Saturday 18 September 2010

Matchy Matchy

"The Match Game"
One of the early 60s American Vogue Knitting magazines that I bought earlier this year on our Oregon trip included the sweater in the picture. The caption reads: "For separates with real color harmony, you can buy sweater yarn and  matching skirt fabric in a kit by Munrospun."  It reminded me that my sister Margaret bought a Munrospun pack in 1969, or thereabouts.  That should be quite surprising -  Munrospun packs were the sort of thing that my mother's generation aspired to, whereas  M was about 18 and very fashion conscious, and it was the era of the miniskirt.

But she found a Munrospun pack in a sale in Cole Brothers, very cheap, in a beautiful blue, and persuaded Mother to make it up for her.  (Historical note: Cole Brothers is now called John Lewis Sheffield.  This was a few years after it had moved to its present building from Coles Corner, famed in song and story.) 

Instead of a skirt, M wanted a pinafore dress - inspired by this photo.  (Look! A slightly chubby model!)  It was a Vogue dress pattern featured in the Spring/Summer 1969 Vogue Knitting described in an earlier post.

A dress out of a skirt length was quite a tricky proposition.  A Munrospun skirt length was, I think, 45 inches of 54 inch wide fabric (i.e. about 115cm. x 138 cm.) So it was just as well that Mother was a very clever dressmaker and the dress was supposed to be short. She made up a pattern that didn't have very much to do with the original inspiration - it had a yoke, and a zip up the back, and she had to make a seam in the centre front as well.  She made a feature of all the separate pieces with top-stitching.  There was no spare fabric for facings, or even much of a hem.   

Mother knit the matching jumper too - I still have the pattern, though it is rather battered. It had the cable up the front (though it didn't show under the pinafore dress) and she added a polo neck.

The result was a very successful outfit,  that M wore a lot.  Unfortunately, the only photo I can find only shows part of it.


M in Munrospun

In those days, it was very smart to match all the separate parts of your outfit - an exact match of plain colours, or a plain colour matching one of the colours in a check or tartan fabric, and the Munrospun packs were designed to make it easy.  Now that rule has been relaxed, and I think people are better (or braver) at putting together colours that don't match.  (Though I do tend to work on the principle that black goes with everything, which isn't very sophisticated.)  In fact, too much matching looks wrong now - I saw an elderly woman earlier this year wearing jacket, skirt, blouse, hat, gloves, handbag and shoes all in matching or toning shades of olive green.  She clearly felt very smart, but it looked a bit odd, if not obsessive.  Much too matchy matchy.


  1. Believe it or not you see these kits pop up on ebay!!

  2. I think these kits were a great idea..
    ahead of their time even, maybe?

  3. I just found one at Goodwill. I need more fabric that what comes in the kit as I am plus sized, otherwise it would go in my project stack(s). Wasn't cheap, but I wanted to get it to people who might want it. It is going up for sale at my store on eCRATER: if anyone is interested.


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