Wednesday, November 17, 2010

She’s a Maneater!

“Touch Appeal” dress from Spinnerin International Preference, Vol. 171, 1964

For a pattern called “Touch Appeal”, that gentleman is very cautious about getting too close to her. “Is it safe?” he wonders. “I know, I’ll poke it with a stick, and see what happens.”

Of course, he was never seen again, because she was actually the comic book villainess Poison Ivy in disguise. She pelted him with poison petals until his precious parts popped off.


Okay, so she’s not quite that fatal a femme fatale. Instead of superpowers, she clearly relies on her poor man’s Audrey Hepburn good looks to lure her defenseless prey into the forest. Once this maneater’s had her way with him, she’ll abandon his used up body for the other woodland predators to finish off.

If only he’d watched Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, he would have known better than to challenge a cougar in her natural habitat.

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):

Touch Appeal - Style No. 904

These directions are written for small size (32-34). Changes for medium size (36-38) and large size (40-42) are in parentheses.
Handmade by Mother accepts no responsibility if your dress does not fit because you made it on the basis of the sizes listed. Keep in mind, people were smaller in the 1960s and dress sizes were larger. Plus, these are European sizes, not North American.

Handmade by Mother is also not responsible should the title of this post cause Hall & Oates Maneater to be stuck in your head all day.


SPINNERIN Frostlon Petite (1-oz. balls): 5 (6-6)
OR SPINNERIN Mohaire Boucle or alpine (50-gram balls): 6 (7-7)
1 pair each knitting needles Nos. 5 and 8
1 steel crochet hook No. 0
GAUGE: 5 sts = 1 inch, 7 rows = 1 inch

BODY MEASUREMENT: At bustline 33 (37-41) inches.
BLOUSE MEASUREMENT: At bustline 35 (39-43) inches.
What’s that? You were humming Nelly Furtado’s Maneater, because Hall & Oates is before your time?

That is completely unacceptable! If you’re going to be infected with an earworm at this site, it will be a vintage one!

No need to thank me.
BACK: With smaller needles cast on 73 (83-93) sts. Rib in K 1, P 1 for ½ inch. Change to larger needles. Work in stockinette st (K 1 row, P 1 row) inc 1 st each side every 1 ½ inches 5 times.
Work even on 83 (93-103) sts, until piece measures 10 inches from beg, or desired length to underarms.

ARMHOLES: Bind off 3 (4-6) sts at beg of next 2 rows. Dec 1 st each side every other row 5 (6-7) times. Work even on 67 (73-77) sts until armholes measures 7 ¾ (8 ¼ -8 ¾) inches. End with a P row.

SHOULDERS: Bind off 6 (7-8) sts at beg of next 2 rows. P next row on right side for hemline.

NECK HEM: Continue in stockinette st, inc 1 st each side every other row for 1 inch. Bind off.
I don’t want to hear any complaining about how boring this blouse is to make. When the apocalypse arrives, you’ll be glad you know how to knit your own blouses.
FRONT: With smaller needles cast on 75 (85-95) sts. Rib in K 1, P 1 for ½ inch. Change to larger needles. Work in stockinette st inc 1 st each side every 1 inch 5 times, every ¾ inch 4 times.
Work even on 93 (103-113) sts until piece measures 10 ¾ inches or ¾ inch longer than Back to Armholes.

ARMHOLES: Bind off 5 (7-8) sts at beg of next 2 rows. Dec 1 st each side every other row 7 (7-9) times. Work even on 69 (75-79) sts until armholes measure 7 ¼ (7 ¾ -8 ¼) inches.

SHOULDERS and NECK HEM: Work same as on Back.

FINISHING: Sew underarm and shoulder seams. Turn Neck Hem to wrong side at hemline and sew in place, sewing inc edge to shoulder seam. Working from right side, work 1 row sc around armholes. Block.
Otherwise, when civilization collapses, you’ll end up looking like Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C.

Ignore your husband’s comment about wanting you to look like Ms. Welch. If he persists, threaten to feed him to the Sabertooth Cougar herself; 70 year old Raquel.



SPINNERIN Frostlon Petite (1-oz. balls) 8 (9-10) balls Main Color (MC) and 1 ball each Colors A, B and C for trim.
OR SPINNERIN Mohair Boucle or SPINNERIN Alpine (50-gram balls) 11 (12-13) balls Main Color (MC) and 2 balls each Colors A, B and C for trim.
1 pair straight knitting needles No. 10 ½
1 each steel crochet hooks Nos. 2 and 0
1 aluminum crochet hook No. 4
1 yd. nylon net for lining
1 yd. 1 ½-inch grosgrain ribbon
1 7-inch placket zipper
GAUGE: 4 sts = 1 inch, 5 rows = 1 inch

BODY MEASUREMENTS: At hipline 35 (39-43) inches. At waistline 25 (29-33) inches.
SKIRT MEASUREMENTS: At lower edge 49 (53-57) inches. At hipline 37 (41-45) inches. At waistline 26 (30-34) inches. Length 25 inches.

NOTE: Skirt Length is planned for 25 inches. Make any necessary adjustment for length before first dec and keep a record of adjustment made.

