MADE: 1950’s Bardot-inspired Bright Red Sweater

Bardot Inspired Knitted Red Sweater
Bardot Inspired Knitted Red Sweater

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The inspiration behind the sweater

Brigitte Bardot has always been my muse. I love her iconic woke-up-like-this hair and sense of style. When I am in need of some cute and flirty 1950’s vintage style inspirations, I always turn to Pinterest and enter “Brigitte Bardot style” in the search bar.

This picture of Bardot with her wide bambi eyes, alluring lips, unbrushed look and bright red sweater is something that caught my eye a while back. I have always wanted to have a red sweater like that.

Obviously, with a design that simple, I could always just find a similar one from a high-street store. But why would I want to do that when I know that I could make my own?

Finding the pattern

When I came across the Knitting It Old School book in a secondhand bookstore in San Francisco in 2016 and saw the pattern “Swing Time” by Kirsten Kapur, I knew I had found the right pattern. It has just the right design details: round neckline, ribbing in the body, short sleeves.

Unfortunately (and rather unsurprisingly), the smallest size offered by the pattern is for a 32″ bust. I *could* have a 32″ bust if I wore a good bra and kept my chest out all the time. But ain’t nobody’s got time for that.

I have always wanted to try grading a knitting pattern. I have graded many sewing patterns but grading knitting patterns just seems like swimming in dark waters to me. Unpicking sewing stitches is less painful than frogging a whole knitted sweater!

After reading this article from the archives of the online Knitty magazine, I decided to jump in and take a swim. Moreover, I have a ton of vintage knitting patterns that I would LOVE to knit but aren’t my size. I just have to try grading a pattern at some point.

Bardot Inspired Knitted Red Sweater
Bardot Inspired Knitted Red SweaterFinding the yarn

The next problem I faced was finding the right yarn for the project. I have knitted a fair share of projects using cheap acrylic yarn that I have bought and hoarded over the years from the time I was a poor university student. As I am starting to become more concerned about the amount of plastic amassing in landfills and floating in the ocean on planet Earth, I wanted to make the switch to using natural fibres. Living in the tropical island of Singapore where summer happens ALL YEAR ROUND makes using cotton the obvious choice. I bought my cotton yarn via a shop on Taobao.com (which is basically Chinese Amazon). The name of this stunning shade of red is, believe it or not, called “China Red” (when directly translated from Chinese).

I absolutely love this yarn! The burn test proved that it’s truly a 100% cotton yarn. It’s soft and easy to knit with. I have worn the sweater a couple of times and it seems to be holding up pretty well so far. Well, you can ask me again in a few months’ time!

Grading the pattern

So, for anyone who is interested, here’s how I graded my pattern:

I made a gauge and studied the different sizes of the pattern. This pattern is written for S (M, L etc) – 32 (36, 40 etc)” chest. I wanted a 30″ chest (so kinda like an XS). That means that it is 2″ smaller than the smallest size.

The difference between XS and S is 2″, while the difference between S and M is 4″.

So, when the pattern asked to CO 98 (110, 122 etc), I decided to CO 92 for my XS sweater.

110 (size M) – 98 (size S) = 12

Difference between XS and S = 0.5 x difference between S and M = 0.5 x 12 = 6

Number of stitches to CO for size XS = size S – 6sts = 98 – 6 = 92

I applied the same concept throughout for the number of stitches required and the length of certain parts that were stated.

Bardot Inspired Knitted Red Sweater
Bardot Inspired Knitted Red Sweater

Details: Gold-tone buttons saved from a vintage dress I changed the buttons for

The end result

I guess… it worked? The only other modification I made is reducing the length of ribbing for the sleeves so I won’t have the weird thick sleeve cuffs folded over and it would look more like the sweater that Bardot has. My sweater has a snug fit, which is what I want and need for the vintage look. Can you imagine what it would have looked like if I hadn’t graded the pattern!?

The original pattern describes the sweater to be a 1940’s style design. For some reason, knitting it in red made it look more like a 1950’s style highschool cheerleader sweater of some sort. Don’t you think so?

Bardot Inspired Knitted Red Sweater

Showing you the seams under the pits!

Bardot Inspired Knitted Red Sweater

A video of how I did my hair is also available on my Instagram. Photo edited with A Colour Story Stardust filter pack by Keiko Lynn.

Summary:

Pattern: Swing Time by Kirsten Kapur (from Knitting It Old School)

Yarn: Basic cotton red yarn from TaoBao.com

Modifications: Reduced length of ribbing for sleeve cuffs, graded pattern to fit XS

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MADE: Vintage 1950’s Style Polka Dot Sweater

Vintage 1950s inspired polka dot sweater

Vintage 1950s inspired polka dot sweater
Many of you may not know this, but I started blogging eons ago when I picked up knitting. My first blog was called “because she started knitting”. Obviously, my focus has changed significantly since. But… my knitting skills pretty much stayed stagnant because I was never confident enough to move away from hats and scarves.

A while back I blogged about some vintage-inspired knitting and crochet books which spurred me to pick up my knitting needles once more. Fast forward many months later, this polka dot sweater is born.

Vintage 1950s inspired polka dot sweater

Left: My creation // Right: The original pattern from the book Vintage Knits for Him & Her: 30 modern knitting patterns for stylish vintage knitwear

Vintage 1950s inspired polka dot sweater

That’s 6 inches off the bottom!

It took me about 2 months to finish this project, and then a couple more months to grieve over the fact that it was too long for my liking. After a tearful post on Instagram, I finally mustered enough courage to snip the bottom off and to correct the length. I took off about 6 inches from the bottom! I honestly don’t know how I ended up making a dress. Maybe I shouldn’t have steamed it with a steam iron. But I love how yarn looks after a bit of steaming.

Vintage 1950s inspired polka dot sweater

Vintage 1950s inspired polka dot sweater

Front and back

And then, after the length was fixed, I realised that I wished it fitted on my body better. Once again, maybe.. maybe I really shouldn’t have steamed it, because steaming relaxes the yarn.

Vintage 1950s inspired polka dot sweater

It took me a few more months of grieving before I finally came into terms with the fact that I am NOT going to make it better. I am NOT taking the sides in. I have had enough. This project has exhausted all of my patience. And so, this is the way it stays. xo G

MADE: Vintage 1960’s inspired Chocolate Chip Christmas Hat

vintage 1960s inspired knitted hatvintage 1960s inspired knitted hatHappy New Year everyone! I hope everyone had a good Christmas and New Year’s. I was away for the entire month of December as I had been busy with my work and life in general. More importantly, I spent Christmas with my boyfriend in Texas and got to meet his family and friends for the first time!

And because it was winter, I got to wear all the coats and hats and boots and everything that I haven’t had the chance to wear since I moved back to Singapore 3 years ago. But I still couldn’t resist knitting something new.. especially since I still have so many balls of yarn in my stash!

Bernat 1969 hat knitting patternBernat 1969 hat knitting pattern

I saw this photo of a vintage 1969 knitted hat featured in an old Bernat knitting pattern magazine and I was smitten! The hat looked like it was made with a bulky yarn in the photo, but I wanted to use my existing DK / 8 ply yarn, so I decided to improvise! I used this gnome hat pattern that I found via Ravelry as a base for my hat.

vintage 1960s inspired knitted hatAnd to replicate the original 1969 hat pattern, I made the following modifications:

  • Created the long tail by repeating a few of the decreasing rounds a couple of times
  • Adding a pom pom at the end with fabric glue

vintage 1960s inspired knitted hatvintage 1960s inspired knitted hat

vintage 1960s inspired knitted hatEasy peasy! And is it just me or does the yarn remind you of chocolate chip and vanilla ice cream? Yum.

And now that I am back in hot and sunny Singapore, this hat shall rest in the wardrobe… until my next adventure to somewhere cool…