Friday 24 July 2015

Free Pattern Friday - The Smartest Thing in Plain Knitting

Easy enough for a beginner and in a larger size

Thank you all for the comments on my last post about what 'women of a certain age' should or shouldn't wear. I cringe writing that phrase. There is so much more I want to discuss about this, so watch out for more posts on women daring to age in public. Funnily enough, I found another blog post about this issue, written a couple of days before mine, by Forever Amber. She had seen an article on Facebook - 24 Things Women Should Stop Wearing After Age 30. (I did NOT click on the link to read the article - I didn't want to be sucked into it. I've got enough to be angry about!). Amber commented on it in a way I would expect of any woman over 30. It is so worth reading; she is a fab writer.

The free vintage pattern this month is a very elegant long sleeved jumper/jacket, and I chose it because of the model.

'Jumper Jill' gracing the covers of my Good Needlework's

Caroline, The Sunny Stitcher, recently shared a vintage pattern featuring this model, and it seems we are both intrigued by this nameless woman. She has fascinated me since I got my hands on a copy of Jane Waller's 1972 edition of 'A Stitch In Time' in 2007, and for the purposes of this post I will refer to her as the name The Sunny Stitcher has given her: Jumper Jill. The earliest I have seen her is from 1932 in Woman and Home magazine, wearing With A New Cowl Neckline, which I modelled for the updated edition of 'A Stitch In Time'. Seeing her over and over in the jumpers that were to be recreated for the book, her face became so familiar to me, as did her expressions and poses. She is the complete opposite in looks to me, but I adore her. I think the main reason I collect these magazines is for her. I like to see how her hair and makeup changed over the decade. I'm a total fan girl.

Image A Stitch In Time 1972

Here she is in Stitchcraft magazine from 1933, in a very alluring pose, modelling lingerie. Called 'Step-Ins', I tried to step into a beautifully crocheted version to be photographed for the book and couldn't get them past my thighs. In fact, I ripped the stitching!

Image - A Stitch In Time 1972
(She looked just as elegant in a knitted dressing gown.)

She is the most popular model of the 1930s - and considering the explosion of knitting design that happened in that decade, that is quite something. I wonder if she was stopped in the street by women of all ages and mobbed for her autograph? I doubt it. I imagine she had a very ordinary life, although I would like to think that she went to wild cocktail parties hosted by Noel Coward, and danced all night with men who weren't her husband.

'Jumper Jill' graced the covers and pages of magazines including Woman's Weekly, My Home, Stitchcraft, Woman and Home, and Good Needlework and Knitting, which is one of my personal favourites. The patterns are very well written, always include schematics, and the best thing is the suggested colour schemes. They excite me more than they should, but it is a glimpse into fashion history. It seems so elaborate now to think of planning an outfit, an everyday outfit (not occasion wear), down to the shade of your stockings. And yet, women's wardrobes were so much smaller than ours - capsule in fact. The Girl With The Star Spangled Heart has done some great blog posts about capsule wardrobes, particularly the 1940s one. A suit for every season, a few day dresses, evening dresses, and maybe two coats? Oh, and tons of accessories. I would not be able to make that work - or would I?

I would really like to know about her, where she lived - London? How did she start modelling knitwear? What was it like working with the photographers then, and what was the studio like? Did the knitwear designers style the shoots, or were they just kept busy churning out new patterns every week?

I think she was married, I've seen a ring on her finger in some photographs. Did she have children? And what was her name? She reminds me of Mrs de Winter in "Rebecca". She was gone by the 1940s, perhaps her 'look' had dated, but I don't think so. We'll probably never know. If there is anyone out there who has any information about this lovely lady, I would love to hear from you.

The jumper below is knit in the elusive 3 ply wool, with 3mm and 4mm needles. The size given is about 38 - 39 inches across the bust, and 20 - 21 inches long. 'Definitely the jumper should be in every wardrobe'.

The pattern stretches over a few pages, and unfortunately I had make do with phone pictures as I had scanned them with a really high resolution, and was then unable to upload them. (After more than an hour, I failed). I think they are still readable in this format, though.

Suggested Colour Schemes - Eek!

Now back to channeling Jumper Jill.



  1. Soo jealous of your collection of Good Needlework! I share your love of the old colour schemes: hyacinth & brown, brick red & dark green - bring it on! It is rather impressive (or do I mean depressing) to imagine women back then with a completely colour coordinated wardrobe. . . (thanks for the pattern share too)

  2. Thanks Mrs. B, it took a long time and too much money to collect, but the colours are very addictive.

  3. I too am fascinated by the possible lives of these models. There is a lady who appears on many knitting patterns during the 1940s and I'd love to know what happened to her. I saw a post on Facebook where someone had actually met one of these models many years later. I love these magazines. Personally I collect Stitchcraft magazines but don't have as an extensive a collection as you. Love the pattern.


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