Friday, 27 January 2012

Temptation and fall - knit fashions of 1932

Love at first sight and a long lasting favourite, the magazine illustration above filled me with excitement every time I looked at it - and there were many, many times. Stripes? Check! Bias? Check! Raglan? Check! Add to that billowy sleeves and a cute tie, this surely was going to be a winner... or was it?! 
It certainly was a learning curve, if among the very few to be seen in this dress:). 

One of the big mistakes I made was the choice of knitting wool. Rowan silk cotton was used, in the shades Brick and Fudge, 4.5mm needles suggested. The dress took up a lot of skeins and it is very heavy. As a result it is dragged down by its own weight and instead of adding some welcome roundness to my chest, it flattens this area even more! If we would have picked up on this weight issue in the early days, mother could have knitted this as a 2 piece, which would have been the saving grace for my little chest problem...No such luck though!
The collar too is visibly pulled down, and the weight of the sleeves is such that I have to push up the forearm section where the sleeve is tight quite a lot to sustain the upper fullness, still without achieving much success. So much would be different if this was knitted in a lighter yarn! Why did I have to be so poorly inspired?!...



On a plus note, for those of you who might want to use this yarn (now discontinued, but still crops up here and there), it knits smoothly if somewhat bulky, and has a great drape - it you want it to fall, that is! 
The skirt hangs very nicely (and in this project we seemed to find the right length, Evrika!); was knitted in 6 panels that joined were smoothly and contributed to create what I think is a more authentic look compared to the effect of just two halves, the front and the back. However this method seems to add volume to my lower half, so I need to make sure that when used again I have something on top to balance it (more than just billowy sleeves that fall flat like a bad souffle :)).



Speaking of balance, no more raglan sleeves for me! This acknowledgment was pretty damn painful, especially as I adore this detail, it seems to be part of some of the most aesthetically appealing to me patterns...yet is has proved wrong for me. Particularly in this example - I have a couple of other things where it works better because a single colour is employed and the detail is not so poignant, however here it mercilessly highlights my poor, narrow, shabby little shoulders...bear with me, we are dramatic where I come from :).



To counteract this mother and I thought of shoulder pads (not very thirties - but only if you can see them!) - what do you think? Another option is to redo the top part of the sleeves using only the brick colour thread, like I simulated below. Ok, it sort of spoils the design a bit, but really, the design is rather spoiled on me so far! Any thoughts?


Other corrections will be to redo the collar as it doesn't sit well and lengthen the sleeves so that they actually reach the wrists as they should, allowing for the amount eaten up underneath the fullness of the top sleeve - any ideas to help with this?
One more thing to mind in the future is the belt knitting; this one is double knitted so that the shape is nice and the work is solid, however is on the bulky side...

In terms of my mother's knitting, she has once again surpassed herself, the dress is technically nearly flawless and I was literally in awe to the smoothness of the work and the perfection of the fit, one more reason to feel utterly gutted about my poor choice of design/yarn. And I waited so long to see it completed, not to think about the hours and hours mother spent knitting it! With only a bit more practical thinking rather than day dreaming, all the pitfalls could have been avoided...It was my Christmas present, but I couldn't quite bring myself to post it, especially as mum herself wasn't that impressed when she saw it on me - I know that things don't look so bad in these pics, but that's because they are the best of the lot.
Perhaps it is time to learn to like things that are actually  flattering???...










20 comments:

  1. *gasps* Absolutely stunning. Such a lucky girl. :)

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    1. I am very lucky indeed to have my mother whom I am shamelessly exploiting...it is quite funny though, at the beginning she was lukewarm about some of these projects, now I can see her getting her teeth into them and enjoying every new challenge. I'll pass on all the good stuff said, to keep her motivated :)

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  2. Oh no, it looks just perfect. Funny, I just thought I should skip raglan sleeves because it makes me broader than I am. :-)

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    1. He he, I beat myself down for not having foreseen the opposite! In all these magazine illustrations their shoulders look perfect - of course they would! - but if anything the girl in this image seems rather broad shouldered compared to the hip width (now I see!...)

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  3. well, maybe I need new glasses but to me it looks more than fantastic,
    its a real head-turner..ciao ciao ciao Christa

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    1. Thank you Christa, and welcome to my blog!

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  4. I agree, it does look very nice on the pictures, but I'm sure you can see the fit much better in person, so I believe you. I think shoulder pads can be used. After all, it wasn't an invention of the 40's. :D Descreet padding to help nature have probably always been around. :) (There is extant example of men's stockings from the 18thc which has padded calves...)

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    1. Padded calves? Now that is scary :)!

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  5. It looks good to me, perfectly 30s, and as a girl with the shoulders of a bodybuilder I have to say that your shoulders seem just right in the pictures :)
    Also hats off to your mom for this great piece of knitted art!

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  6. I think it looks perfect. You could try getting some grosgrain ribbon and stitch this to the waist, so it will form a snug fitting waistband- this should help against any drag from the skirt which in turn should help with the bodice too! Shoulder pads were used in the thirties too, so I would say yes to those if you feel the need!!!
    Tupney x

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    1. That's great advice, I shall be certain to look into that, thanks Tupney X

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  7. Is it possible to add some underlining to the shoulders to hold their weight without it being a shoulder pad? More like a stiff crinoline would hold out a skirt... The grosgrain ribbon anchoring the waist would be good too, although I wonder if she can snip the skirt and bodice gently apart and 'finish' them (if you have yarn left over)?

    I LOVE this style and do think it looks good on you ... the shoulders look nice and I don't think the raglan makes the chest look narrow at all -- the tie and color bring that area out nicely. If you can figure out how to solve the 'weight' issue so the dress is comfortable to wear, I think you may enjoy the outfit more.

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    1. Now this "stiff crinoline" idea might work! I have certainly seen buoyant sleeves in the 30s benefiting from what seemed to be a complicated under structure. My non existent skills deter from anything complicated, but I am sure a stiffer lining of some sorts could be attached to the interior of those sleeves to shape them up and fight against gravity. That is a great thought, PepperReed, I am very very keen on this idea!

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    2. I am not sure if one could snip the skirt and bodice apart and finish them off separately. If doable, it would be the ideal solution, and I think there is a bit of yarn left. The other thing would be to take the sleeves off, undo all the bodice until only the skirt portion is left, finish it off, then redo the bodice separately and reattach the sleeves to get the blouse. It wouldn't be the first time mother has embarked onto such a revamp, but I think she might be quite reluctant given the scale of rework involved, particularly as she hasn't enjoyed this yarn as much as others.

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  8. To repeat what I said on the Fedora Lounge, it's gorgeous! You can't tell that it's weighing itself down at all. Just enjoy it! xxx

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    1. Thank you all for your grea, encouraging comments, I will pass them on as usual to mom, she certainly needs them, sometimes she is more critical of her work than I am - and this is, believe me, truly scary :).

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    2. After considering everything, mum and I came to the following conclusion: we'll leave the stripes as they are, and simply lengthen the sleeves. I will play around with shoulder pads and stiff net to see if they can help shape up the shoulders and act as a barrier against gravity in the puff of the sleeves. Mum will try and snap the top off the skirt and finish them separately, so that I end up with a deux pieces instead of a dress. The amount of yarn left makes this possible and we think it will be for the best, if a slight depart from the original pattern. This will help the blouse sit better instead of being pulled down by the weight of the skirt. Thank you all for your feedback, there was some very good advice out there, as you can see it will be applied! xx

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