1950s | Vintage Sewing

Sometimes we knit retro, too

By on November 11, 2012

Here are two 1950s patterns I’ve knitted up this year: the droplet bolero and the bias-knit sweater.

The bolero was knitted using a re-issued version of the original pattern which had been graded into multiple sizes: normally I would just have knitted the single original size, but here I actually had the luxury of taking it down a size to fit me better.

The droplet pattern is basically a variation on a standard bobble pattern: you cast on five stitches at once at the base of the bobble, then gradually decrease the extras over several rows as you go up to produce a teardrop shape rather than a round one. The front and back have a zigzag droplet yoke – the sleeves have a straight strip of droplets all the way to the cuff.

The last rose of summer

The bias-knit sweater was knitted from a scan of the original pattern: see The Vintage Pattern Files. I didn’t alter the pattern, but I did change the colour scheme quite a few times! If I’d had more wool, I shouldn’t have used quite so many colours… but in fact, the end result was actually an improvement.

Click on pictures for larger images

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1950s | Blouses | Shirts

Sometimes I knit retro too!

By on September 28, 2012

Sewing is fun but sometimes knitting vintage patterns is fun too! I knit this sweater from a pattern from A Stitch in Time Vol. 2 which is a book full of vintage knitting patterns from the 30s, 40s and 50s that have been rewritten using modern needle sizes, thread sizes and knitting terms. I paired it with a circle skirt I made using a vintage 50s pattern from a magazine and I embroidered it.

I adore the ribbon bow detail!

Yay knitting! My Ravelry page for this project is here. More details can be found on my blog.

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We Knit Retro, Too! Bernat 5330 (1945), take 1

By on September 11, 2012

My latest retro sewing project is still bogged down in pattern alteration, although I think I’m past the worst of it and can begin doing actual sewing again.

Meanwhile . . . some of us knit retro, too.  Honestly, of all of us who knit retro, I probably do it least, but everybody has to start somewhere.  I started with Bernat’s Handknit Classics from 1945:

I wanted a basic v-neck sweater vest, and they had one:

Okay, yes–I know that that’s a four-year-old boy and I’m a thirtysomething woman, but the directions have sections for children’s, ladies’, and men’s sizes and knitting instructions for most of the designs, so there was a version meant for me, as well.

I had to psych myself up for this.  I’ve never knitted anything more complicated than a diagonal dishcloth before, and this involved stuff like shaping and picking up stitches.  Scary stuff.  It also involved math, because the original pattern was mean for sport-weight yarn and I’m cheap: I buy what I can get with a 40%-off coupon at Michael’s, and they mostly sell worsted and bulky weight.  I went with worsted because I don’t really like bulky and bulky didn’t come in real wool, and bulky would have involved even more math than did worsted since the worsted was closer in size to the original recommended yarn.  Actually, the sizing worked out fine: I just knitted a size 12 (bust 30) with a little added length, but since the gauge was larger it came out as a size 16 (bust 34).

The yarn is Paton’s Classic Wool in Chestnut Brown, which is really more of a . . . I would say Van Dyke brown?  It’s a dark and very brown brown, without any reddish cast.  Earthy brown, I guess.  I found it very easy to use; it didn’t get fuzzy with handling and it didn’t split on the ends of my needles, even at a relatively small gauge.  I used Susan Bates QuickSilvers in US 5 for the body and Yarnology in US 3 for the ribbing.  I like the QuickSilvers because they’re just enough less slippery than anodized aluminum needles, but don’t snag like bamboo needles sometimes do, and have fine points.

In addition to being cheap, I’m lazy, so I converted it to knit in the round until I had to divide to shape the armscyes.  So . . . I was worried about getting the pattern to work, but not so worried that I wouldn’t cut at least one little corner.  Once I got past the knitting in the round part, though, I was basically knitting in blind faith that, if I followed the directions, I would magically end up with a sweater vest, because Bernat said so.

Miraculously, I did!

Ordinarily, I’d wear this with a blouse, but I didn’t have one ironed.

I’m 85% happy with it.  It’s definitely wearable, but there are a few easy changes I can make to help it fit better.  Luckily, I overbought yarn to a completely unreasonable degree so I have enough to knit another one.  I need to make the armscyes longer vertically to leave more room for blouse or dress sleeves; I should probably make the neck more open to better accommodate a collar; and I need to do about two inches of short rows to fit it better over the bust.  It’s hard to tell, but the length in the back is fine while the length in the front is short.

Meanwhile, if anyone knows a boy or very boyishly-built woman of about 5’4″ with a 34-inch chest and skinny arms and neck who would like a dark brown wool sweater vest, email me.

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1930s | Capes | Skirts | Vintage Sewing

1930s Winter Wear

By on March 6, 2012

Today I’ve gotten side tracked by the 1930s because of a lovely piece of rust and cream herringbone wool given to me by a friend that just needed to be made into something 1930s and fabulous. Eva Dress SE30-1399 had been waiting in my pattern stash for just such an opportunity!

It goes smashingly with this 1930s sweater I also recently knit from A Stitch in Time Vol. 2. This whole ensemble has me wishing for more wintery days so I can wear it!

Find more details and a pattern review on my blog.



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Knits à la 1930

By on January 8, 2012

I have been knitting up a storm lately.  There is a lovely late 1940s suit cut out in my sewing room, but I just have not been motivated to get to it.  Instead, here are a couple of my recent vintage reproduction knits.

The first is “This One for Parties” from A Stitch in Time, Volume 1.  In my opinion, the name alone is reason enough to pull out the knitting needles!  I recently found the perfect skirt to wear with the sweater, so it finally came out of the bureau to play.

And this is my most recent knitting project, from A Stitch in Time, Volume 2.

And now I am going to head back to the couch with my tea and knitting needles!

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1940s | 1950s | Buttons

Vintage Knits

By on November 5, 2011

I thought I would share a couple of my vintage knits.

This beaded beauty has been neglected for years.  It has reminded me how much I love knitting with the added texture of beads, so I am going to keep my eyes open for a new project with beaded embellishments.

And this lace sweater was finished last weekend after spending quite a bit of time as a UFO.  But thanks to Burda Style’s Dorset Button tutorial, I now have a finished project.

More pictures may be found over on my blog, Lilacs & Lace, here and here.

It is currently pouring rain outside, so I am going to pour myself some tea, and sit down with a pair of needles.  Knitting is the perfect remedy for lousy weather.

P.S.  I also sewed up the skirts for both outfits, so I hope that qualifies as the “sew” in sew retro!

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