Embellished tights first popped into my orbit in 2017. I stumbled upon an incredible Etsy site with beautifully decorated fishnet tights. My first thought was “I need these!” These gorgeous tights were being sold for $200-500 -- way out of my price range. They were incredible though and I found myself searching for some that were more affordable.
Of course, as the cost went down, the quality went down as well. They were also still pretty expensive costing $50+ for a pair of tights. So I thought, maybe I could make them myself?
I ordered two pairs of fishnet tights to experiment with from iHeartRaves:
Nylon Fishnet Tights in Black for $3.95
Spandex Diamond Net Tights in White for $6.95.
I wanted to experiment with the various colors and the various styles of tights.
Once I had my tights, I took a look around my bedroom for some beads I could maybe use. If you’re like me, you’ve been collecting things like this since childhood, so I, of course, had a few bead kits to start. One was more neutral tones that I decided to pair with the white tights, and the other was blue hues which I decided to pair with the black tights.
From looking at various versions of these tights on Etsy, I knew that layering beads with things like flowers added to the elaborate designs, so next I set out to find some beading sequins and flowers to layer up for my tights. I was actually able to find a pack of sequins at the Dollar Store, but the flowers were harder to find. I had to go to the garment district in Downtown LA to find flower shaped sequins to layer.
The shop in Downtown LA was great and super reasonably priced. I bought 5 packs of little flowers for $1-1.50 each. So my total financial investment was less than $20 for both pairs of tights. Now onto the sewing.
Honestly, the only way I could figure out how to sew the tights was to be wearing them. I put on my tights and picked an area I wanted to add details to. I started with the white, larger diamond fishnet tights.
I tied the two pieces of string that are created after you thread a needle, into a knot at the end so that there was a loop. I found this was the best way to then attach the start of the thread to the tights. I would just loop through a piece of the tights then through the loop I created with the thread, on the needle creating a starting place.
I initially thought that I would want to tie each piece as I added it because it would make the tights lose their stretch if I was looping thread all around, but that was WAY too time consuming and I found it didn’t really matter. So as I added pieces to the tights I would just weave in and out of the tights to each new spot I wanted to sew something.
When sewing beads I would loop through a few times, whereas the trick for stacking flowers was to loop back into the flowers, and I’ll show how to do that below.
The white tights were much harder to sew because of how far away each little cross of the tights was. The beads I decided looked way too little too for this style, and I’d have to invest in some larger embellishments I think for this look to actually work. Next time I’m Downtown in the garment district I’ll take a look at what larger items they have to sew on and see if that’s worth it.
Next, I tried the black smaller fishnet holed tights.
Here is the process to sew layered pieces onto the tights. First I would pick what I wanted to layer, usually a larger flower, then a smaller one and sometimes a bead on top of that or even a sequin in between the flower layers. The trick then is to loop back through all of the layers EXCEPT the top one to hold them all in a nice stack.
Then the way to continue adding pieces is to sew in between the layers of tights just adding whatever you want as you go! I didn’t really stick to a full pattern but tried to space the stuff out nicely. Make sure to stand up halfway through your sewing and look in a mirror to make sure you’re sewing in the right areas. I noticed when I stood up that I was missing half of the side of my leg so I then moved to sew more that way.
So my review? I’ll be honest, this took FOREVER to do. The back pain was also not great as I hunched in weird ways to sew on my own legs. I don’t really like how the white tights turned out, for bigger fishnet tights I think I’d definitely need larger beads and flowers to add.
The black pair was much more fun to make since the sewing was smaller with the smaller holes of the tights. I think the small flowers also look OK with the smaller fishnet tights. They will look cute and textured with a black dress for a work event or holiday party, or with some little bottoms at a rave.
So overall? If you’re feeling creative and like to sew, go for it; they’re fun to make! I would recommend sticking to smaller fishnet tights and get some larger embellishments. I totally get now how a pair could cost $200! Lots and lots of hard work go into making each pair!