Vintage Pattern of the Week: Marriner’s Twinset

Whoever said twinsets are the staid, boring uniform of the elderly? This classy little 1950s combo turns the notion on its head.

Marriner’s leaflet No.162 was originally knitted in Marriner’s 3-ply “Heritage” Shrink-less knitting wool in Light Grey, White and Cherry on No.10 (3.25mm) & No.12 (2.75mm) needles to a tension of 7.5sts/9.5 rows to the inch. Shrink-less yarn was another one of those great post-war ’50s innovations. Geek fact alert: out of the 25,000,000 US wired homes in 1940, 60% owned an electric washing machine. The war put the kibosh on washing machine production but when the humble appliance returned to take its place in the home, new techniques evolved to help clothes withstand the process. Shrinkless yarn was still 100% wool, but was treated to prevent shrinking and felting.

The ’50s also saw progress in the ladies’ bust department (helped along by the bullet bra): patterns finally had to admit that women came in sizes other than a 34″ bust and, what’s more, knitted fashion could actually still look stylish on those more shapely figures – this pattern offers a range of sizes between 34-40″. Having said that the waist is still pretty small by today’s standards, ranging roughly between 25-28″.

The simple shape (ribbed welt, increases out to the bust, set-in sleeves, crew neck) is a familiar theme, but makes a stand-out garment combined with the colours, contrast yoke and patterned leaf motif.

In true Maria von Trapp style, these are a few of my favourite things.



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3 Responses to “Vintage Pattern of the Week: Marriner’s Twinset”

  1. Katarina says:

    That twinset is absolutely gorgeous! Love the colours and the simple yet stylish yoke. I feel a desperate need emerging…

    • admin says:

      Isn’t it?! I love how such a simple shape was used so often as a blank canvas to project gorgeous colour, stitch and pattern combinations. You definitely ‘need’ one …

  2. Barbara says:

    Such a clever idea, to switch colours, and add a repeated motif at the changeover. I’ve seen other 1950s patterns use the same idea and it always looks very attractive. Is it intarsia? A lot of the early Marriner leaflets are really nice – not just the patterns, but the design of the leaflets. I assume that the illustration was originally a hand-tinted black-and-white photo. Sometimes the result of that is horrible, but Marriner’s did it right.

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