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???...