My principle goal for 2016 was to knit a vintage-inspired skirt suit for myself. I chose Kim Hargreaves pattern, “River”, for the skirt, as the textured rib pattern and Rowan Lima yarn seem to have held up very well according to the women who have knitted it over the past few years.
There is nothing worse than a skirt that develops a bumpy shape in back so I knitted the skirt quite tightly and followed the pattern directions for gauge even though it meant going down several needle sizes.
Rather than crocheting a row inside the skirt to hold an elastic band, as the pattern instructed, I decided to finish the skirt properly. I cut out a piece of interfacing from a scrap of silk, pressed the edges down 1/8 of an inch, and finished them on my sewing machine. Then I hand-sewed this casing inside the skirt waistband and threaded in two ¾ inch pieces of elastic with hand-stitching in between. This was a detailed process which I will describe in another blog post later.
The tunic pattern I used for the top of my retro knitted suit is Leah by Kim Hargreaves:
My readers voted for this top, and I am so glad that I followed their advice because I really love the way it turned out! My additional incentive for knitting this project is that my name is the same as the pattern’s. J I did add some additional waist shaping, to enhance the hour-glass retro style I was aiming for:
I also modified the boatneck. With my square jaw, a boat neck collar is not flattering, so I added nine rows of short row shaping to the shoulders on each side. By thus building up the shoulders, the neck was lowered into a rounder shape, and I like it very much. This was a total experiment, as the garment is knitted in one piece, which I have never done before.
Since the garment is knitted from the bottom edge of the front to the bottom edge of the back, with a slit in the neck in the middle, I created a mirror image of wraps and turns on the shoulders on each side of the neck opening. The resulting neckline still has a stylish, modern look but does not reveal my bra straps or create a harsh neckline. Do you see the way the collar seems to dip down at the neck because of the short rows I knitted on either side?
Well, it took me most of 2016 to complete my goal of knitting a retro-inspired suit, but I finished it just under the wire! I love the simplicity of this ensemble, and the way it is so fun and easy to accessorize. I believe this will become a favorite wardrobe staple in years to come!