Right, moving swiftly along...
Coco Chanel, mother of invention, image from here
I have a confession to make, I seriously underestimate knits and I think I need to start rethinking their appeal. You see, I don't associate knits with vintage fashion. Which is obviously a serious mistake because vintage fashion provides some of the best examples of beautiful knits.
First, a bit of a definition. According to my Simplicity Fabric Guide:
Knitted fabrics are woven from a continuous length of yarn that's manipulated into interlocking loops to create a flat fabric. The looped construction provides the fabric with much more give and flexibility than its more rigid woven cousins.For the longest time, I associated knits only with jersey. But according to the Fabric Guide:
Jersey: This single knit fabric takes its name from the Channel Island that bears the same name, famous for its fishermen's sweaters. Characterized by plain stitches on the face of the fabric and purl stitches on the back, jersey is found in a variety of fibers including wool, cotton, silk, nylon or blends.How could I write off an entire family of fabrics? Especially with such amazing examples such as those designed by Madame Grès who did some amazing things with silk jersey:
Dress, 1940 designed by Madame Grès, from the Met Museum Fashion Archives
Evening gown, 1978 designed by Madame Grès, Green silk jersey and green silk velvet
image from the Met Museum Fashion Archives
It is actually Coco Chanel we have to thank for the extensive use of knits in women's wear. During the war years, when scarcity was widespread and many fabrics were hard to come by, she bought some jersey fabric and started designing and sewing with it. This must have been quite ground-breaking as jersey was only used in undergarments and underwear up until that time. Another reason that Chanel is high up on my list of sewing heros!
While we are on the subject of knits, or Ka-Nits, one woman who knows a lot about knits is Steph who blogs over at 3 hours Past the Edge of the World and I am super excited that she is starting a pattern line called 'Cake'.
What’s Cake? Well- many of us who sew like to make fun stuff: dinosaur costumes, fluffy dresses, excessively quirky 40′s frocks and all manner of clothes which don’t see much wear. These garments and projects are the “frosting.”
Many sewists use the term “cake” to refer to useful sewn items- pencil skirts, knit tops, knit dresses, jeans: the kind of utility and casual clothes that everyone needs. Why shouldn’t sewing and wearing those kinds of clothes be great fun? Why not get the most from your sewing time (and $$) by making garments you LOVE to wear all the time? Do knit tops and jeans have to be 100% utilitarian and boring?
I don’t think so.
Right now, Cake Patterns by The Consulting Dressmaker is in production. The first pattern, Tiramisu, will be available by early November and closely followed by others.Check out Steph's blog this week for the Tiramisu Circus and Pre-Sale! And sign up for her email alerts for new patterns, here.
In closing, are you a Ka-Nit convert? Or do you stay away from those funny creatures? And I'm curious, who's your sewing hero?