PATTERN STITCH: Multiple of 2 sts.
Row 1 (wrong side): *P 2 tog, leave on needle, K same 2 sts tog, drop from left needle*, repeat between *’s to end.
Row 2: Knit.
Row 3: P 1; repeat between *’s of Row 1 to last st, P 1.
Row 4: Knit.
Repeat these 4 rows for pat st.
Unlike an earworm, this pattern will not drive you mad.
BACK: With MC cast on 98 (106-114) sts. Work even in pat st until piece measures 4 inches from beg. Keeping continuity of pat, dec 1 st each side of next row and repeat decs every 2 inches twice, every 1 ½ inches 5 times, then every 1 inch twice. There are 78 (86-94) sts on needle and piece should measure 17 ½ inches from beg. Work even until piece measures 18 inches from beg. End on right side. Place a marker between the 20th (22nd-24th) and 21st (23rd-25th) sts from each end for dark markers. 11th Dec Row: K to within 2 sts of marker, K 2 tog twice, K to within 2 sts of next marker, K 2 tog twice. Keeping continuity of pat, work even on 74 (82-90) sts until piece measures 19 sts from beg. 12th Dec Row: Dec 1 st each side. Work even on 72 (80-88) sts until piece measures 20 inches from beg. 13th Dec Row: Same as 11th Dec Row. Work even on 68 (76-84) sts until piece measures 21 inches from beg. 14th Dec Row: Dec 1 st each side of each dart marker. There are 64 (72-80) sts on needle. Repeat last Dec Row every 1 inch 3 times more. Work even on 52 (60-68) sts until piece measures 25 inches. Bind off remaining sts.
However knitting miles and miles of this pattern, while simultaneously counting decrease rows will very likely drive you over the edge.

Which means you’re now ready to design your own patterns! After all, if there’s anything I’ve learned on this blog, it’s that insanity is a prerequisite for knitwear design.

You want fries with that?
FRONT: Work same as Back.

FINISHING: Sew seams leaving a 7-inch opening on left side for zipper. Cut a nylon net skirt to measurements of knitted skirt, allowing for seams. Sew seams. Sew net skirt to waistline and lower edge of skirt. If preferred, hem net – do not attach to bottom of skirt. Face waistband with grosgrain ribbon, leaving 2 inches extended at back for underlap. Sew snap fasteners on ribbon to close. If desired, work 1 row s c around zipper opening. Sew in zipper so that it does not show.
Sewing? Our knitted dress requires sewing!

Good thing all knitters love sewing, right?
TRIMLarger Roses (Make 19): With No. 0 crochet hook and Color A, ch 6. Join with a sl st to form a ring. Rnd 1: *Draw up a loop ½ inch long, pull yarn through loop, work 1 s c in back strand of loop (loop st made): repeat from * twice more (3 loop sts made), sl st in back loop of next ch of ring (1 petal made). Make 4 more petals in same way. Rnd 2: Sl st in front loop of first ch of ring. *Ch 1, work 1 loop st, ch 1, sl st in front loop of next ch of ring (1 center petal made). Make 4 more center petals in same way. Break yarn and fasten off.
Smaller Roses (Make 2): With No. 2 crochet hook and Color A, ch 6. Join with sl st to form a ring. Rnd 1: Drawing loops up to ¼ inch, work same as Rnd 1 of Larger Roses. Sl st in front loop of next ch of ring. Rnd 2: *Ch 3, sl st in front loop of next ch of ring (1 center petal made); repeat from * 3 times more (4 center petals made). Break yarn and fasten off.
And crocheting! Lots and lots of crocheting!

Good thing all knitters love crochet, too.
STEMS: With No. 4 aluminum crochet hook and B, make loose chains, working to desired length following illustration.

LEAVES: Work with 1 strand each of B and C in Lazy Daisy Stitch.
Don’t look around for further instructions. REAL maneaters already know how to make lazy daisy and chain stitches.

They also read the pattern thoroughly before they start, so they aren’t ambushed by the sudden introduction of sewing, crocheting, and embroidery. Not to mention, placket zippers which are a mutated plant/jacket zipper hybrid favored by super villainesses.

Okay, okay, placket zippers are just plain old metal zippers, tucked under a flap so that the teeth don’t show. It’s what 1960s femme fatales had to use before invisible zippers came along.

I still like my theory better, though.
Cut tissue paper – 1 piece to match size of Back and one piece to match size of Front of skirt. Trace designs below. Then scale to proper sizes for your skirt. Transfer enlarged designs to papers. Pin or baste the papers to the corresponding parts of Skirt. Beginning with the Back and being sure to sew through net lining, sew Stems over sketches. Sew 5 larger roses in place. Embroider Leaves as described above. Sew Stems and Roses on Front in same way, having the 2 Smaller Roses at top of design. Embroider Leaves. Cut away the papers.
Alternatively, if you’re not keen on embroidering roses onto your outfit, you could always just toss a few decorative blossoms over yourself. If you stay very, very still, in no time at all, men will be sneaking up to poke you with sticks. Sure, they’re checking to see if you’re alive, but once they’re within reach they’re easy prey... I mean, easy to impress.

“Little ol’ me, a maneater? Don’t be ridiculous. Now, put down that silly stick and come just a wee bit closer.”

Click here for the printable pattern.


  1. I cant believe I sat through that whole video. hahaha! Oh the 80's....or was that the 70's?

  2. Oh, that was classic 1982! Gotta love the fluffy hair and the big shoulders. :-)