Sunday, December 12, 2010

New pattern: the Cecily camisole

It's been several months since I last announced a new pattern here, but it's not because I haven't been designing. My needles have been quite busy, in fact, and you'll be seeing the results of that over the next few weeks, starting with this lovely (if I do say so myself) lace-edged camisole: Cecily!

Cecily - back view

Cecily is knit in Crystal Palace Panda Silk, which is a perennial favorite of mine. It's a fingering-weight blend of wool, bamboo, and silk, and these fibers work together to amazing effect. The bamboo gives it a nice weight and a little bit of shine, the touch of silk adds to the drape and smooth hand, and the wool is superwash merino--so you get a durable machine-washable fabric of beautiful color, breathable lightweight warmth, and elegant drape. Delicious!

Cecily - upper front detail

The cami is worked in the round from the bottom up, with no seaming. Princess darts at the front and back gently shape the waist, while short-row darts and pretty paired increases and decreases create a beautifully fitted sweetheart neckline at the top. The tapered garter-stitch straps are worked from the upper edge and joined with two short grafts or a three-needle bind-off--you can also use purchased lingerie fittings and satin or grosgrain ribbon in a coordinating or contrasting color for adjustable fabric straps if you like! The pattern's sized from XS up to 2X, to fit busts measuring 28-48" with slight negative ease for a sleek silhouette.

Cecily - hem detail

And as usual, it's named for a librarian or archivist or other information-science-y this case, rare-books store employee Cecily Farr from 84 Charing Cross Road. This movie is based on Helene Hanff's nonfiction memoir of the same title, and is absolutely charming--a little bit funny, a little bit sad, and very much about how important books and the people who work with them can be in our lives. There's also a bit of a Christmas theme running through it: the action begins shortly after World War II, when England was still under rationing. Helene's annual Christmas hamper full of hard-to-come-by delicacies--a thank-you to a London bookstore's staff for the volumes they've sent her throughout the year--is the subject of many of the letters sent between Charing Cross Road and Helene's various New York apartments over a forty-year period. I think this is a lovely equation of food for the mind and food for the body--the sense that books and food can both sate a certain kind of hunger. In the 1950s, Cecily Farr might have worn something like this as a warm underlayer beneath a blouse or cardigan as she worked among the shelves of the unheated store...nowadays, it'd be a feminine accent to a structured blazer, or look great on its own over a pretty summer skirt.

Ravelry details and more images are here (Cecily Camisole pattern page) and here (project page, including lots of WIP pics). Love it so much you want to make it right now? Just click the button! PDF pattern with charted and line-by-line written instructions for the lace motif is just $4.00, and it's a quick knit too--you could cast on tomorrow and be done in plenty of time for Xmas.


Anonymous said...

Cecily Farr was the pseudonym Helene Hanff used for Marks & Co employee Daphne Carr. Perhaps your garmet should be called 'Daphne'?

More details at

TT820 said...

Oh, what a great site--thanks for the link! I enjoyed reading about Daphne, the real "Cecily." There'll be a coordinating cardigan for this cami soon, and Daphne was already on my list of names to use--so I guess I know what I'll be calling it. It can be the Charing Cross Twinset!

Steven said...

So lovely!