A Knitting Bag Costume: Fancy-dress Inspiration: 1918

knitting girl

Struck by a happy inspiration, she decides to attend the fancy-dress party as a knitting bag.


From the Christian Science Monitor.

Here is an idea of a decidedly novel fancy dress costume. One young woman has tried it with great success. She was going to a costume party and she did so want to appear in something new and truly original. She knitted away industriously, as she meditated upon what she should wear. It was hard to think of something that none of her friends or acquaintances had ever tried, and something moreover, which would not demand too much time and work in preparation. She glanced at the pretty knitting bag beside her and then the idea came. Why not go as a knitting bag!

She bought some pretty, but inexpensive cretonne and made her costume. It was cut somewhat on the bloomer plan, but very, very full. The short sleeves were also very full, and so arranged that they looked not unlike the side drapery, seen on so many of these popular bags. She gathered it about the neck with a standing ruffle, with ribbon bows on each shoulder like drawstrings. Then she did her hair in a big loose knot, stuck four or five knitting needles thru it, and there she was in a decidedly novel and quite up-to-date knitting bag costume. It did not take long to prepare it, nor was it an expensive variety of fancy dress, but it was much admired and so a great success. Colorado Springs [CO] Gazette 9 June 1918: p. 23

fancy dress knitting bag girl and pumpkin girl

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Mrs Daffodil has, at last, found an image of this novel and eccentric fancy-dress costume. The knitting needles would have proved useful as a weapon to ward off any unwanted suitors driven to madness by this provocative garment.  This was obviously a frame-less, draw-string knitting bag. If any of Mrs Daffodil’s readers are knitters, perhaps they could make a version incorporating the more recognisable wooden rings or handles hanging down back and front. Bamboo rings and wooden handles are readily available at the needlework store. Add material from an old curtain, and hey presto!  you are the perl of the ball!knittingbag2

Crafting a costume based on a standing knitting bag will entail using one of those folding wooden laundry driers and is not recommended if one wishes to dance.


Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.

5 thoughts on “A Knitting Bag Costume: Fancy-dress Inspiration: 1918

  1. drema Stringer

    I think it’s funny. A girl at a costume party I was once at came as a bunch of grapes. It was great; the grapes were balloons (purple), and she made leaves out of green crepe paper. Stuff like that is fun and original.


    1. chriswoodyard Post author

      An ingenious idea! So much more original than naughty nurses or zombies! One of the best books on making fancy-dress costumes at home is Jane Asher’s Fancy Dress. In it, there is a photo of actor James Fox in faultless evening clothes with a soda straw in his pocket, wearing a peeved expression. He was “The Last Straw.”


  2. Pingback: Bird-cages and Court Toadies: Some Triumphs of Fancy Dress: 1896 | Mrs Daffodil Digresses

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