Tuesday 13 May 2014

1952 Wool Fashions

Another of the British Pathe films mentioned in my last post is Wool Fashions, from 1952:

It features a series of knitting patterns issued by Sirdar that were inspired by historic items  (though the company is not mentioned in the film). 

One of the patterns in the same series that is not featured in the film is a man's pullover modelled by Roger Moore (shame he's not in the film).  And I wrote about another of the patterns here - a Lady's Lacy Jumper inspired by a knitted doily.   Here's its back view from the film, showing the interesting construction.  

Sirdar 1401 - back
Another (no. 1403) has a lacy (and very see-through) top using a lace pattern from a Shetland shawl.

1950s vintage knitting pattern; Sirdar
Sirdar 1403
The connection between the original item and the 1950s design is a bit tenuous sometimes. There are two beaded evening tops (one with a matching cap) - allegedly the inspiration was a beaded pincushion, though the only link is that they all have beads.   I'm not even sure that the pincushion is knitted - it's hard to tell from the photo.

1950s vintage knitting pattern; Sirdar

Beaded pincushion - source for Sirdar 1410
The 1952 designs are sometimes based on just a small detail of the original piece.  The jumper in Sirdar 1405 has horizontal bands of a stitch pattern from a bedspread - only a minor element of the bedspread design and hardly visible in the photo. 

1950s vintage knitting pattern; Sirdar
Sirdar 1405

So these designs are unlike modern vintage knits, which aim at something close to the original, but updated.  Instead, they take a stitch detail or a technique from the original, and incorporate it into a completely new design.  I kind of like them, although the models have such tiny waists they don't seem  like real women, but if you can persuade yourself to look at them with a 1950s eye they look elegant.  And the doily-jumper is such an off-the-wall idea - I like designs that abandon the usual back, front, sleeves construction.  I'm not sure I would actually want to knit any of them, though. 


  1. In case you change your mind I have the doily jumper pattern. I too am intrigued by the construction and the fact that it's quite revealing as shown when modelled - good foundation garments would be a must I think.
    The pattern is No.1401 and it's knitted up in Majestic 3 ply and sized for 34, 36, 38 inch bust.
    Love the video and the reference to a saucy beaded neckline… thanks so much

    1. I wasn't going to mention the conical bras.... You're right that women in the 1950s seem to have been quite brazen about wearing revealing tops, but presumably were adequately protected by their underwear.

  2. Fantastic social history and timeless tops - although they may need to be bigger for the modern woman:)

    1. Definitely bigger for most women, but also a different shape, I think. Few of us can manage the hour-glass silhouette these days.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...