Under their dress, women wore stockings or hose that reached above the knee. The stockings were held up with garters below the knee. As it was rather bad mannered for a women to even show her ankles there are not many depictions of women stockings in the artwork... But here are a few:
The first picture shows peasant women warming themselves in front of a fire. (Among other things you'd rather not see) You can see them wearing stockings. (It even looks as if there is a striped cat with them at the fire.) As the woman in the second picture is being dragged by her hair, her dress is pulled back to reveal her black stockings. You can even make out the garters. The third picture shows a surviving example made from striped silk, which were a rather special pair, I'd guess. The fourth picture shows stockings (with garters) on a women who is about to hit her husband. According to H. Kohlhaussen (in Martin Schongauer - Handzeichnungen und Druckgraphik, Südwest Verlag, 1953), they are batteling over marital powers, the symbol of which are the pants/undies the violent wife is just about to don. The last picture is taken from a description of the month february in a housebook from Tübingen. The text mentions keeping warm, which makes me believe they are actually stockings and not shoes (fastenings are missing, also). The white upper edge might indicate that they were lined. (Also, note the position of the seam.)
September 6, 2009: My first pair of stockings was made from brown linen cloth and somewhat ill-fitting. And by now they have holes at the heels... So it was past time for making new ones. But I needed a new and better fitting pattern. So I 'borrowed' an old pair of socks from my husband, wrapped the foot in the sock with duct tape (to keep the sock from 'shrinking') and finally cut away both sock and duct tape right were I wanted to have the seems in the final pattern. Miraculously, it worked pretty well. I have now one pattern piece for the sole, one for the upper foot (the seam will run from the heel over the ankles as in the Tübingen picture above) and one for the leg (see pictures below).
The new stockings are made from some thick, woolen left-over fabric. Luckily it is not scratchy... Thanks to the new pattern they look far better around the foot. I will have to finish the seams by flattening the extra seam allowance to both sides and stitching it down.
November 08, 2009: I've finished sewing the woolen stockings a while ago and today I've finished a blue linen pair as well. I want to take some pictures and post them here as soon as I find the time to do so...
April 27, 2010: This has been a while... Fortunately, I've recently made myself a proper pair of garters and we've attended this years first medieval event the past weekend, so I finally can present my woolen and linen stockings properly: