Knitting · Vintage

Vintage Summer Top

WW Textured

We’re returning to Woman’s Weekly, 6th April 1968 for this chunky, short-sleeved, collared top. I say chunky because that’s how it looks to me, but it’s knit in DK weight wool and it is mainly the all-over trellis stitchwork which gives the impression of weight, especially around the collar area.

I will say right now that this is the second pattern in this issue of Woman’s Weekly that I am considering knitting for myself and the main reason is that I already have the buttons. I mean to say, wouldn’t these look just darling on it?

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That would give me a choice of yarn colours in the blue and green spectrum. Looking at the preponderance of blue buttons in my box, I think you can see I have a weakness for blue in all its wonderous shades. Mind you, I could always follow the magazine’s colour suggestions and knit it in a shade called orangeade, presuming I could cope with all the E-numbers!

They have chosen to photograph the top in a rural setting similar to the knitted suit; in fact, this location seems to be a feature of all the knitting patterns in the issue. I have to say this outfit looks rather more at home there, although I think it would work equally well as part of an office outfit, being comfortable, practical and seemly. In the shade shown in the photo it would have worked really well with the brown Viyella trouser suit I owned twelve years ago. I still have notes I made back then about my ideal wardrobe and a “shell-pink top” to wear with this suit was high on my list (to be worn with brown brogues and handbag, pink socks, silver watch with brown leather strap, and rose quartz jewellery – none of which I have ever owned!).

On a technical level, the pattern comes in sizes to suit 34″, 36″ and 38″ busts which is pretty standard for the time. The suggested yarn is Emu Scotch Double Knitting Wool. Emu was part of the Wendy yarn empire with a cute brand symbol of a sketched emu where the body of the bird was a round ball of yarn with two knitting needles stuck through it forming the legs and protruding through the back. I’ve got one Emu pattern dating back to the 1960s in the collection I inherited from my mum – a hip-length, raglan-sleeve cardigan in an interesting rib design which involves creating two extra stitches either side of each knit stitch on the right-side row, then purling the three stitches together on the wrong-side row. It looks a bit like a faggoted rib in the pattern picture.

The Emu Scotch Double Knitting Wool is long defunct, but standard DK-weight yarns aren’t difficult to substitute. The pattern also states using UK size 9 (3.75mm) and size 10 (3.25mm) needles to obtain a tension (gauge) of 1 1/4″ for the 10-stitch patten repeat. Vintage patterns don’t normally include niceties like a note to say that you can change the needle size in order to achieve the required tension, you’re meant to know that.  The trellis stitch requires 2 cable needles as at the crossover, stitches are held simultaneously to the front and the back of the work – that should be interesting. There are 2 crossover rows in the 12-row pattern repeat so it shouldn’t be too demanding and I do like the stitch effect. The garment is knit in 5 separate pieces, namely front, back, 2 x sleeve, and collar. It’s interesting that the collar is knitted separately and then attached to the garment rather than by picking up stitches and working in-situ, and the collar construction is a little odd when you read through the instructions.

A thicker short-sleeved top is just the ticket as you start to transition into spring and I think this would be a good garment to knit in February, when winter starts to get a bit monotonous but you’re not yet ready to think forward to summer. I think I ought to put together a list of projects and when I want to knit them.

It’s almost time to get back to Rimini, but I couldn’t leave without mentioning the eyeshadow in this pattern photo. I don’t know about you, but I miss eyeshadow. Nowadays, it’s all about painting your eyebrows and lashing on layer after layer of mascara, with the only nod to your eyelids being possibly a smudge of something coppery. But I remember when using three or four different eyeshadow shades at the same time was the height of sophistication, and I miss it.

2 thoughts on “Vintage Summer Top

  1. The buttons are from Liberty of London and I bought them years ago on one of my jaunts down to “the smoke”. I think buttons are definitely one of life’s little pleasures.

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