Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Knits, Part One

I'm always so jealous when I see those lovely 1930s knits that I have, so far, not been able to get my hands on. Baroness Von Vintage seems to have an unending collection of beautiful vintage knits, including this one, which makes me especially covetous. I'm also ridiculously envious of those who know how to knit and can make themselves reproduction garments from vintage patterns. Here is a wonderful sweater recently knitted by Jennie of "The Life and Times of a Vintage Obsessive", and here is another one expertly made by Tickety Boo Tupney. I would love to learn how to knit and crochet, but even "Knitting For Dummies" is apparently too advanced for me! Since I haven't been able to learn yet, I have been putting my sewing skills to good use by altering. I have found that '80s knits are often good candidates for this, as many of the style features are similar to '30s knits: pointelle and crochet accents, chevrons, colorblock, leg o'mutton sleeves, etc. The fit is usually way off, though, as everything was so blousy during that time (how well I remember it). Here is a sweater that I recently altered:



Here's how it started out. I originally removed the sleeves intending to move up the shoulders a few inches, but once I had them off, I really liked the way they looked on their own. Of course, I made another sweater using the sleeves, as they were the feature that prompted me to purchase the original in the first place. It's just too darn hot to get any pictures of that one now!



The jabot is made from the ends of some old crochet gloves. The fingers and palm sections were filled with holes, but the ends were still intact, so I just cut them off, sewed them together, and wove them through the holes in the top of the sweater.



I took it in by about 6 inches around. I also shortened it by cutting off the waistband, trimming off about 5 inches, and sewing the waistband back on. I don't have a serger, so I use the zigzag stitch on my sewing machine to alter knits. The gloves are vintage from ebay, and I blogged about making the skirt here. The shoes are brand new; I have them in brown, too. Sorry they're not very visible; it's been so hot here that my husband has not been in the mood to mow the lawn as often as he should!



This is my new favorite hat. I found the original at Goodwill for $2.00. It was huge; my husband tried it on, and it was even too big for his large head. Of course, I forgot to take a picture of it before I started cutting it up, but here is one that I took after I cut the crown off.



It was originally a fedora of sorts; you can see how the crown was shaped. After I cut off the crown, I shaved about two inches off of the bottom. I then got it wet and shaped it so that it would be more rounded on the top. After it had dried, I sewed two tucks lengthwise across the top of the crown. Since the hat was so big to begin with, I was able to put three pleats in the brim. I then sewed the crown and brim back together, trimmed it with some vintage ribbon and a vintage mother-of-pearl buckle, and finished it off with grosgrain ribbon on the inside.



I love it so much! When I wore it to the Farmer's Market, an elderly man approached me and said, "My mother had a hat just like that in 1934." How great is that?!



I've got many more altered knits to show, so stay tuned!

38 comments:

  1. Excellent! You are so spot on as usual. :-) Now, how do you get your hair beautifully done like that?

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  2. brilliant brilliant brilliant! These revamps are totally in the spirit of the innovative and industrious women of the 30s who made their own clothes! LOVE IT!

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  3. It's fantastic, I love everything you've done, it's beautiful and ingenious!

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  4. amazing!!! you're a miracle worker, everything lokks just PERFECT! Congrats.

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  5. Love your upcycling. I always wonder what people do with all those '80s sweaters at thrift stores! Of course, they'll probably come back in style and then there won't be an '80s sweater to be found!

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  6. Lovely! I can't wait to see what you've done with the sleeves!

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  7. Wow, amazing job with the sweater!! I love the hat too :)

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  8. You have amazed me yet again, just a fabulous revamp and that hat, I would have never been brave enough to even try anything like that and it looks soo great!!!

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  9. You are amazingly brilliant! I'm so impressed. When I first saw your ensemble, I thought it was all authentic. I would have never looked at that sweater and thought I could do anything with it. I'll be seeing my thrift store knits with new eyes from now on! I love your hat as well, very clever and beautifully done!!

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  10. Oh my gosh, this whole outfit is amazing! I am in awe of your creative skills- you could fool anyone that the outfit is all genuine 30s!
    Where did you find those shoes? I've been looking for some like that for ages!

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  11. Love the whole outfit, but especially the hat! I tried to make a 1934-style hat from a modern sheer straw hat I got on sale, but mine didn't turn out as nicely as yours. I will say, however, that I was trying to get my hat to look almost exactly how your hat turned out! My hat turned out with a brim that's too small to actually slouch over one eye like yours does, and I covered the straw with natural linen gauze because the straw was too scratchy, and trimmed it with a navy blue ribbon on the edge and pleated navy ribbon around the crown.

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  12. superheidi: I use those metal wave clips to do the waves, and small foam rollers for the curls in the back. I just wash it at night, spray it with setting lotion, and put it up; when I wake up in the morning and it's dry, I just take it down and sort of pin it in place. Oh yes...and a lot of hairspray!

    Lauren: I got the shoes from ebay; under $30.00 including shipping from Taiwan! Here is the link for the listing: http://cgi.ebay.com/Womens-Oxford-Lace-Up-Heels-Shoes-Beige-Black-/260710753120?pt=US_Women_s_Shoes&var=&hash=item8263bf39c4

    I was a little worried about the sizing, since they are listed in UK sizes; if it helps, I wear a size 7 and ordered a size 5 UK. The heels are a little bit thinner than I would have liked, but at this price, they are pretty great!

