- The Butchery of an Era Review by Anastasia
I am glad that I got this with a coupon, but at the end of the day, I am sorry that I got it at all. Worse, I bought it digitally, so there is no possibility of a return or a resale. This would get one star except that the articles about Mrs. Beeton and the woman who started the Women's Land Army that served England so faithfully through two world wars were interesting.
Now for the designs. Not one of them is really wearable. Granted, in period pamphlets and knitting magazines, I have seen lumpy knitted garments form the era - but there were lovely things too. Lace and surface decoration were very strong elements in both Edwardian and Deco design. The kimono bodice and dropped waist styles were iconic shapes of the era and could easily have been explored and used in garments that women of today wanted to make and wear. In stead, everything looks, dumpy, lumpy or ridiculous. I'm not kidding. Worse, these are top name, professional designers. The only possible utility I will get out of this magazine is in the pattern for a felted cloche, which I can modify and use. Other than that, there is not one nice design in the entire magazine.
1. Knitted Hot Water Bottle Cover. Seriously? Yes, I know this was typical of war knitting, but a mention rather than the actual article would have been more than enough.
2. Lace Overdress. Nothing period about this. In fact, it looked like a nineties lace mini dress thrown over a piece of taffeta that barely rates the name skirt.
3. Annie Modisett's Kimono Sleeve Jacket and Hat iwth Embroidery. First, the kimono sleeve proportions and the proportions of the jacket were off just in general. This is the kind of design that could have been great - representative of the era, knittable and wearable by the contemporary woman. Instead the entire thing is just ugly. Not only are the proportions off, but the colorway is horrible. The entire thing hurts the eye.
4. Lumpy sweaters for the Downstairs Staff - both male and female. Yes, this is representative of some of the publications of the era, but did we really need to reproduce ugly things when there is so much wonderful about the era?
5. The cover piece - at first looks appealing until you learn that it is pretty much backless and requires the Victorian blouse to wear. This is somewhat appealing in the moment, until you start to think about how and when you will wear it - and then it is just an oddity.
6. The lengthened waist coat has some possibilities, and is pretty, but after the disappointment of so many other things in the magazine it is too little too late.
I think I have made my point, useless butchery of an era with not one appealing or wearable pattern in the bunch. Avoid and save your fifteen dollars for ANYTHING other than this.
(Posted on 1/29/14)
- Don't waste money on digital version Review by Lisa
I was disappointed in most of the content, when/if I could open the digital version. Unfortunately this is not the first time I have been lured into wasting my money on e-mags from Interweave that either constantly crash or pages that just will not open. Never Again Interweave Press, you have lost a costumer for good!
(Posted on 1/26/14)
- Gorgeous! Review by Lynn
I never post reviews but needed to jump in and say these knits are gorgeous. I may not be brave enough to wear many of the "Upstairs" garments other than shawls and gloves (although I LOVE the Traveling Coat), but most of the "Downstairs" items are very wearable today. All of them reflect the show and the time period. PLUS the history included in the magazine makes it worth the price. LOVE the historical articles.
(Posted on 1/8/14)
- Disappointing Review by Julia
I was looking forward to this book. Very disappointing. Most patterns are uneventful, shapeless, unflattering, some sadly just ugly. Maybe there are two patterns in the whole book worth any attention. I am not interesting in the servant's patterns which are plain boring. I think the author should have done better research and translate into knitted garments more flowing, elegant feminine cloth from the show. I would not recommend this book.
(Posted on 12/30/13)
- Great modern take on period garments Review by Lmaris
Not sure what Ann was expecting from a collection of patterns based on a series set a century ago, but the vast majority of the patterns are gorgeous. The "huge purple sweater" is a coat, and absolutely gorgeous.
The lace items and hats are unique, and there are a very large number to chose from.
(Posted on 11/9/13)
- Wanted to love it! Review by Ann
I certainly love Downton Abbey, but this book was so disappointing. The vest (?) thing on the cover is so unflattering. Inside, there is a huge purple monster sweater on a model that looks like Lady Cora, but Lady Cora wouldn't be caught dead in that thing. There are a few patterns for the servants that are okay, but overall, this wasn't worth the money.
(Posted on 11/5/13)