My first doll clothes creations began at New Year 2013 with knitting for Susan, the doll my mum gave me when I was – well – so young I can’t actually remember when she gave her to me. Here’s a neat little skirt, jumper and beret outfit in double knitting yarn. The skirt is ribbed and figure-hugging, while the jumper is much easier-fitting. To complete her snazzy (vintage adjective!) outfit Susan wears white socks and her Mary Janes. The rich autumn shades of the yarn complement her warm skin tone and enhance the colour of her amber eyes. Standing here on the windowsill in the natural light of an English January afternoon, she glows with colour and looks very pleased with her neat little suit.
To make this outfit I used two vintage patterns from the Vintage Knitting Lady: Bellman 1031, a 1969 design, for the skirt and jumper; and the beret pattern comes from Sirdar 7750, an early 1960s design.
Both patterns are for double knitting, but of course the yarns specified have long gone out of production, so I had to find a good substitute. I chose Jarol Heritage double knitting, a wool rich blend, in shades 132 (rust) and 140 (gold), two wonderful warm autumn colours. I bought two 100g balls of each and, as you’ll see in future Susan posts, I had ample to make several outfits
The Bellman pattern was for a 16″ doll, so I followed it exactly and the results fit well.
The Sirdar beret pattern is for a 14″ doll so I had to enlarge it a little to fit Susan’s head. The 14″ doll pattern was designed to fit a head circumference of 11 inches. Susan’s head plus all that hair actually measures 14″, so I had to increase it by three inches which meant adding 21 extra stitches. This had a knock-on effect in that the shape of the hat turned out less flat – more a beany hat and less a beret – but I wanted it to pull down well on her head and frame her face, so I was happy with the result.
To finish off the beret, I searched YouTube for guidance and then dug out my crochet hooks and made a little crochet button – another trip down memory lane as I had not crocheted since the 1970s. I couldn’t even remember the crochet stitches and had to scrabble around again on the internet for guidance on how to form them. It all came flooding back, however, and I soon had a pretty little softly-padded button to top off the beret, which seen from the back and above seems quite a work of art.