    South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild: I would love to see that hat! I think the reason that this one turned out so well is that I didn't really have a plan for it when I started making it. Whenever I try to to something specific, it never works the way that I want it to!

    To the rest of you: Thank you so much for your wonderful comments; I'm blushing! Your kind words really do mean so much to me!

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  13. Just discovered your awesome blog!!!! And your totally fabulous outfits!!

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  14. Wonderful! Thank you so much, Nabby! I wear the same size shoes, so I appreciate your sizing info :) Hurrah! I finally have spectators!

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  15. Looks great :)
    Have you tried some of the how to videos of knitting and crocheting? They might help!
    http://www.knittinghelp.com/videos/learn-to-knit

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  16. I found you from sew vintage, I would love to own a hat like this...it's amazing that you sewed it!

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  17. Found you through Sew Retro. You look wonderful and I can well understand that you are pleased with the hat. It looks really great!

    I do love the 1930's fashion and wish I had the figure for it. Oh well, I can stick with the forties. :)

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  18. I just found you through sew retro, and I must say I absolutely love your style! I wish I actually had more 30's pieces/patterns since it's my favorite era, but I tend to stick to the 50's and early 60's. Can't wait for your next post!

    Allie

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  19. Loving your refashion! You definetly have the eye for transforming a so-so into a gorgeous 30s piece. I would have never seen the potential from the original garment. I am now planning to read your archives and get more inspired! Thanks for sharing your wonderful garment on Sew Retro -- that's how I found you.

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  20. This is the most brilliant refashion I've ever seen! I've knitted vintage-repro sweaters for myself, but still I am SO envious of your 80s-to-30s transformation! It looks amazing (and I'm kind of a slow knitter, so it takes me forever to make a sweater) and that hat is to die for. I love the pleats!

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  21. I just found your blog today and love it. The clothes you make remind me so much of the old photos I have of my grandmother and my dad in the 1920's and 30's. You have done a brilliant job. I also see that you are in Arkansas. I lived in Fayetteville for 12 years and my daughter is till there. I miss it but not the crazy heat they are having this year!

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  22. I was just speechless in your ingenuity for converting a very common sweater in to something so brilliant!

    I have several vintage patterns from the 30's and to be honest is very intimidating for me to even star to pick fabrics for them, lucky me I found your blogg! Thanks for sharing your fabulous creations with us!

    Till next time.... have fabric dreams and sewing pattern wishes!!!
    The vintage mexican seamstress.

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  23. Oh my- you are far too clever for words- I don’t know where to start-everything you have done is sooooooo amazing! I would have thought it was all original!!! I’m speechless (makes a change), golly gosh you really do look like a 30’s fashion plate or a 30’s knitting pattern gal (my idols!)….
    Thank you for the award too- I would have shown my appreciation sooner but I’ve been a bit run down as of late…. Have a good weekend. Tups xxx

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  24. Amazing hat re-do...as one milliner speaking to another - I would put grosgrain ribbon where the crown meets the brim. It protects the hat from sweat, dirt, make up from your skin. It also might make your hat more comfortable - no scratchiness. Pre-wash your grosgrain to pre-shrink...and hand sew it in with slip stitches, sew on your 'hand made by me' and you are done, girlfriend!

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  25. Your version is so much more beautiful than the original! I'm so impressed by your ability to look at a garment and see something new. Count me in as a new follower (I found you over at Elegent Musings). :)

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  26. So lovely!
    I must start knitting again

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  27. How awesome to have seen the potential of that 80s sweater! And then to also be able to make that hat into something fabulous, you really do have a gift!

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  28. Wow, this is so clever! I'll never look at an '80s thrift store sweater the same again. I have 1930s sweater patterns but they seem like so much work! I'd rather take this route. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  29. ~ * ♥ * ~

    Wow, I am in awe! I only hope my sweater alterations turn out as lovely as yours and as for that hat!! It is simply stunning, you did a marvelous job! I am now your newest fan/follower. :D

    xox,
    bonita of Depict This!
    ~ * ♥ * ~

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  30. oh wow! how ingenious of you! i've often thought some of the sweaters in the '80s do look a bit 1930s. you look like you stepped right out of a ginger rogers and fred astaire film! well done!!

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  31. I just found your blog and I love it! It's so rare to find a 1930s fashion and sewing blog.

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  32. Thank you all so much for the wonderful compliments!

    Spinneretta: Thanks for the link; I'll definitely check that out!

    Pixie: What a small world; I live in Springdale (and yes, it is ridiculously hot here)!

    Jen and Sweet Jane: I agree; this was easier than knitting a sweater from scratch (I assume); it only took a few hours! The most time-consuming part was removing the sleeves from the bodice without damaging either.

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  33. GORG! In Los Angeles, the big trend righ tnow is 70's/80's. There are so many ugly knit sweaters out there, and now -- I can give them the beautiful life they were destine to have! Great idea!

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  34. You are so creative with your refashions! I love the sweater top and the hat. Beautiful!

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