Apologies for the on and off radio silence at the moment. Life in general, both at home and at work, are extremely busy and finding time to dedicate to the blog is proving difficult. However, I have finally managed to photograph the last crochet garment I finished for you to see.
Back in the first half of this year I seemed to be on quite a roll with finding original 1930s crochet patterns and booklets and one that’s really special to me is the Paris Sponsors Crochet Book No. 46 by The Spool Cotton Company. It was published in January 1935 and contains a whole host of jumpers, hats, collars, cuffs and other accessories. Every single one has a truly 1930s uniqueness about it, with wonderful and inventive detailing.
The one that caught my eye immediately was the Parisian Striped Blouse, a short sleeve jumper with a detachable collar. (I’ve added a link to a free version of this pattern at the bottom of the post). It screams mid-1930s with its simple shape and exquisite detailing and I knew straight away I wanted to make it up in emerald green and brilliant white. However, finding the exact shade of emerald green I had in mind wasn’t easy, especially in a 3 ply. Eventually, after a couple of disappointments, I found the perfect shade in a size 5 crochet cotton thread. As this was exactly the type of yarn the original pattern suggested, it was absolutely spot on. Thankfully, it also came in a brilliant white, so I quickly ordered four balls of green (no. 5700) and two of white (no. B5200) in DMC Petra Size 5.
The jumper itself was fairly straightforward, with just two stitches throughout, but I did have a couple of issues with the fit. Firstly, the initial length of it was way too short. I only discovered this once I’d completed both the front and back pieces and quickly pinned them together to try on. I was so mad as I’d checked the length after finishing the first piece, but clearly I hadn’t held it high enough on my shoulders.
Anyway, the jumper ended up being stuffed into a bag whilst I tried to figure out what to do. After about a month I dug it out again and decided to extend the height at the shoulders. The reason I did it this way, rather than adding it on to the bottom, is because it’s crocheted from the bottom upwards. If I’d added it to the bottom, the extra rows would’ve been stitched the wrong way round and it would’ve looked obvious. As the neckline underneath the collar is a basic V shape, it was easy to rip back the last couple of rows that created the shoulder shape, and then add in a few more before adding the shaping back in.
Once this was sorted I could get on with the sleeves. I actually ignore the pattern’s instructions for these as they were a bit odd. I actually think they were wrong, because the shape that would’ve been created looked nothing like a sleeve! Anyway, I just took a basic sleeve pattern piece from one of my sewing patterns and used that as a guide to create the shape. Of course, I made a note of the number of stitches I used on each row so I could replicate it again for the second sleeve.
The collar, however, was the fiddliest bit. Naively, I thought it would be quicker than the rest of the jumper but, boy was I wrong. It started out okay at the collar edge but, as it grew and grew, each row was taking me forever. I was so happy to finish that last white row! Then I had to neaten the edges where the buttons were going to sit. This meant changing colours again as I crocheted up from the bottom to the top. And you should’ve seen the huge number of threads I had to weave in once it was done. Remember I said on my last crochet jumper post that I was never going to do colour work again. Hmmm, I should’ve listened to myself!
The pattern said to create buttonholes by doing a chain of six stitches on the last row when crocheting up the front. Well I did that, attached a button and tried it on. It looked awful. All it did was pulled the chain away from the edge leaving a massive gap in the middle. I couldn’t make the chain any smaller as I wouldn’t be able to get the button through. Oh good, another puzzle to figure out. In the end I just sewed the buttons on as close to the edge as possible and added a hook and eye behind them to close the two edges. Thankfully this worked a treat and there’s minimal gaping.
The buttons themselves also took an age to complete. I created these using some cheap silver coloured buttons I’d had in my stash for years and then I very roughly covered them with scraps of white cotton fabric to make sure the silver didn’t show through. Next, I crocheted little round pockets to go over the buttons and secured them tightly around the button shank. In the end I made eleven buttons, ten for the jumper itself and one for spare in case any of them fell off.
In the end, minus the month it sat in a bag, this jumper took me a total of two months. Probably half of that was on the collar and buttons! I would say I’m about 90% pleased with it. It still has a couple of fitting issues, one being that the shoulders are a little wide. However, I have attached bra strap holders to the inside to keep these in place. Also, because it doesn’t have a waistband, the bottom tends to stick out at times.
However, despite all of the niggles in the making up process and the fit, I do love the jumper a lot. The first time I wore it out I had loads of compliments, which was a lovely confidence booster in my crocheting ability. It’s the first thing I’ve made in proper crochet cotton thread and actually it was really easy to work with. My next project, which is from the same 1930s crochet book, has already taken me three months! It’s also done in the same thread but in a beautifully classic 1930s peach colour. Again, it’s lovely to work with, but boy-oh-boy are the stitches long winded. Hence why it’s taking me so long. I’m hoping to get it finished by Christmas but I’ll believe that when I see it!
Pattern: Parisian Striped Blouse from Paris Sponsors Crochet, Book No. 46 – The Spool Cotton Company, 1935
Yarn: DMC Petra Size 5 in Emerald Green (5700) and White (B5200) – bought from Rainbow Valley
Hook: 2mm steel hook