Knitting Lingerie Style: More Than 30 Basic and Lingerie – Inspired Designs PDF by Joan McGowen-Michael


Knitting Lingerie Style: More Than 30 Basic and Lingerie – Inspired Designs
by Joan McGowen-Michael

Knitting Lingerie Style - More Than 30 Basic and Lingerie-Inspired Designs


Quite simply. lingerie is the very fir”t layer of clothinga woman pUison and the la~tla)’er she takes off. II holds and shapes a woman into whateer (orm is dictated by the trends of the day and also symbolizes (emininity. eroticism. and the mysteries o( imimdC)’. A” per..onal as the items themselves. the names for a woman’s undergarments have taken mallY form.:; Ihrougholll history. U”mellliQllahles comes 10 mind, ilS do dailllies and underpinnings. II was nOI umillhe mid-nineteenth cemury ,hat the collective term for them came to be known as lingen·e. a word derived from lin. the French word (or Hnen. HislOriL:ally, as fa.,hion eras have come and gone. lingerie has changed (orm as well. If the newot styles required a wasp \’aiSI Or a high, pointed bust. lingerie designers (ollowed suil with new designs 10 mold the body accordingly. For example, nineleenlh-century fashion dictated dlata womarl have acurvy torso nnd a tiny waist. A,> a result. the body-squeezing cor;et. a ruanel of engineering. was inwnted. The )910 .. drew away from this highly shaped look and moved IUward the modern. independent flapper girl and a boyish figure. The fir:;t brassieres appeared. not to suppon the breasts, but to bind and flallen them into the fashionable androgynous shape. As the fashion pendulum swung and breasts again became the focus uf fashion in the 1940s and 1 950s. aircraft magnate Iloward Ilughcs applied his brilliant engineerin!!; mind to the task of ‘>upponing, and at the S<!me time accentuating, a (ull bu,>t. The result wa’; the invention of the fir’ll undcrv.’ire bra.

I came of age in the 1970… a time when femini<;b tlnev. away their bra~ to express their (reedom ;md the style for undenhings was basic, function’ll •• mel- as far as I was concerned boring. I lowever. I couldn’t help but notice that my mother and grandmother and the older lady who lived next door had some intriguing pieces in Iheir drawe~ and hanging on their clotheslines: girdles and circular-.. titched nO’iC-cone bras. slippery $atin bed jackets. ~amed ~tockings. and strange flat piece<; wid, hooks, grips. and rubber. Some of the..r- items had boning and win.~ and such interesting construction I couldn’t imagine what they were suppo<;ed to do. :’lome h’ld lovely embroidcry and lace. and I wondered why anyone would go to such trouble to decorate an item that would ultimately be co cred up. ilUl most of all. in my mind. these items were the l~sence of femininity, <‘omething I thought I’d never get a chance tv ,;hare in … ince the fashion (or it ‘!tt!Cmed to have passed me by. How naie I W’h about the cycl~ of fashion, how what hf/;){“S around comes around again and agnin. By the time I’d grown up, gone 10 design school. and landed my first job <IS iI designer for a major lingerie retaik’r, the time was ripe again for beautiful. feminine underthing~. It pleased me immensely to recreate in modern (abrice;; the looks J’d seen in m) childhood and watch them c;elilike crazy. \omen ecrywhere were feeling secure enough to express their femininity agOlin, and I WOlS right there, at the right time, to help them do it.

In recent years, we have seen the focus of lingerie change from a supporting role to a starring one. Lingerie sryle is everywhere. Slips have become dresses unto themselves, cut on the bias in satin or prints and trimmed with luxurious lace. BrOi straps peek out from under tank top<; and even ing dresses, and the bra itself is a fashion accessory. meant to be glimpsed under sheer tOpS and unbuttoned sweaters. Undcrwires and boning appear in tops and dresses with lacing that mimics the oldfashioned corsets. And thanks to pop starlets and low-cut jeans, the thong panty has made an (often literal) appearance. Truly nOt a season goes by lhat the fashion designers don’t dream up new ideas for outerwear derived from lin~eri e. But why hand-knit lingerie? you might ask. The OInswer requires no more than a peek into the lingerie drawer. Most of the garments found there are actually made from knitted fabrics albeit machine-made ones. But Il<md-knined lingerie is hardly a revolutionary idea: it is simply one that is being revived. In the centuries before central heating became common, all members of a family sported hand-knit dr .. wers. vestS, long johns, petticoats, socks, and stockings to stay warm. Wool was the fiber of choice for its warmth and wicking properties.

Since warmth has become less of an issue with the advent of dependable indoor heating, we are now able to knit lingerie for the pleasure and prettiness of it without worrying about this function. Ve may use luxurious silks. linen blends, or easy-care cottons. with the outcome often geared most toward aesthetics. Ve may choose yarns for their s tretch and recovery. their shine, their crispness, or simply for their indulgent softness against the skin.

While my hand-knitted lingerie may not do the heavy-duty molding and shaping of its predecessors, ilcan be a fun and fanciful addition to the wardrobe. I n each chapter of this book, I present a basic garment- the bra, the slip, the corset, the camisole, the stocking, and more-as well as garments that contain element) of the original, but expound upon it. Some designs :lre truly functional. holding up breasts and stockings and lending some spice to a well-turned ankle. Some arc purely for fashion and fun, daring us all to bare a little skin. All of the designs prettily remind us that to be a woman is a gift that can be celebrated every day with whatever we choose to knit and to wear.

Breasts, as any woman knows, can be ralhcr unruly body pans. They bounce, jiggle, sway, and flop as a matter of course. Keeping their motion in check- and lending them suppOrt and beauty- is the main function of the brassiere (or bra for short). While the bra is a fairly modern device-only a hundred years old or so-the need for breast suppon, restraint, and adornmelll has existed throughout history.

In ancient Crete, for example, around 1600 Be, jlinoan women contrived an early vcrsion of the corset that cim:hed the waist and lifted the breasts, which were left bare and painted prettily as something of a fashion accessory. In Ancient Greece athletic women bound their breasts with wool fabric for maximum suppOrt. And in early centuries throughout Europe, women downplayed their breasts by flattening them with bodices and wearing tunics.

At the beginning of the 14th century, however, with the Henaissance JUSt under way, practicalitybegan 10 give way 10 fashion . Vomen cast aside their loose-fitting robes and began to wrap their garments on the outside with long strips of leather or fabric to shape the waist and lift the bosom. During the late 18th century, a high bosom was de rigeur, and it was achieved with a bodice that was built inside the popular empire-waisted frocks. The 19th cemury is nOlOrious for its torturously corseted feminine waisdine, and those corsets did double duty in supponing the bust for almost one hundred years.

The bra as we know it firsl appeared in the late 19th century. And the first patent for one was issued to fo,’lary Phelps Jacob in 1914, a clever New York debutante who fashioned, from silk handkerchiefs and ribbon, a garment 10 wear under a sheer evening gown in lieu of a heavy corset. She later sold her palent to Warner Brothers Corset Company (today the maker of Warner’s undergarments) for a mere SI,500; over the next thirty years, Warner’s made more than $15 million from the patent.

Bras have come a long way since the donning of a pair of handkerchiefs. And as you’ll see in the following pages, uley have become the inspi ration for a whole new era of closefitting, bust-enhancing fashions, such as the Retro Ribby Twinset, which uses accordion ridges to suggest a bra-like bodice; the Chocolate Creme Squarc·Neck Top, which uses an empire waist to bring attention to the bosom, and the Citrus Sun Top, which mixes the best of retro styling and bosom-y allure.

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