The 24th pattern in Miss Lambert’s 1843 knitting manual, My Knitting Book, is for Long Sleeves to wear under the Dress. In my first post about this pattern, I discovered that undersleeves were common additions to 19th-century ladies clothing with various purposes. They could be easily removed for cleaning or changed throughout the day to change the look of a dress. They were also used for warmth. I am not 100% certain how this type of sleeve was attached to the rest of the dress; however, in this case, I am sure that a light stitch to tack it in place would have been most suitable. The shape of Miss Lambert’s undersleeve seems to be an awkward by today’s standards; however, the narrow cuff and wide elbow and upper arm would fit very nicely in the bell shaped sleeves on overcoats that were the fashion in the 1840s.
The original pattern as written in Miss Lambert’s book was as follows:
No. 17 needles, and six-thread embroidery fleecy.
Cast on forty-two stitches very loosely, and alternately knit, and pearl, three stitches, for twelve turns.
Knit ten turns plain.
Knit thirty-five turns plain,—increasing one stitch at the beginning and end of each turn.
Knit twenty turns, plain—increasing one stitch every other turn.
Repeat the twelve turns as at the commencement. (My Knitting Book, 1843, pp35-36)
A turn is two rows (one there and one back). In this case, I chose to interpret this as stockinette stitch and purled on the return row of each turn; however, I think it would be just as easily interpreted as a garter stitch with each returning row knit instead of purled. I could not find any illustrations of this pattern in Miss Lambert’s other books that I have on file, so I think either interpretation could be equally correct. Please correct me if I’m wrong on this!
After first trying to use fingering weight yarn and meeting with limited success (see my previous post), I chose to use DK weight yarn and 4.5mm needles with much greater success.
The sleeve was knit flat and then seamed up the side:
The striping effect is what happened when I thought I had a pretty good match on colour, which turned out to be more of a coordinating blue than the same blue. Both ends of the undersleeve are done in a k3, p3 rib.
Below is a photo of the sleeve once it was sewn up. The cuff is narrow, but very stretchy and would make for a nice warm wrist with the ribbing covering up that pulse point. The elbow and upper arm are roomier. When worn, this sleeve would attach nicely to a knitted undershirt and provide a nice layer of warmth to the 19th-century lady.
Coming up next is the part of the book I have been looking forward to since I started this project including twelve lace patterns “intended for d’oyleys, tidies, fish or basket napkins.”
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