Knitting Lingerie Style: More Than 30 Basic and Lingerie-inspired Designs
by Joan McGowan-Michael
Joan McGowan-Michael came of age in the seventies, an era when underthings were basic and functional; but she was always drawn to the intriguing lingerie of her mother and grandmother. After finishing design school, she went to work as a designer for a major lingerie retailer, just in time for the resurgence of feminine lingerie.
Lingerie is no longer relegated to the role of shaping women’s bodies and keeping us warm. It has taken centre stage, inspiring designs and become outwear. In 2001, McGowan-Michael founded White Lies Designs and has since been designing knitted lingerie and lingerie-inspired designs for all the major knitting publications.
In Knitting Lingerie Style: more than 30 basic and lingerie-inspired designs, McGowan-Michael examines the five staple undergarments of a woman’s wardrobe – the bra, slip, corset, camisole and stocking – and reviews the construction and history of each. She then provides a pattern for the basic garment, followed by designs which use the basic garment as a “jumping off” point. The bra inspires the twinset, the slip a party dress and the camisole is reincarnated as a lacy bodice.
The patterns found in Knitting Lingerie Style invite knitters to become adventurous. Overall, these patterns require knitting experience and, because most are quite fitted, require an honest assessment of one’s body. Sizing for her garments ranges from finished chest measurements of 28” to 57” with the majority falling in the 31” to 46” range, with very minimal ease.
McGowan-Michael guides knitters step-by-step through the process of creating a knitted bra or corset and provides helpful illustrations. Her background in lingerie design is very evident in the construction of her garments she designs and in the fashioning details she includes such as including interfacing in her bra and offering alternate cup construction in the Citrus Sun Top, since a bra can’t be worn under it. Even if knitters never knit the lingerie in Knitting Lingerie Style, McGowan-Michael’s useful information will help them look at lingerie in a new way, leaving them with a better understanding of fit and styles which are figure-flattering for women.
Reviewed by Janelle Martin
Janelle is an addicted reader and a book reviewer for Armchair Interviews. A passionate knitter in what remains of her free time, she wonders, "Why can't we knit at work?". Her blog can be viewed at http://antheras.blogspot.com