Knit one, purl one and all that …

(republished into its original place in the time-line from my lost post archive. See the rest of this series of posts here.)

ephemeraI haven’t done one of my ephemera posts on old papers and clippings found in my late Mum’s hoard for ages, but came across these two knitting patterns recently which piqued my interest…

Knitting bathing suitA knitted swimsuit – hard to conceive of in these days of stretchy fabrics that hold everything in. However, what amused me was the caveat at the top of the instructions overleaf …


As woollen fabric expands a little when wet, a Swimming Suit must fit the figure firmly before it is worn in the water, otherwise it will be liable to sag. The sizes given in the recipe are, therefore, not those of the finished garment, but such as will stretch in wear to the required dimensions.

Glad that’s clear then!  I also like the way the instructions are referred to as recipes. There’s no date on this pattern, but I’m guessing early 1950s?

The second one is a pattern sent off for from the Daily Mail. The reverse of the clipping gives the date – Feb 1941. The clipping invites you to write in enclosing an large SAE plus 2d in penny stamps to the Editor of the Women’s Page.

Knitting jumper

The instructions are on three and a half sides of typed foolscap – not an error to be spotted. Meanwhile, the clipping gives suggestions for colours – “Make it up in cowslip yellow wool for a grey or navy suit, or turf green with ******, or, very Parisian, clerical grey with black.”  The asterisks indicate a dark shade that I can’t possibly repeat these days, don’t ask. Look at that shoulder shaping though.

There’s something fascinating about old knitting patterns isn’t there?

2 thoughts on “Knit one, purl one and all that …

  1. kaggsysbookishramblings says:

    Fascinating! My mum was a knitter too, though she hasn’t for many years now because of arthritic fingers. The concept of knitted swimwear is quite bizarre, isn’t it? And I can recall my mum referring to the colour of particular items of clothing with that word – no way could you do that nowadays!! The jumper is very attractive although the woman is very anorexic – or maybe it’s just post-war rationing….

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