Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year - and an Easy 1930s Blouse Pattern

Happy New Year everyone!

I hope you're all safe and sound, and ready to dive head first into 2013.

So far, my New Year's evolutions are fairly modest - get my website up and running, and work on my Swing dancing with Jakk. I'd love to hear what yours are!

If one of your resolutions was to finally knit from a vintage knitting pattern, perhaps I have the perfect one for you below!

This knitted blouse from the Thirties is very quick and very easy.
Its knit using 3mm and 4.75mm needles using fingering weight cotton - and don't be put off by the 32 inch bust sizing.

The blouse is knit from the top down, in one piece (like a modern raglan) and the pattern is quite practical, saying to just add an inch or two (or several) where needed to get it to fit. Top down raglans are one of the easiest pattern styles to enlarge.

I hope you like it!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Outfit Post: Melbourne finds and Midcentury Nylon

There's nothing like a new dress and handbag to bring a smile to a (tired) grrl's face.

I know I rave about the shopping in Melbourne but it really is superior - Sydney just doesn't have anything close to Smith and Brunswick Streets in Fitzroy.

I have to share the lining fabric I picked up from the Alannah Hill Clearance Store last week - $6 a metre! A peachy colour covered in ladybugs, clover and lucky cards, hopefully to be the lining of a 1940s jacket I'm planning.

 My other favourite find was from Sheila Vintage, a cute little vintage shop further along Brunswick Street (and this is the outfit I wore last night to a friend's birthday party).

Slip : Vanity Fair, Shoes: Miss L Fire, Belt : my own, Carved Earrings and Bakelite : Etsy

 It's not often you see a midcentury print nylon dress with a 34" waist in Australia - so I had to snap it up even though I'm supposed to be watching the pennies. The label is 'Maxine', and the fabric is covered with pale pink, blue and lemon roses.

And to complete the party outfit last night - my new Mimco Treasure Clutch!
I was really attracted to this evening bag when I first saw it, the lucite acrylic looks and feels similar to a vintage 1940s/1950s lucite handbag.
And check out the swirling on the back - yum!
I hope you're all enjoying the silly season!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Modelling, Mimco and Melbourne

Sorry for the lack of posts - but this past week the Cowboi and I have been away in Melbourne being models in a campaign for one of my favourite brands, Mimco. (divine hair accessories and handbags)

It was definitely the experience of a lifetime, and the people from Mimco (not to mention the hair and makeup artists) were the nicest bunch you'd ever meet.
Add that Melbourne is one of our favourite places to visit, and you can imagine what a fabulous time we had.

I wish I could share the finished photos with you, or give you more info but I've been sworn to secrecy!

Well, maybe just a few teasers until the campaign is launched next year...

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Smart Top and Skirt, Woolworths Economy Knits 23, c. 1940s

I love this 1940's look so much - some of my favourite vintage detailing is in this pattern; strong shoulders, puffed sleeves and a belted waist. The model looks so sweet, isnt her hair lovely?

This pattern is knitted on fingering weight yarn on 3.25mm and 2.75mm needles. To fit 32/34 inch bust, 27 inch waist and 36 inch hips.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Your advice requested!

On the weekend we hit the Rock and Roll Markets for the last dance of the year, and I picked up this gorgeous 1940's silk dress for $10!
(I think the lovely Pia from Vintage Allsorts was just being nice because I was so taken with it)

 Its everything I love in a 1940s dress - washable silk, gathers at the front so it fits my wide hips and contrast bakelite buttons!
The front actually closes with hooks and eyes, the buttons are just decorative.

It has a couple of issues which I can deal with, but I'm really stumped with how to treat some brownish stains - they might be tea??

I hand washed it in wool-wash, and the stains didn't budge. Normally I would use Napi-san/Oxy, but the bleach would turn the silk yellow.

Close up of hooks and eyes, with stains near the buttons

Does anyone have a good solution for removing unknown stains from vintage silk?
Has anyone tried glycerine and white spirits? (recommended in my Spotless book).

I really need some advice - thank you all in advance!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Yarn Card and Tension Suggestion for Penelope Yarns - c. 1930s

A lovely knitting book just arrived in the mail "Be Knitwise - Penelope helps you to produce the perfect Woolie', I believe from the early 1930s.

Unfortunately, it only contained two patterns (the seller on Ebay said '70 designs with instructions' but what they should have said was 70 stitch patterns!).

On the plus side the booklet is beautiful, and looks to be aimed at the intermediate knitter who wants to make or alter her own knitwear - that's me! I'm going to scan the whole thing and put it up for free eventually.

The tension table above shows the suggested tensions for different yarns, as well as an example of how to upsize knits just by using a size bigger needle.

My personal favourite - the detailed descriptions of the yarns with composition and suggested uses.

Close up of the yarn samples

I hope you like it!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Christmas Week - Willow Pattern Cosies, c. 1950s

Its the final pattern for Christmas Week, and luckily this pattern actually comes from 'Gift Knitting' by Revielle.

