Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Spencer

One of my many weaknesses is a fondness for regency romance--not the hot-blooded cheap paperback variety featuring barely-clad men on the cover, but the older, gentler, more historically accurate type written by Georgette Heyer. I first became acquainted with these books back in the 1970s, when my great-aunt would have copies lying about the bedroom she occupied in our house. I lapped up "Sprig Muslin", "The Nonesuch", and "Devil's Cub". Then came a long period when these delightful novels went out of print, until about a decade ago they started to reappear (quite misleadingly) under the Harlequin label. Now I have a whole shelf of Ms. Heyer's titles, as well as "Georgette Heyer's Regency World", a useful and interesting portrayal of the era by an author who has written a doctoral dissertation on Heyer. Heyer's books were quite obviously meticulously researched, and her attention to detail in describing the clothing of the period is part of what brings her stories to life.
Why am rambling on about Regency clothing? Because, on my way to completing my latest design, it seems that I have unexpectedly created a rather charming Spencer. And what, you ask, is a Spencer? It's a short jacket derived, as many Regency women's fashions were, from men's military clothing.
                  
                                        http://www.fashion-era.com/images/RegencyRom/grnspenc.jpg
Yesterday I joined the two halves of the bodice of my sideways jacket. Now I'm in the pause before picking up the stitches along the lower edge and working down and, really, I'm not sure I want to. Having tried on the little cardigan that has resulted, I love it pretty much as is, even though it still needs edgings (I-cord?) and buttons.


This jacket owes its origins to Carol Anderson's Babies and Bears Jacket for Grownups, a garment which, for all the fun knitting it provides, has never flattered me. The sleeves are too wide, the body too bulky, and the neckline unattractive on a petite person like me. For the top portion of my jacket, I'v made the sleeves narrower, created a low V-neck and tapered the body so it hugs the chest. Notice how the diagonal lines of the neckline are echoed in the diagonal increase line down the body.


The two halves were joined fairly invisibly by means of a 3-needle bind-off. Here you see the back.


I've done the garter stitch rather firmly and used plain old bar increases to created a fabric with body.
I still plan to finish the lower "skirt" as in this sketch,

                                

but now I also intend to write up the short jacket version as a variation.

5 comments:

  1. Two great options! Don't you love the surprises that come as you knit?

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  2. I think you have created a classic. Knitters will be working that pattern for generations to come. Your legacy.

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  3. Looks like a great jacket. And I also love the Georgette Heyer regency romances. There are many imitations out there, but her books are head and shoulders above them.

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    1. I agree. Apart from Jane Austen, there's really no one else. Hope you've tried some of the narrations on Audible.com--they're worthwhile.

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  4. I just love the way it's coming together - looks great!!

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