One of the quirks of Fancy Needlework Illustrated is that many of the jumper designs in the 1920s numbers are named after British towns - like the Bexhill jumper, on the cover of no. 75, published in September 1925. (The Bexhill jumper is the one worn by the lady on the right, sitting under the tree).
|Fancy Needlework Illustrated No. 75|
As far as I can see, the names were assigned at random - there's nothing about the Bexhill jumper, for instance, that suggests a seaside town on the south coast. But a columnist on the local newspaper, the Bexhill-on-Sea Observer, felt that the design somehow represented the town and that the women of Bexhill might want to make the jumper for themselves:
A compliment, which is also an advertisement, and is all the more welcome because it is unsolicited, has been paid Bexhill from an unexpected quarter. That is the naming of a new pattern for a ladies' jumper, in knitting and crochet, as the Bexhill jumper. It looks exceedingly nice as worn by a young lady whose photograph appears in "Fancy Needlework Illustrated," published by the Northern School of Art Needlework, Ltd., of Manchester. For the benefit of lady readers, who will naturally want to make Bexhill jumpers for themselves and lead the local fashion, I may state that the garment is made in light sky blue, and is composed of strips of knitting, joined together with crochet. A deep crochet belt completes the bottom, and the same pattern is worked for sleeve bands. ... For further instructions how to make the Bexhill jumper I must refer my knitting readers to Mrs. Harris, Western-road, who has kindly drawn my attention to this latest distinction that has been conferred on Bexhill.
|The Bexhill jumper from Fancy Needlework Illustrated no. 75|
It is rather pretty, combining lacy knitting with open-work crochet. The loose fit, too, would make it cool to wear on a hot day.
The Bexhill jumper is very similar in construction to the apricot rayon top I showed in my last post: the deep crochet band below a draw-string belt, alternating strips of knitting and crochet and a square neckline are the same in both. And the other young woman on the front cover of no. 75 is also wearing a T-shaped jumper with square neck and a deep bands of crochet below the waist and around the sleeves. This was a very common style for jumpers in rayon and cotton at the time. Other styles were also popular in the 1920s, of course - "Fair Isle" jumpers, for instance, But they didn't appear in Fancy Needlework Illustrated, because it only published patterns suitable for cotton. I'll discuss why later.