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Bell sleeve jumper

Added Jun 9, 2011

by harrietbazley

London, United K...






This is a really lovely vintage pattern jumper that I made some time ago; probably one of my most successful experiments. I chose it out of the book purely and simply because the index to “A Stitch in Time” claimed that it could be made up successfully using double-knitting wool even though the original pattern called for 3-ply(!) Otherwise I should probably never have bothered to make it up, since it goes under the uninspiring name of “Grey Wool Jumper” and is illustrated with a single blotchy photo rather than the glamour-shots used for the trellis jersey or my daffodil jumper pattern. Which would have been a pity.

As you can see, I made it up in royal blue, navy and sky-blue (rather than the grey, royal blue and white recommended for the original) and enlarged the number of stripes on the sleeves and waist to three rows rather than only one. This was for no great aesthetic rationale but merely in order to economise on the royal-blue wool, which I was terrified would run out before the gigantic bell-sleeves were finished. (As a matter of interest, each sleeve is wider in diameter than the front and back pieces and took 2oz of wool each to do! The top section is closely ribbed to get it to fit more closely to the arm.) In fact, I think the wider striping was a great success, and together with the little silk scarf dashingly knotted around the neck (as specified in the Materials at the start of the pattern) gives the ensemble a slightly nautical effect.

The shape overall is very ‘period’ for the early 1930s; a wide section of ribbing to cling over the waist and hips, with a loose, straight lacy pattern above and puffed/draped sleeves. The neckline is simply cast off square and is designed to be softened and hidden by the attached scarf: the closeup of the neckline with the scarf untied shows both the square edges and the little garter-stitch triangular ‘tab’ through which the scarf is supposed to be threaded (see also the back).

I like to amuse myself by ringing the changes with different scarves on this one: I have a deep pink silk scarf which is the matching pair to this rectangular blue strip, and some larger patterned squares in various colours which can also be worn with a big floppy bow to take up the extra.

The sleeves are simply secured by a strip of narrow elastic threaded through the holes in the lace pattern at the edge; what took me some time to work out from the picture is that they are intended to be turned in with the edges rolled under to form the bell-shape on the sleeve, rather than just pushed up the arm as is the case for puffed sleeves with knitted cuffs (again, see daffodil jumper ) The reversed edges of the sleeves are clearly visible (slightly exaggerated by the angle) in the neckline closeup photo.

This is the first (and so far, only) vintage jumper I’ve made that really looks and drapes like the illustration in the pattern; probably due to a fortuitous choice of wool, but still, I’m pleased with it.

Material Notes

No. 9 and No. 11 knitting needles.

1 ball each of sky-blue and navy Wendy Mode wool, and six of royal blue.




Spring, Fall
Garment Type
Classic, Romantic, Vintage
Silk, Wool


Modern Woman

7 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • Dscn5250_large

    Jun 13, 2011, 04.11 PMby mixtlii

    Such a cool pattern!

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    Jun 11, 2011, 04.31 AMby Daniel Parker


  • Missing

    Jun 10, 2011, 10.55 AMby u120418

    This is awesome!

  • Fb2227aaf242c0d041dbcd583baae4e4ccfba73d_large

    Jun 10, 2011, 07.56 AMby loulourosa

    Everything about this jumper is beautifull. And altough it’s a 1930 style it looks very contemporary, good design never goes out of fashion!

  • Crochet_scarf2_large

    Jun 10, 2011, 06.04 AMby wildflower31

    OMG. So vintage and such good handiwork.

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    Jun 9, 2011, 09.28 PMby secondbedroom

    I like the sleeves!

  • 300px-b5274-2_large

    Jun 9, 2011, 09.23 PMby nookie

    great vintage jumper

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