I love classic willow patterns, and I love tea-cosies and hot water bottle covers too!
I hope you've enjoyed the gift-crafting posts, and I hope your Xmas is stress-free.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Christmas Week - Pixie Hood and Mitts for a Toddler, c. 1943

I know that I rarely post children's patterns, but I really have no idea what children (or parents) would like!

If I ever did have a child (immaculate conception) this little pixie hood and mitts would definitely be on my needles for Xmas. This pattern comes from Stitchcraft September 1943, and is knitted on fingering-weight yarn on 3.75mm needles.

PS I'm sorry that my watermarks are now in colour, I found another person selling my patterns on Ebay again and they were just photoshopping the white watermarks off.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Christmas Week - Mittens for the Forces, c.1942

Do you have someone in your life who likes simplicity and practicality? 
Maybe this pattern for simple mittens from Stitchcraft September 1942 could tick that box. The added history of this pattern being knitted for Servicemen during World War Two and it makes them doubly special.

Easily knit in stretchy rib with a thumb gusset, the pattern calls for fingering-weight yarn, plus 3mm and 2.75mm needles.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Christmas Week - Perfect in Every Detail Bedjacket, c. 1937

I'm a sucker for vintage bedjackets, peignoirs and dressing gowns - especially that peachy-pink colour they all seem to come in. What ever happened to glamourous bed-wear? Sigh...

Well, maybe you're lucky enough to have a real glamourpuss to in your life to knit for (and maybe you are the glamourpuss!) and this early thirties bedjacket fits the bill.

This vampy design comes from Woolworths Economy Knits, although I'm not sure how economy 'Silkenthread' is. I would think its probably a fingering weight rayon knitted on 3.75mm needles - and don't forget the 5 yards of raunchy marabou.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Christmas Week - Simple All-Season Crochet Gloves, c. 1940s

"Even a beginner could make these perfectly fitting crochet gloves which are worked in a simple, effective stitch throughout."

I love knitted and crocheted gloves from Bestway No.787 - and wouldnt these make a lovely pair to gift someone? Its Summer down here in Australia/NZ (and the entire Southern Hemisphere), and Winter up north - lucky these gloves are light enough for warm weather and warm enough for cold.

Crocheted on Lavenda 2-ply (light fingering) using a size 11 crochet hook.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Christmas Week - A Useful Tweed Scarf, c. 1950s

Do you have a stylish, chic and hard to buy for person in your life? Maybe a hand-knit scarf like this could be the answer.

There's something really classic and enduring about this scarf - I especially love the colour way of green, almond and white.

From 'Accessories by Stitchcraft', I believe it comes from the early-mid 1950s.
Knitted in Patons Fingering 2-ply on 2.25mm needles, I would suggest a light-fingering based on the gauge.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Christmas Week at Subversive Femme

Did you know its only 39 sleeps until Xmas?
If you're lucky enough to have people in your life who love hand-crafted gifts, then its a very busy time of the year!

And i'll be honest - financially its a bit tight this year (a mortgage all by myself, in Sydney the 2nd most expensive place in the world to buy a house) so spending time instead of money on my loved ones is doubly important.

I feel a bit sad that most of modern society values bought presents over hand-made, I know I would be delighted if all my friends made me something instead of contributing to the capitalist machine!

Whose hair looks this good Xmas morning?

Over the next week i'll be sharing some posts from the late 1930s to mid 1950s, featuring pretty, zany and practical items to make for loved ones - or just yourself. I hope you enjoy them!

Starting with.... Just Like Two Silk Flowers!

This unusual cravat is made from a tube of black taffetta, with a contrast lining folded back to resemble flowers.
From Good Needlework Magazine, October 1939.

Very easy to make - and very striking!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Knitting Vintage for the Uninitiated - Part 3 (Final Post)

Welcome to my final post - and this time we'll be looking at the instructions.

You have the same skill-set as knitters 50-100 years ago - so rest assured you can knit old patterns and they will make sense if you read them carefully (heck, they can't be any worse that Vogue's!).

Vintage patterns tend to spell out everything row by row, instead of charts or 'knit for x inches'. Take the time to chart a stitch pattern/design out in Excel or Knitter's Graph Paper to make your life easier.

Chart for the Bell-Stitch Jumper I'm currently
working on (link to Ravelry).

While instructions might be unfamiliar, all the stitch terms used in the pattern will be ones you know. Google if you're unsure - someone else is bound to have the same issue. Some examples of the common ones are:
  • W.FD - wool forward. A yarn over (YO).
  • W.R.N - wool round the needle. Literally a YO purl wise - under the right hand needle, over, and back under ready for a purl stitch.
And don't forget Ravelry! Its the best resource online, a bit like Facebook for knitters.
There's so many groups devoted to knitting vintage (All Things Vintage, Techniques, Vintage Knitters are some good placecs to start) - don't be afraid to ask for help and support.

My final tips are to slow down, and understand what the pattern says before you dive in. It'll be worth it, i'm sure!

Some final words from the Lux Knitting Book 1941

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