Tea Garden Dress: A Stitch in Time Retrospective
Tea Garden Dress images copyright Arbour House Publishing
This lovely knitted dress is a real head-turner. Originally published in the Sun-glo Knitting book in 1943, it appears in The Square Look section of A Stitch in Time, volume 1. It was originally knitted in a solid colour, Soldier Red and its style reflects the military look of the time (mid World War Two.)
The Tea Garden Dress is knitted using 4ply yarn; the garment in the book uses a pure wool tweed in two contrasting shades which really lends itself to the herringbone pattern of the skirt. It comes in two sizes and the change is made by using different size needles. If you're interested in why it was done this way and not graded in the usual fashion, there is a really interesting article on Susan's blog about grading vintage knitting patterns here.
The dress has a lovely breast pocket detail, button openings, a Peter Pan collar and knitted shoulder pads. By using two distinct stitch patterns, there is enough going on to keep the knitter's interest over a larger garment. The Tea Garden Dress is knitted flat, in pieces, starting with the whole back of the garment. Having said that, it could easily be adapted to a skirt and top, if liked too.
You can really put your own stamp on the dress with your choice of buttons too. Do you have a stash of beautiful vintage ones?
A little behind the scenes fact: the dress in A Stitch in Time that you see modelled by Theodora was also knitted by her.
The Tea Garden Dress works well in different colourways - both keeping the striping and going for a solid colour.
IreneVienna's Tea Garden Dress where she has used a brighter blue and a laurel green colour for her dress.
Other colour combinations that might work well are pinks and greens, a soft yellow and blue contrast, or autumnal colours.
Image left courtesy of IreneVienna; image below copyright Ingrid Murnane
Don't be without one for visiting your local tearooms or rose garden!
Next time we're going to have a retrospective of the bathing suits from A Stitch in Time. We've been chatting about making them over on Ravelry recently. Do pop over and have your say.