Vintage Knitting & Crafts

Northern Ireland’s World War Two and Fashion

Did anyone watch My Mother and Other Strangers last night? What did you think of the first episode? Personally I found it a little hard going at first as it felt it had begun in the middle of a story. There wasn’t a run up of understanding the layout or the characters involved. There was a lot to take in: the locals anger at the GIs, the Coyne family who are at the centre of this story, and the general hostility of towards anyone who was considered an outsider. By the end though, I wanted to know what will happen next, so I will be watching next week.

A World War Two drama is an excellent excuse for me to talk about the fashion of that era. As the story starts in October we get to see plenty of berets, scarves and gloves, along with the usual patterned and Fair Isle jumpers. Fair Isle was popular from the 1930s when the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) started wearing it. It continued in popularity during the war as an excellent make-do-and-mend as it used up odds and ends of wool. More fitted designs in clothing became the fashion as clothing materials were rationed. I’ve written more about this here.

The best way to get your own vintage style knitwear is to knit it yourself. If you feel tempted to give it a try I sell vintage knitting patterns in my shop. Many vintage knitting patterns of this period tend to give only one or two sizes to knit. If you have this problem and want to make larger garment, my post from a vintage magazine article can help with this.

An excellent website for knitting vintage patterns is Susan Crawford Vintage. Susan has not only created lots of vintage based patterns, but has her own vintage based yarns. Her deep love for getting the essence of those vintage knits includes research-based colours that were used from the 1930s-1950s. Fenella is a 2-ply yarn that gives the 3-ply tension of many knitting patterns and in colours that give an authentic look.

If you don’t fancy knitting your own, but would like to have a wearable wartime look, I can recommend two online shops. First is Knitted by Aunty Emma, who sells some handknitted WW2 inspired pieces. I also like Appletree Lane 1940s Shop which sells some handknitted pieces along with vintage and retro items.


One thought on “Northern Ireland’s World War Two and Fashion

  1. Excellent and interesting write-up Charlotte. Will certainly be watching next weeks episode . Was interested to see just how realistic and true to life this first episode was. The parents concern for their 16 year old daughter brought back memories of just how caring parents were in those days because of the attraction and danger to young girls who were attracted to those American soldiers. A complete contrast to how liberal many parents are these days.

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