinkles, so I pulled them away… more like “pushed” to beyond her butt.
Now I trimmed off the excess as before, and viola!

If you get some dirty glue on the stocking, you can either wipe them away gently with a water-soaked q-tip, or you can use masking tape to tack them out. Or you can use a skewer to gently scratch the surface to loosen them.

If you find that you’ve screwed up, you can try pulling the fabric off and see if you can do it. If the tack is very strong, you can soak the part in turpentine for about 20-30 minutes, and the fabric will come right off and you can wipe the glue and start over. Turpenoid may be a safer alternative, but I haven’t tried it to see if it works. Turpentine is really a pretty nasty solvent 🙁

There’s a bit of glue residual on the surface if you look carefully at the pics below. I bit of scrubbing with detergent and toothbrush gets rid of most of it.


  1. You posted that you’re not sure it shows enough to be worth it, but I have to say it looks fantastic, and I noticed the fabric texture before I read the post. Thanks loads for documenting this for others to try (even if you don’t do it again)!

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