Thursday, February 7, 2008

Knitting Lingerie Style: More Than 30 Basic and Lingerie-Inspired Designs (Hardcover)

Book Description
The only knitting book focused on lingerie and lingerie-inspired designs

Underwear has come out. Once kept demurely concealed, lingerie now pervades every fashion category, inspiring designs for day looks, loungewear, evening clothes, and accessories. Slips have become dresses unto themselves. Bra straps are meant to peek out from under tank tops. Camisoles are worn on their own or as layers over or under other clothes. Now, with Knitting Lingerie Style, designer Joan McGowan-Michael interprets this undeniable fashion trend for the knitter and, along the way, shares fascinating stories about lingerie history. Did you know that it was airplane magnate Howard Hughes who masterminded the underwire bra?

McGowan-Michael’s 30-plus designs, stunningly photographed by Thayer Allyson Gowdy, range from the truly functional—knitted bras, slips, corsets, camisoles, and stockings—to the purely fun. The brassiere inspires a curvature-enhancing twinset. The baby doll negligee is the basis for a lacy little gown and a matching thong set that’s both luxurious and (slightly) notorious. And a ribbed, laced-front sweater is an updated—and much more comfortable!—take on the classic corset.

The only book of its kind on the market, Knitting Lingerie Style includes projects that are bold and sexy, daring us all to bare a little skin, as well as more understated and demure, with sizes ranging from petite to plus.

About the Author
JOAN MCGOWAN-MICHAEL has been working as a professional designer for over 20 years, designing for clients as diverse as Fred Segal, Frederick’s of Hollywood, and JC Penney. In 2001 she founded White Lies Designs (, specializing in knitted vintage and lingerie-inspired patterns. Her work has appeared in many publications, including Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knits, and Knitter’s magazines. She lives in Sacramento, California. THAYER ALLYSON GOWDY is a Northern California-–based photographer whose work has appeared in the magazines Real Simple, Health, and Country Living, and in the books Knitting Nature (STC), Nest for Two, Spiritual Bathing, and Healthy Home Workbook.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews:

By nanapama (Dorchester, MA USA) - See all my reviews
Let me begin by saying this book is absolutely beautiful. This is not your typical naughty knitting book. The designs are inspired by lingerie and although there is some actualy lingerie in the book, mostly it's full of beautiful knitted items that you would never want to wear under clothes. The photography is gorgeous, the instructions are clear, the designs are beautiful. This book is especially great for warm weather knitting. I am a fan of Joan McGowen-Michael because not only does she design sexy knits but she includes instructions for women who have some meat on their bones. When I heard she was doing a book I was very excited and the book has mostly held up to my expectation. That being said I have a bone to pick with Joan and several other authors.

I opened the book and fell in love with the first sweater I saw. When I finished paging through the book, I had my first three projects, the "Lacy Summer Socks" and two camisoles-Surplice Bodice Camisole and Silk and Pearl Cami. I was excited. I was ready to buy yarn and cast on.

I went to my computer to look for the yarn. First project the socks - yarn is easy to find,not too pricy- ordered, no problem. Second project - "Surplice Bodice Camisole" - yarn a bit pricy, only 10 colors - checked the type, gauge and went looking for a substitution. Once again no problem. Went looking for the yarn for the third project - "Silk and Pearl Cami" which by the way was my favorite. It's a great basic camisole. Problems - note the "s". First, the yarn recommended was Classic Elite Temptation. The yarn has been discontinued. Now I know there is often a huge span of time between when the pattern is written and when the book was completed but shouldn't someone have checked the yarns before the book went to press. Second, what's still around is going for around $45.00. That's a little pricy for a cute little camisole. But three is the biggest flub - the yarn gauge is the pattern is given as 4 stitches per inch on size 9 needles and the yarn gauge on the yarn is 3 1/4 stitches per inch on size 9 needles. Temptation isn't an easy yarn to substitute. What as I suppose to base my yarn substitution on? The gauge in the book or the gauge on the yarn. In fact if I hunt down the yarn and pay a king's ransom for it, will I get gauge the right gauge? Probably not according to the manufacturer! (I sorry I sound angry. I'm not angry, just a little annoyed.) My current solution is to go with the gauge in the pattern and see what's available for yarn.

It is time for knitwear designers to wake up and realize knitting is a creative activity and part of being creative to selecting the yarn. Many knitters do not just buy the designer's choice. We're not sheep, we're knitters. The yarn mentioned is only a recommendation and fiber content, weight and gauge should be double checked in every publication because that's what many knitter's look at first.

Okay I'm off my soap box. I do recommend the book, but I've only looked closely at the three patterns I mentioned so you may want to double check the gauge on the pattern and the yarn before you make a purchase. Make sure you do a swatch before you begin the project to double check. Happy Knitting.

By M. Poller (Israel) - See all my reviews
I wasn't aware of this author's credentials until I started looking at the book. I had ordered it for the bra but since it requires underwire which I won't wear and also calls for yarn I can't find plus all sorts of other sewing materials, I will pass on the bra. However, there are several other patterns I just might try. Citrus sun top is also a kind of bra and there I don't have a problem finding the materials. Several of the patterns call for materials that must be ordered from the author. The plus side is that otherwise they probably wouldn't be available at all. As a knitter, I really don't enjoy lots of sewing and several patterns do involve a lot of work. The trumpet skirt uses a yarn I own although I don't wear skirts! It's a very nice one though. When her patterns call for the ribbing stitch, she tells you exactly how much stretch it should have which is another plus. The shaped lace tee is an easy lace top which is lovely. The racerback tank (instead of a bra) could also be something to knit for me. Her long stockings and leggings are very good but I don't make socks anymore. However, her bedjacket is also interesting. I learned a lot from reading her information on the history of these garments so even while I may never knit anything from the book, I'm glad to have it on my shelf. Also her sizes cover a very wide range and the charts are very helpful. This book is undoubtedly the best book on this subject I have seen.

By (Minnesota) - See all my reviews

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, 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 garment 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.

Armchair Interviews says: Very inspiring design ideas for knitters.
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