I have been meaning to post this for over a month and finally have the images to share! This comes from an original Needlecraft Magazine from 1913, and these high contrast scans will make it easier for you to read and save the text. This is from an original in my archives.
I have a few past articles that mention knit underwear that was quite popular in the Edwardian era, and even before and after. These would go UNDER the corset in place of the chemise. There were knit vests, which were essentially like long tank tops. There were also knit combinations that were a crotchless bifurcated garment that combined chemise and drawers. Both of these items were comfortable, and depending on the fiber, could be quite warm. I have sources that mention it in the 1930s, and I know it continued to be popular into the 1940s, especially in Britain during WWII shortages. There were patterns for knitting your own, but most women wore the inexpensive ready-made garments that were cut from machine knitted fabric, that was often ribbed, and then sewn together. This article clarifies that fabric that was machine knit in the round was available for the home sewer to purchase in order to make their own knit vests. Exciting!
Here’s my past blog article that talks more about what these were. Here’s a free knitting pattern for a 1902 knit vest that I posted from a book in my collection. And in this YouTube video about 1910s underwear I show an original knit combination suit.
What makes this article so interesting, and why I’ve been meaning to share it, is because these garments can be kind of… on the plain side. Needlewomen at home came up with these clever ways to use their crochet and needlework skills to pretty up a serviceable garment. I love this attention to detail!
Enjoy, and feel free to save these images. If you make any please report back!
LesleyMarch 13, 2021 at 12:07 am (2 years ago)
During lockdown I fell down a rabbit hole and recreated WW2 crochet bras and a set of knitted underwear from a book c. 1944
AndreaMarch 15, 2021 at 11:59 am (2 years ago)
I _must_ try these! When the pandemic ends and I have to go back to cold office buildings these would be a lifesaver!
EmilyMarch 19, 2021 at 7:48 am (2 years ago)
These are wonderful, thank you! In addition to the crocheting patterns, I am so excited and fascinated by the commentary on the knitted garments themselves! I’m especially excited about the advice for adjusting the sewing machine tension to sew on knitted fabric, to see how they managed with an ordinary straight stitch machine, with no sergers or even a zig-zag stitch! I have a 1926 Singer treadle that I love using, and I love learning what they were capable of!