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Archive entry for August 2013

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August 2013

Pretty bolero for a toddler


The bolero as such a popular wardrobe accessory for women in the 1950s - it went with all those off-the-shoulder/strapless little numbers (see footnote **) which was the only way to make them respectable day-wear.
This toddler adaptation with its cute puffy sleeves was clearly intended for a little girl.


The instructions are for two sizes - the larger size is given in bold blue in curly brackets thus: "Intended to fit 1{2} year old.".
Where one set of figures is given, this applies to both sizes.


With No.10 needles and main shade (M), cast on 70 {76} sts and work straight in stocking stitch, starting with a knit row, until back measures 2¼ {} inches.

With right side facing, shape armholes by decreasing 1 stitch at each end of next and every following alternate row until 58{64} sts remain.

Work straight until back measures 5¾ {} inches. With right side facing, shape shoulders by casting off 8 {9} sts. at beginning of next 4 rows. Cast off remaining 26 {28} sts. loosely.

Left front

With No 10 needles and M, cast on 18 {21} sts and work 2 rows in stocking stitch, starting with a knit row.

Continue in stocking stitch, shaping the front edge by increasing 1 stitch at the end of the next row, then at this edge on every following row until there are 27 {30} sts.
Work straight until front matches back at side edge.
With right side facing, shape armhole by decreasing 1 stitch at the beginning of the next and every following alternate row until 21 {24} sts. remain.
Work 4 rows straight.
With wrong side facing, start to shape front edge by decreasing 1 stitch at the beginning of the next row, then at this edge on every following 3rd row until 16 {18} sts remain.
Work a few rows straight until front matches back, then with right side facing, shape shoulder by casting off 8 {9} sts at the beginning of the next and following alternate row, (the armhole edge).

Right front

Work to correspond with left front, reversing all shapings.


With No 12 needles and M, cast on 43 {43} sts and purl 1 row.
Change to No 10 needles and increase 21 sts on next row thus:
k1, * increase in next stitch, k1; repeat from * to end. [64 {64} sts].
Work straight until sleeve measures 1¾ inches.
With right side facing, shape top by decreasing 1 stitch at the beginning of every row until 38 sts remain.

Next row (right side facing): k2tog, across entire row.
Next row: p1, * p2tog; repeat from * to end.
Cast off remaining 10 sts.


Join shoulder seams.

Main border: With No. 12 needles and contrast yarn C, cast on 7 sts and work in pattern as follows:

1st row (wrong side facing): Using contrast C, * k1, p1; repeat from * to last st, k1.
2nd row: k1, p1, k3, p1, k1.
3rd row: as 1st row.
4th row: as 2nd row.
5th row: as 1st row.
6th row: k1, p1, k1; now join in M and make bobble by working (k1, p1, k1, p1) all into next stitch; now slip 2nd, 3rd and 4th sts over 1st and off needle; leave M yarn hanging, and pick up the contrast yarn C, k1, p1, k1.
Twist yarns at back of work when changing colour to avoid a hole and carry M loosely up back of work.

These 6 rows form the pattern.
Continue in pattern until strip fits all round bolero edge from centre back of neck. Cast off.

Pin in position as you go along

Sleeve Borders: In the same way work a strip in the pattern to fit all round each sleeve edge.
Cast off.

To Make Up

Press parts gently on the wrong side under a damp cloth.
Join side and sleeve seams; insert sleeves.
Sew main border in position, joining edges at back of neck.
Sew on sleeve borders, joining ends in line with sleeve seams.
Press seams.


Original materials called for: 2 {2} ozs Patons Beehive Fin-
gering 3-ply in main shade (Beau Blue) and 1{1} oz in white.

A pair each Nos 10 and 12 (3¼mm and 2¾mm) needles.


30sts and 38 rows to 4 ins over stocking stitch on No 10 needles.

Size matters

Width all round at underarm. 18 {20} inches; length from top of shoulders, 6½ {7} ins; sleeve seam, 2½ {} ins.

A word on the wool.

I used some vintage 3 ply yarn which had no label (but I believe is wool) for the main shade, and some Patons pure wool 3ply in white for the contrast.


In transposing any pattern it is always a risk that errors will be introduced, in spite of dedicated proof reading.
If you have any problems with this pattern, please and I will try and assist.

**Footnote: Have you seen Dana Wynter's outfit at the start of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)?? Here - take a peek - it did have a bolero but she immediately removed it on entering the room.


All this for a visit to the dentist - ok,ok, he was her old boyfriend whom she was trying to impress....

© Christina Coutts 2007

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