Friday, April 13, 2007

Retro Knit Friday!

This Friday's offering is a Columbia Minerva book from 1953. The forties shoulders are now gone, but the post-war skirt length has been continued. The biggest fashion statement has to be the nipped-in waist. Another hallmark of the fifties fashion is the truly peculiar hatwear. I think they gave every shape they could think of a try.

This pamphlet had a page to order a custom-made skirt to match the sweater the knitter chose to make. In this incarnation, all the skirts are variations on the pleated skirt. I wonder what it was like going through your day with some corset device squishing your midsection. Like all things fashion, I suppose women could get used to anything.

This was the heyday of ribbon knitting. Nylon was a fairly new product at this time, and there are whole pamphlets dedicated to the new yarn. It was used for everything, not just baby items. I remember what that yarn was like, since my grandmother must have given me a skein of it. It was very soft but I wonder how comfortable it could have been, since nylon tends to trap moisture. Nylon was made into regular yarns and into ribbon yarns. The ribbons produced during this period were of silk or nylon, and were used to make blouses and dresses. There was a trick with knitting with it so that when pressed or blocked it produced a flat fabric, usually in a basketweave pattern, though it was sometimes used for lace patterns too. The white dress on the right in the colored picture is of ribbon, as is the red dress in the colored picture below, and the checkerboard nylon ribbon blouse.

This item is a two-piece dress. The right side shows the same oufit (plus a peculiar hat) with a jacket over the top. It is called a 'winged' jacket, referring to the wide lapels.

I really like this dress, something about the elegant scrollwork applique on the bodice and the 3/4 length sleeves. It must be a two-piece outfit because it includes one of the 'knit-for-you' skirts.

The light blue dress and the navy dress are actually crocheted with a size 5 hook at 8 DC's to the inch. That must have taken forever to finish.
It must have been elegant and fun to have gloves and hats as required elements of a chic costume. Nothing sets off a fabulous bracelet like gloves.

This top is interesting because it is knitted in a texture pattern with two different yarns, one for the background, a sport yarn, and the purl rows in the fancier dress yarn. Note the fox fur wrap. I never understood the appeal of those wraps, though my grandmother had one. It was like slinging a dead animal around your neck. Well, actually it really was slinging a dead animal around your neck.

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