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! 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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STYLE INSPIRATION: Grease (1978)

Vintage Retro Pin Up Girl Suicide Roll Rockabilly Hair

I think I am getting better at doing the suicide roll!

I think I am getting better at doing the suicide roll!

Grease … is still the word!

Last night, a few people from Ceroc Singapore and I did a little performance to “Born To Hand Jive” at the British Club. I had an incredible time rock n rollin’ to those familiar tunes from the soundtrack of Grease and it’s a joy from dancing which I haven’t felt in a while. Rock and roll dancing is not common amongst the youth in Singapore and social dance nights that play only rock n roll/rockabilly tunes are practically non-existent in Singapore.

Wearing: Handmade hair flower, thrifted polka dot swing dress, and my trusty black & white dance shoes

Wearing: Handmade hair flower, thrifted polka dot swing dress, and my trusty black & white dance shoes

Of course, I did my hair up and pinned a flower on my head for the night. I also had the chance to transform the other ladies who were performing into pin-up girls for a night! Now that the night is over, the songs from Grease are still in my head and I couldn’t resist watching their videos on Youtube and drooling over the wardrobe from the movie.

Do you like dressing up like Sandy or Rizzo? Here are some iconic pieces from various scenes in the movie and their modern and vintage replicas!

Grease Summer Nights Sandy Rizzo Fashion Style

From top left: Vintage 1950s yellow shirtdress from Blue Fennel (via); Hell Bunny Brenda wiggle dress in black available on BlameBetty (via); scene from the song “Summer Night” in Grease (via)

Grease_Olivia-Newton-John_Peach-Dress-Close

Scene from “Sandra Dee (Reprise)”, Grease (via)

vintage 1950s powder pink shirtdress

Vintage 1950s powder pink shirtdress from Retro On The Rocks (via)

And how can we forget the prom night scene and “Born To Hand Jive”?

Do you know who wore dresses like these to the prom?

Grease 1950s Blue Tulle Prom Dress

Cheerleader’s blue tulle prom dress from The Vintage Mistress (via)

Grease Frenchy's 1950s Yellow Tulle Prom Dress

Frenchy’s yellow tulle prom dress from stutterinmama (via)

 

Grease Rizzo Red Polka Dot Rockabilly Wiggle Dress

Rizzo’s red polka dot wiggle prom dress from Deadly Dames, available on Pin Up Girl Clothing (via)

 

And now I am just thinking if it would be crazy to get a Pink Ladies jacket off eBay…

STYLE INSPIRATION: Pretty in Pink (1986)

If you have been following my shop gee whiz! Facebook page, Instagram account (@geewhiz_co) and Etsy shop, you would know that several pink beauties have landed in the shop in the past week. Also, I have been gushing about Andie Walsh’s style in Pretty in Pink. And here’s one whole blog post dedicated to the style icon that is Molly Ringwald aka Andie Walsh in Pretty in Pink!

I watched Pretty in Pink on one of those long and lonely nights in Sydney and I have to say that it is one of the movies that have made me very inspired (style-wise). It is probably the first movie that got me into vintage and retro style (second comes Grease, then Annie Hall). Everything in Andie’s wardrobe is absolutely to-die-for. Her style can be summarised as such: haphazard matching for a volcanic ensemble. Or, basically, granny-chic.

Putting together the listings for those vintage pink dresses and vintage pink blouses for gee whiz! has reignited my obsession with Pretty in Pink, and made me gather all the screenshots from the movie for an in-depth analysis of Andie Walsh’s style.

So, do you like granny-chic style i.e. dressing like a nanna? Wanna dress like Andie Walsh? Follow these simple rules..

#1: Always have pink in your outfit

Pretty-in-Pink-pretty-in-pink-4271402-852-480Almost every single one of Andie’s outfits in the movie contains the colour pink (and if it doesn’t, she still wears vintage.. we’ll see this later). Damn, even a simple pink collared blouse makes her look so good. Why is she so pretty?

#2: Choose a collar with a lacy design

Pretty-in-Pink-pretty-in-pink-4268790-852-480Because wearing a plain pink blouse every time would be BORRRRING. And we know Andie *never* looks boring.

#3: Add more lace!

Pretty-in-Pink-pretty-in-pink-4274635-852-480

Pretty-in-Pink-pretty-in-pink-4274250-852-480Gotta have some textures in your outfit. Gotta be lace.

#4: Wear dangling gold and/or pearl earrings. Wear only one of it.

Pretty-in-Pink-pretty-in-pink-4273693-852-480

Pretty-in-Pink-pretty-in-pink-4273046-852-480Andie often wears dangling vintage/retro earrings … but only on the left ear. Maybe the other earring was already missing when she bought it in the thrift shop. Maybe she is a klutz and keeps misplacing her earrings. Maybe she has a great sense of style..

#5: Wear statement necklaces. Wear it with a collared blouse.

Pretty-in-Pink-pretty-in-pink-4271694-852-480And it’s gotta be gold. Wear your necklaces with #2 in mind.

#6: Wear skirts beyond your knee

Pretty-in-Pink-pretty-in-pink-4269009-852-480

Pretty-in-Pink-pretty-in-pink-4274222-852-480Because grannies don’t wear mini-skirts.

#7: If without pink, choose baby blue

Pretty-in-Pink-pretty-in-pink-4270133-852-480

Pretty-in-Pink-pretty-in-pink-4270490-852-480It seems like baby blue may be Andie’s second favourite colour. So, I guess baby blue can be an option if you are repeating your pink items too much. But never ever forget #3!

#8: Top it off with a hat

Pretty-in-Pink-pretty-in-pink-4269050-852-480Pretty-in-Pink-pretty-in-pink-4273777-852-480Put on a hat for the ultimate volcanic ensemble. Don’t forget to add a touch of floral (i.e. #3) with a skinny floral scarf, and wear only ONE dangling earring (i.e. #4)

Are you inspired? Well, I am. And here’s MORE beautiful pastel pink outfits to inspire you!

vintage pretty in pink granny chic style

Japanese Vintage 70s Sweet Pale Pink/Peach Romantic Feminine Lace Collared Lady Dress with Gold-tone Buttons

vintage pretty in pink granny chic style

Vintage 70s / 80s Japanese Floral Rose Lace Cotton Blouse with Long Sleeves and Collar

vintage pretty in pink granny chic style

Japanese Vintage 70s Sweet Deep Dark Pink Romantic Feminine Lace Frills Lady Dress with Matching Belt

Japanese Vintage Floral Rose Lace Blouse with Faux Pearl Buttons and Long Sleeves

Japanese Vintage Floral Rose Lace Blouse with Faux Pearl Buttons and Long Sleeves

vintage pretty in pink granny chic style

Japanese Vintage Deep Pink Romantic Frilly Ruffles Blouse with Long Sleeves

vintage pretty in pink granny chic style

Vintage 70s / 80s Japanese Ruffles Lace Country Western V-design Satin Polyester Blouse with Long Sleeves and Collar

Visit the gee whiz! Etsy shop to check out other items available. >>>>> http://www.geewhizco.etsy.com

x Gwen

(Movie screen caps via fanpop.com)
 
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Disclaimer: This post is also seen on gee whiz!’s shop blog at geewhiz.co