Finished Project: 1919 Knitted Slipover “Bodice”

I have been working on this on and off for about a month or so, and just finished it up!  I’ve come down with a rotten cold, so the opportunity of finding couch worthy projects helped me finish this up.

I may be stretching a bit, but since I just finished this, and the next Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge is “Bodice”, I’m going to use this as a submission.  A little internet searching, and I found this “knitted bodice without sleeves” from 1870 on the Vintage Stitch-O-Rama Free Pattern Emporium.  The one I made is nearly 50 years later, but a similar idea.  Maybe stretching the “bodice” idea a bit (har had, it’s knitted, so it already stretches), but I’m going with it.


Here is the pattern I made mine from.  It’s available in my Etsy shop.  I fell in love with it in the original periodical I have in my archives.


I admit, I didn’t do this pattern exactly as it is.  Being a somewhat notice knitter, I was clueless as to how to pick up stitches and knit the border around the collar and down the front.  And it wanted me to make buttonholes.  So I cheated, and crocheted the edge instead.  There’s enough stretch in the sweater for me to not have to have functional buttonholes.

I also changed the way the cord was made.  I didn’t like how the one looked that the instructions called for, so I looked up “crocheted cord” on Youtube and ended up doing one that’s often used in crocheted lace, or macrame.  I like it!  It took a while to get used to doing, but after a while I got in the groove and the two yards I needed to make went pretty quickly.

I also realized, as I was working this up, that I colorized the photo wrong, and there were meant to be three colors.  Oops?  I actually prefer the two.  In the original instructions, the collar and front three cord and button fasteners are supposed to be a different color than the slipover and edging and cord.

The pattern is old, and so isn’t terribly instructive like modern patterns.  I had to fudge a little here and there, since I had never made crocheted buttons or crocheted top tassels before, but I just played with single crochet and it worked out just fine.  For the base of the buttons I just used some plastic buttons in my stash that I didn’t particularly like, but that were flat.  I know I had plastic rings around here somewhere, but these worked in a pinch.

I’m pretty proud of myself for finishing this!  I’m actually REALLY pleased with how it came out.  I’ve had so many knitting disasters in my eight-ish years I’ve knitted on and off, that it’s nice to have something look pretty close to the original image.

I’ve shown this over a 1910s blouse I made a few years ago and an original vintage skirt from the 1910s to very early 1920s.

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The Challenge: #5 Bodice

Fabric: (Yarn) Shine Worsted Yarn by KnitPicks.  I loooooove this yarn!  So soft!

Pattern: 1919 Knitted Slipover (PDF in my Etsy Store)

Year: 1919

Notions: Buttons to cover.  I used sewing thread to sew on the buttons and little cord things across the front.  Crochet hook and knitting needles.

How historically accurate is it?  Nearly 100%.  The buttons I used to cover are modern plastic, and they may not have had cotton/rayon yarn then, but again, they may have, as rayon was often called “artificial silk” in this time period.

Hours to complete:  A million.  I’m not the fastest knitter.

First worn:  Not yet, but I’m totally planning on wearing this with modern clothing as well as historical, so I’m sure it will get some use.

Total cost:  Maybe $30?  I think I used about 7 balls of yarn at $2.99 each plus shipping.

8 Comments on Finished Project: 1919 Knitted Slipover “Bodice”

  1. WendyBee
    March 7, 2014 at 1:57 pm (8 years ago)

    I love this! It’s brilliant! I love your color choices, and I agree that with how vivid the colors, two colors are perfect. You are genius to have deciphered and improvised a vintage pattern, as a novice, and it somehow looks contemporarily chic. (In a retro sort of way…)
    And I’m sorry about your cold. Hope you are feeling better:-)

  2. Juliana @ Urban Simplicity
    March 7, 2014 at 2:16 pm (8 years ago)

    I adore this vest! It is so lovely, and I love the color contrast. You know it’s going into my knitting queue. Well, after I get through some of the other projects I have lined up. Or maybe this one will jump the line. :)

  3. Victoria
    March 7, 2014 at 2:30 pm (8 years ago)

    I rather like it! The colors are great. I feel like it would fit in in several decades.

  4. Fräulein K.
    March 8, 2014 at 4:16 am (8 years ago)

    looks great, i love the colours

  5. Carla
    March 8, 2014 at 11:54 am (8 years ago)

    Love the colors of it! You did an amazing job of knitting it up.
    Hope you start to feel better :(

  6. Katie Jo Long
    March 9, 2014 at 5:33 pm (8 years ago)

    Looks great! I think the crocheted edge is an excellent substitute to picking up and knitting.

  7. Carolyn
    March 13, 2014 at 8:02 am (8 years ago)

    OMG, if this isn’t the cutest thing ever I don’t know what is! And so timely for me as I’ve decided 2014 is the year I become a knitter. I’ve made scarf, beret, capelet and matching fingerless mitts so far and am in the middle of my first sweater. So I may actually be able to take on a project like this. I love love love this and think I may need to add it to my knitting queue immediately! I love the colours you chose too, so punchy but still sweet. Simply wonderful!

  8. Carol Barclay
    March 29, 2014 at 8:41 am (8 years ago)

    I love combing through knitting and crochet patterns of this era. They’re often so bizarre. Your vest is gorgeous and you chose great colors.