For me, Sunday evening television has livened up with the welcome return of of 'Home Fires' - Series Two on ITV. I enjoyed the first series, but this has surpassed it in my opinion and to be honest I much prefer 'Home Fires' to 'Downton Abbey' any day - with apologies to Julian Fellowes! I have to admit to re-watching the previous three episodes just because I've found the story-lines so engrossing and also to admire both the outfits worn and easy-on-the-eye Captain Novotny!
Kudos has to given to the programme's wardrobe department. They've managed to find plenty of authentic 1940s knitwear for this series and it probably helps that many of the actors are very slim, so easily fit into these garments. One thing that I've noticed is the knits have that worn appearence with a few having genuine-looking frayed edges that comes with wear, rather than artificial ageing by a wardrobe hand. Its great to see a WWII tv programme with a wardrobe that clearly evokes both the period and the fact that many people didn't have a lot of clothes, so the ones they did wear frequently received a lot of wear and tear. Look at farmer's lad Stan Farrow with his holey pullover...
Being a keen collector of vintage knitting patterns, I've recognised a few of them during the series; this and a recent post by Wendy of The Butterfly Balcony, gave me the idea to write a post specifically about the patterns and share them, in case anyone wants to recreate one or more of the 'Home Fires' knitwear. So here are some screen captures of the knits, which I've matched up with their corresponding patterns.
As knitting wool was so scare during WWII due to a high proportion of Britain's wool clip being used to manufacture military uniforms, patterns that eked out every last strand of yarn found favour with knitters. Fair Isle was one of the most popular of patterns due to its colourful motifs that was bright and colourful, yet economical with wool. This Fair Isle jumper worn by doctor's daughter Laura Campbell, is part of a twin set from Bestway and I recognised it immediately as I have an identical one from the 1940s knitted in the exact colourway and in a fine 3ply.
You can find an updated pattern for this jumper available in a wide range of sizes in A Stitch in Time, Vintage Knitting Patterns 1930-1959: Vol 2 written by Susan Crawford & Jane Waller.
By the way, keep an eye out in 'Home Fires' as you might notice that this jumper is 'recycled'; being also worn by the village busy-body.
Coming to one of my favourite characters, exchange telephonist Claire Hillman, the 'rabbit-ears' jumper that she's wearing above nattily matched with her helmet, is knitted from Weldons No 528 pattern. This has been a favoured pattern for a while and I've previously toyed with the idea of adapting it into a cardigan.
This colourful jumper worn by vicar's wife Sarah Collingbourne, minus its neckties, was knitted from Bestway 1511 - I love the model's pose on the cover. Fancy knitting one yourself? There's a re-written version for a size 38-40" bust in Jane Waller's book Knitting Fashions of the 1940s, which uses 4ply wool.
Here's another Fair Isle design that appears to be a wardrobe staple for character, Erica Campbell. An identical pattern can be found for it in Patons Knitting Book No 262 and is featured - albeit in a different colourway - on the front cover.
The Neapolitan ice cream colours of this jumper knitted in a traditional wavy Old Shale pattern is bound to be a favourite with knitters. I can't find an identical pattern for the knit featured with its slashed neckline; however, Sirdar 1140 is a close match and the Your Victory Jumper available free from the V&A website is another variation.
The pattern shown above taken from Subversive Femme's Etsy shop is a dead-ringer for farmer Steph Farrow's jumper. The chevron pattern, colour combo and eyelet detail are really eye-catching, but not too overpowering.
One of the most feminine knits in the programme has to be the cream jumper with its lace-work yoke and embroidered flower details as worn by troubled book-keeper Alison Scotlock. I've found a pattern, which looks line an identical match on the Fab 40s Fashions website.
Here we come to the patterns that I haven't been able to find a match for, but thought I'd include them anyway...
The blue cardigan below worn by Butcher's wife, Miriam Brindsley, looks very Thirties in style, with a longer line than its waist-skimming 1940s contemporaries.
I've enjoyed pulling this post together and aim to update it if I recognise any further knits shown in the remaining programmes. If you have any ideas on the 'mystery' knits, please let me know and I'll add them to the above.
I'm also planning to do a similar post, but on the dresses featured - so watch this space.
In the meantime, happy viewing!
|If looks could kill - however, she does have a nice button detail on her shoulder!|