Friday, February 16, 2018

Dior at the ROM

If you are a local reader I highly recommend you make a trip to the ROM for the Dior show.

It was fantastic!  The show was set up so a garment maker geek like me could get a really good look at the construction techniques for the garments which were made from 1947 - 57.

There were tablets included with the displays which showed detailed photos of the insides of the garments displaying the construction techniques used.

I was able to see the details of:

silk organza under-linings,

padded hips, supported with canvas,

bodices edged with silk from the waist down for tidy tucking in to skirts,

skirts with hook and eye attachments to exchange bodices from daytime to nighttime styling,

sleeves supported by canvas ,

shirt overlays which also functioned as capes,

corsets to support gowns,

feather sequins,

a one seam skirt which I'm still trying to figure out,

beautiful embroideries (did I mention I took a class in Tambour embroidery and I learned how to use a Luneville hook) 

Photo from

I did notice in the videos of fashion shows that often the models couldn't walk normally in many of the garments because the bottoms were so narrow. 

Here's a photo of Shopia Loren in one of the dresses.

While none of this relates directly to knitting I did find it got me thinking about garment construction in the way I did back when I was sewing. 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Tips for Working with Linen

I've been working swatches with linen in preparation for some summertime knitting so a post on linen may be timely for other knitters. I have some of the Louet sport weight, you can find it here. I've used it before, the first garment I made from Euroflax was much loved and I wore it so often that it was truly worn out when I finally stopped wearing it. 

Linen can be a little hard on the hands during the knitting due to it's lack of elasticity. It's a wonderful summertime knit fabric though, it's both cooler and lighter than cotton. My experience has been that the fabric gets better with age. Washing and drying improves it. It gets softer the longer you have it. The sheen can increase over time. It's version of in-elasticity and the light weight of the fibre means garments don't stretch, unlike cotton. 

You may need to use a smaller needle due to it's nature. Make sure you do a large swatch and block in the same way you intend to on the finished garment. Check for shrinkage and adjust while knitting the garment if necessary. If you air dry and find the fabric feels crunchy, pop it into a warm dryer for a few minutes and it will soften up. Be prepared for the drape of the fabric to increase the more you wear, wash and dry a linen garment. You should choose designs with more ease than you would when working with wool of the same weight.

I prefer to use linen for garments with seams for two reasons. First it can occasionally have a tendency to bias in stocking stitch. Secondly it needs longer strands for seaming because it is a smooth yarn which moves more than wool and I prefer to bury my ends in a seam. 

Friday, February 2, 2018

New Pattern - The Amelia Viner Vest

I've published this one on Ravelry, Love Knitting and it will be up on Patternfish soon. 

It's worked bottom up in a single piece to the underarms, then divided to work to the shoulders. The Kimono style front band is knit separately and sewn into place. The vest features a faux cable stitch pattern on the front band and on the sides for added interest. It is shown with 9 cm (3.5 inches) of positive ease at the bust and 25.5 cm (10 inches) at the hem, which makes this a flattering pattern for both slim and curvier figures. The armholes and bottom edges are worked in a 3x3 rib. The armhole bands are picked up and knit outwards. Most of the vest is worked in stocking stitch with armhole and neckline shaping done at the same time, making the project suitable for the intermediate knitter. Crochet cast on is used in the sample for consistency in appearance on all finished edges at the joins of the front band. However, you may use your preferred cast on.

I'm almost back to normal knitting after my earlier wrist problems. However I'm finding that some projects cause much less discomfort. The stocking stitch in this vest was easy knitting for me and the faux cable didn't create the strain regular cable crosses do. I'm starting to work on summer projects and I may continue exploring more stocking stitch in my designs than I have in the past.