Another adventure in sewing knits – I’m hooked, now! I’ve got my wooly nylon thread, my ballpoint needles, and a goodly dose of foolhardiness.
Sorting through my vintage sweaters board on Pinterest, I fell in love with this 1890s knit beauty:
|The Met – sweater – 1895
I still want to make this more faithfully, but the fabric I found – a love Gryffindor striped jersey – was calling out for 1930s. The 1930s puff-sleeved silhouette certainly shares similarities with the 1890s, which I liked.
Another image floating around in my mind was of Bonnie Parker in her oh-so-30s sweater. The real version is nice:
|The real Bonnie Parker
…but I loved these film version even more:
Then there’s Claudette Colbert’s drooly-worthy striped top in “It Happened One Night”:
And this red and white, glorious 1930s knitting/crochet project:
So here’s how I made mine…
I did everything wrong, and cut everything twice.
|1930s striped jersey blouse with gauntlet sleeves
I learned quite a lot more about knit yardage, doing this project. For instance…
- All knits stretch differently – an open sweater knit will stretch more than a tight jersey. You can’t use one to pattern the other!
- Various jerseys have different amounts of stretch too, and you have to consider your pattern specifically for your knit.
- My chosen jersey doesn’t stretch much on the bias – this was a problem when I cut my chevron stripes.
- Ribbing is quite difficult, but produces amazing results.
I didn’t have a pattern for this top, so I made a lot of mistakes, and had to redo both the bodice and the upper sleeves twice. I blew through all two yards of my very wide fabric, but somehow finished without having to go back to the fabric store.
|After math-ing out the first puff sleeve and failing, I draped a leg-o-mutton shape on my armed dress form.
This was my first project using ribbing. I’m insanely lucky to have a mill end shop (garment industry graveyard) that has a huge ribbing section, so I found some that matched the ivory in my jersey. It’s not cheap stuff – sold by the inch, and you have to double it over to make your cuffs, bands, and neck binding – and I nearly ran out of that too. The most difficult part of the ribbing was getting the cuffs sewn smoothly to the sleeves. I did it in-the-round, but now that I’m more familiar, I’ll do it “on the plane” (flat) next time.
The neck ribbing was also super-fussy. I had to piece it, and getting it to lay smoothly was a challenge. Braining through making a mitered V neck corner that fits the angle cut on the bodice is pretty tough, too, and I did a lot of seam-ripping at this last step, but was chuffed when I finally got it right.
|The whole outfit – volume on top asks for a slim silhouette below the waist – a ’30s skirt is the perfect pairing
Despite the raft of re-do, I ended up with something I absolutely adore. Right in line with my love of jersey as a modern, casual fabric, I feel like this top is wonderfully vintage while also being completely laid back. I just adore the juxtaposition of such a casual fabric being used for a glamorous design.
|Finally have some more ’30s daywear to pair with the ’30s oxfords we did for American Duchess a couple years ago
I paired my new top with my slim ’30s gabardine skirt, a very Bonnie-esque wool beret, and Claremont 1930s oxfords.