Thursday, February 13, 2014

My new pair of Clarks shoes!

After collecting the pretty images of the Clarks shoes past week here I decided to get a pair for myself. Since those shoes were from the 2013 fall collection a lot of were sold out (sigh...) and what was available wasn't on sale (of course). At the end of the day I picked up the Oxford-type 'Alfresco Art', a pair of lace up shoes with 'snake' details in black, which I can wear both with skirts and with trousers. The fit is really great and the inside has a soft cushion which relieves the pressure on the ball of the foot. Though I have wide feet the 'regular' d-width is pretty comfortable for me (a lot of shoes, like pumps are also available in the extra-wide E-width!) Though I paid the full price I'm convinced it is worth the investment. I'm already addicted!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Jumper plans spring 2014

I have already made plans for knitting a few new jumpers!
Moving a bit backwards in time, to the late 30's I choose the 3 patterns above. The 3 jumpers above have their individual challenges to me and all of them need to be resized a bit as well. Of course, I'm not planning to frog and re-knit them like I did on the Victory, so there are no lace stitches this time! Nice, solid knits with geometric patterns, mainly constructed with basic knit/purl stitches for an easy calculation of the gauge.

1. valerie
This pattern appeared in an 1940's AWW. Though it is a 1940 model we know that the AWW used mostly imported patterns which were released overseas earlier. I love the tabs and the all-over pattern which make this jumper special and very 30's. Actually, I already started knitting this one in 2013, but sewing up the pieces and the finishing took more than a month. In te meantime the Knit for Victory challenge started and I just didn't got round to share the finished jumper. Mine has 3/4 sleeves and is knit in a bright, electric blue color. I ordered the yarn (drops baby merino as always) when it was on sale. A short series of the knitting process will follow shortly.
  • my challenge: to achieve the right fit and calculate 3/4 sleeves
2. trellis jumper
This is a Lincoln Mills booklet pattern, which is another free pattern from the internet. There is no exact dating possible, but looking at the hairstyle, the small shoulder pads and the button detail it must be released somewhere in the late 30's or very early 40's (though in the early 40's the shoulders 'grew' quickly bigger, like my Philippa's)
Again, the pattern looks rather simple, but very decorative, containing a small cable pattern in the yoke and sleeves. Most vintage patterns include some amount of increase along the torso to achieve a slight V-shape. This pattern instructs to increase in the last row of ribbing to the definitive amount of stitches at once. That way the visual lines of the vertical cables won't be disturbed.
I'm going to use the same drops baby merino yarn in bright blue-ish red, which I also used in my Victory jumper (yarn ordered when it was on sale)
  • my challenge: cable pattern
3. easy stitches jumper
Guess what, another free pattern from the net! The main pattern of the bodice of this one looks similar to the trellis jumper, but the spacing between the vertical lines is filled up with moss-stitch here. Also, the jumper has a rounded yoke which is knitted in the round for the front and the back, including the top of the sleeves. raglan style sleeves. This will be a new challenge to knit! Interesting detail: the pattern instructs to cast on more stitches for the front than for the back. The color is going to be medium or light gray drops yarn which I yet have to order. I might try another quality of yarn to avoid too much calculations in the round yoke area. The drops cotton merino yarn is slightly heavier than the baby merino I use and is available in a pretty light-green color which I like very much!
  • my challenge: to knit the yoke in round with the right fit

Similar patterns

source image

I came across this 1943 Stitchcraft cover today. The pattern used here is very similar to the Top Honors jumper pattern. There are probably more stitches in between the slip-stitch sections, but otherwise it is the same.
Knit in the Italian (or Hungarian) tricolor it would look very cheerful for spring!

Friday, February 7, 2014

celebrity dress lengths

I posted a few thoughts on designer dresses which are not always made to fit here. Above another example of the same dress which seems to appear in 3 different lengths, though I'm sure the length is not adjusted only the celebrities are shorter than the runway model...
It is a Christian Dior 2014 resort dress:
- On the runway: above the knee length
- Marion Cotillard (left) just under the knee length
- Aura Garrido (right) tea-length. The dress appears to have a train at the back while the original design doesn't even hit the ground.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Jumper styles and shapes from the 30's to the 60's

It is interesting to look at how jumper styles changed through the decades. Before starting to knit you really need to look at the pictures of the finished items and ask yourself the quetion: Will this look good on me? We all have different body shapes and let's be honest, not every garment accentuates the best parts of it. The models, even from 100 years ago seem to have the same, slender body shapes with tiny waists which makes every item look wonderful on them. Frustrating!

When it comes to making vintage inspired garments I think you need to know which era produced the most flattering patterns for your body type.
As you might know by now, I prefer the 40's. This is why:
  • The accentuated shoulders are perfect to disguise the lack of shape in the waist. 
  • The 30's could also be a good choice because of a wide variety of embellishments, for the same reason. 
I also know which parts to adjust:
  • Those era's are well-known for the high necklines. I lower them a bit because of my round face. 
  • Since I am high waisted I know it is more flattering to add extra width above the waistline to create a slightly blousy shape.
  • Of course, I lengthen the tops too, because a very short jumper with a high waist is not a good combination...
The 60's are not my fashion era, simply because of the lack of shaping in the garments. I can imagine those garments would look fabulous on a thin person with small boobs, but with my swayback and broad shoulders they'd just look shapeless sacks on me. The 50's have a question mark in my book, because the hourglass shape which I simply don't have...

Which fashion era do you prefer and which one looks best on you?
Sloping shoulders or elevated ones, dolman sleeves or puff sleeves, fitted tops or relaxed ones?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Vintage inspired shoes from...Clarks

very 30's: lace up shoes, shaped heels, slingback sandals, suede
very 40's: heavier heels, pumps, suede, platform soles, ankle straps, wedges, fabric & canvas

Continuing the vintage inspired shoes series I've recently found a few gems in the collection of Clarks. you find the other posts under the label 'shoes' To be honest, never looked at the Clarks shoes until now because my mom who has 'difficult feet' loves them. The good thing is, the fit must be good, but on the downside she tends to like really shapeless shoes lately. It took me some time to talk her into buying a few neat and feminine shoes with low heels instead of the Birkenstock-type sandals she likes to wear.
The shoes above have typical late 30's and 40's shapes, they would all look equally pretty worn with a skirt or trousers. Now, that we finally (almost) sold our old house I'm aloud to buy new shoes. Above there are quite a few from the 2013 autumn/winter collection which are amazing but sadly, already sold out here. How about the Alma Kendra? To die for!
From now on I really need to watch the Clarks collections for new, vintage inspired items for myself...

As a little extra, below a 1946 article on tips for buying the right shoes for your feet:

Saturday, February 1, 2014

1945 Top Honors jumper - proper pics at last!

I've realized that somehow I missed out on making proper pics of my finished Top Honors jumper (which is one of my favorites to wear right now!) So here they are! You find the project posts here.

Here is one more picture of the finished closure of the back neckline: