MADE: Knitted Beauty School Tops in Baby Pink and Powder Blue

Earlier this year, I test-knitted the Beauty School Top and matching Beauty School Turban patterns for Amy Appel (@poisongrrls). It was not my first time test knitting for Amy but these patterns turned out to be my favourite designs by her so far.

The sweater has a basic design that is full of possibilities and has an amazing fit for a 1950’s style silhouette. It’s a definite staple for any handmade vintage style loving lady.

When I did the test knitting, I chose a cotton blend yarn in baby pink because I wanted a colour that would go with my Country Garden skirt and Country Garden dress, and a fibre that would be suitable for this tropical climate. When I did a swatch of the yarn, I felt that the yarn seemed to be like lighter than the fingering weight that the pattern called for, so I ended up having to use small needles (i.e. 3.00mm instead of 3.25mm). To ensure a safer fit, I also decided to add stitches to the circumference of the sweater.

The sweater turned out to be such a dream, I wanted to make another one in a different colour. So, I decided to make one in powder blue as a birthday present for my friend!

As I am practically incapable of making the SAME thing twice within the same year, I decided to change it up and made some modifications to the pattern the second time round. Also, my tension seemed to have loosened up a little this time round so I used the required 3.25mm needles. Moral of the story: swatching is important and test-knitting is fun but stressful.

Can you spot the differences?

At a glance…

Project link on Ravelry: Baby Pink version & Powder Blue version
Pattern:
 Beauty School Top by Amy Appel (aka @poisongrrls) [link]

BABY PINK VERSION
Yarn: Hamanaka Sea Queen Shine Cotton “Lamé” in baby pink (with shiny metallic strand)

Modifications:

  • Needles: Used 3.00mm needles instead of 3.25mm to make the stitches denser
  • Chest size: Sneaked in 4 stitches in total across the chest (2 at the front and 2 at the back when casting on extra stitches to join the shoulders pieces) as I was aware that cotton could have less stretch
  • Length: Added 10 more rounds of knitting at the bottom to make the sweater longer

POWDER BLUE VERSION
Yarn: Hamanaka Sea Queen Shine Cotton in powder blue (aka no metallic strand)

Modifications:

  • Sleeves: 12 rounds of ribbing instead of 6
  • Neckband: 5 rounds ribbing with smaller needles, 5 rounds ribbing with larger needles

Obviously, I am wearing my good bra in these photos to achieve the 1950’s style silhouette. These sweaters are sure snug! For anyone who is not a fan of snug, cropped tops, I will suggested making it wider by casting on more stitches when joining the back and front together, and longer by knitting more rounds between each decrease from bust through the waist to the hem.

Do you have this pattern on your queue or have you also made one? Let me know what you think about my pastel versions of the Beauty School Top!  xx

MADE: Knitted Silk Camisole

As I move towards having a 100% thrifted, vintage and me-made wardrobe, I have been wanting to knit a simple, sleeveless camisole for casual, everyday wear. Well, it’s summer every day here in Singapore!

Of course, anything too plain would be too boring for me. So, something has to pop – either the yarn or the pattern has to have a bit of *jazz*. Fortunately for me, this little project ended up to be a little bit of both.

I made this basic tank top using a free Japanese knitting pattern by Pierrot Yarns (a Japanese company) found via Ravelry, with some modifications to the neckline and sleeve opening for an extra feminine touch. If you look again, you will also notice the twisted rib stitch. They give such an interesting visual effect and add so much texture to the final product. Spending time twisting the stitches when knitting it was totally worth it!

The yarn is from a Japanese brand called Hamanaka, and this yarn is called Excel Silk. There’s a stash entry of it on Ravelry and it’s claimed to be 100% waterproof. To be honest, I have no idea what that really means. So… it doesn’t get wet? Anyway, I don’t think I will be washing it very often. The material feels cool to the skin and the stitches stretch out when I wear it.

I barely sweat in it. I’m just gonna wear, hang, air/sun, and repeat!

I am also in love with the super soft shade of pink that blends in so well with my skin. I feel like I could just melt into one of the impressionist paintings of the French countryside by Monet. So, don’t be too surprised if you see this camisole rotating into my basic weekend wear on Instagram. x

At a glance…

Project link on Ravelry: here
Pattern:
 216ss-02 Knit Bustier by Pierrot (Gosyo Co., Ltd) [link]
Yarn: Hamanaka Excel Silk in pink
Modifications: CO 113 (instead of 115), add sc all around the armholes and neckline, then with 3ch between each sc the second round.

P.S.: I still have a few balls of this yarn available, enough to make a matching bottom. I’m thinking about making a knitted pencil skirt with the same twisted rib stitch! What do you think?

MADE: 1950’s Bardot-inspired Bright Red Sweater

Bardot Inspired Knitted Red Sweater
Bardot Inspired Knitted Red Sweater

(via)

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! It’s a cotton blend that consists of 60% cotton and 40% milk fibre. 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

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…