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Moire for a Soiree

Moire for a Soiree
by Tegan Kehoe

Flappers, Art Deco, the jazz age, what's not to love about 1920's styles? If you like to do beadwork with your knitting, there are a lots of 20's style patterns out there for you, but I'm not a bead person myself, so I invent. I found inspiration for this purse in a 1921 catalog, and the original was not knitted, but made of woven moire silk. 

Moire (and yes, it rhymes with soiree) describes a watery ripple effect that is often a little bit shimmery. This pattern brings out the natural shimmer in a yarn with a varied sheen. I particularly like using rayon for a 20's-inspired piece, because it was all the rage back then as a new and inexpensive alternative to silk. Cotton, especially mercerized cotton, was already a staple as a silk alternative.

This purse and scarf set make a great quick gift or a way to jazz up your holiday party outfits. For a 1920's feel, go with a neutral color; the bag that inspired this design was sold in black, navy blue, brown, or taupe. If you want to keep to the period but crave a splash of color, jewel tones would work as well. 

One size

Scarf: 40” long x 5 1/2” wide, without fringe. 48” long x 5 1/2” wide, with fringe.
Purse: 4 ½” x 4 ½” at the widest part of the body of the purse.  16” from top of strap to bottom of tassel.

Used in pictured project, discontinued:
Cotton Twist Solids
by Berroco, Worsted / 10 ply
70% Cotton, 30% Rayon
85 yards / 50 grams 
Color: 8375  
3 skeins

by Classic Elite Yarns, Worsted / 10 ply
58% Rayon, 42% Cotton
125 yards / 50 grams
2 skeins

Recommended needle size
1 set US #5/3 3/4mm double-point needles for purse
1 set US #6/4mm straight needles for scarf
        Crochet hook
        4 ½ inch sew-on purse frame
        Sewing needle and thread to match color of yarn

22 sts and 20 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch, after blocking
 24 sts and 20 rows = 4 inches in Pattern Stitch, after blocking


Pattern notes
The scarf is worked with a slipped stitch stockinette edge; slip the first stitch of every row. The pattern is small lines of miniature ribbing interspersed in stockinette. While it looks complicated, it's really two blocks of five mini-ribbed rows, then the same two blocks shifted over by one stitch.


Charted instructions:

CO 28 sts. 
K 3 rows, slipping the first stitch of each row. 

Work Scarf chart once with border as follows. Begin every RS row with sl 1, k1, and end every RS row with k1.  Begin every WS row with sl 1, and end every WS row with k2. 

Work Scarf chart again with border as follows. Begin every RS row with sl 1,  and end every RS row with k2.  Begin every WS row with sl 1, k1, and end every WS row with k1.

Continue repeating chart, alternating first and second border repeats, until desired length.
K 3 rows, slipping the first stitch of each row.
Bind off.

Written instructions:
CO 28 sts. 
K 3 rows, slipping the first stitch of each row. 

Rows 1, 3 and 5: sl 1, k8, p1, k9, p1, k8
Rows 2 and 4: sl1, p7, k1, p9, k1, k9

Rows 6, 8, and 10: sl1, k3, p1, k9, p1, k9, p1, k3
Rows 7 and 9: sl1, p2, k1, p9, k1, p9, k1, p4

Rows 11, 13 and 15:  sl1, k7, p1, k9, p1, k9
Rows 12 and 14: sl1, p8, k1, p9, k1, k8

Rows 16, 18, and 20: sl1, k2, p1, k9, p1, k9, p1, k4
Rows 17 and 19: sl1, p3, k1, p9, k1, p9, k1, p3

Repeat pattern until desired length.
K 3 rows, slipping the first stitch of each row.
Bind off.

Finishing: Add fringe, if desired. Work in any loose ends. Press very gently on wrong side with a cool iron.

To create fringe: 
Cut an 8” length of yarn. Fold in half.  Insert crochet hook into stitch from RS and pull loop through until about 1 inch of the loop is on RS, with two tails of yarn left on WS. With hook still in loop, pull both tails over the edge of the scarf and through loop. Gently pull the knot secure. If desired, tie a small overhand knot at each end of the yarn. Repeat across both short edges of the scarf.


Pattern notes

Attaching a good, firm piece of knitting to a sew-on purse frame is easy, and doesn't require any special skills or equipment. You'll be using a sewing needle, thread, and overhand / whip stitch, one of the most basic sewing stitches there is. This makes a great first purse project.


Using dpns, CO 4 stitches, distributed on three needles, and join to work in the round. Place marker at the beginning of the round if desired. 

Round 1: kfb into every stitch. 8 stitches.
Round 2: k around.
Round 3: kfb into every stitch. 16 stitches.
Round 4: k around.
Round 5: kfb into every stitch. 32 stitches.
Rounds 6, 7, 8: k2, *p1, k5, repeat from * until end of round.
Round 9: *k1, kfb, repeat until end of round. 48 stitches.
Rounds 10, 11, 12: k2, p1, k6, p1, k5, p1, k6, *p1, k5, repeat from * until five sts remain, p1, k4. 
Round 13: k around.
Rounds 14, 15, 16: p1, k6, p1, k5, p1, k6, *p1, k5, repeat from * until end of round.
Rounds 17, 18, 19: k4, p1, k6, p1, k5, p1, k6, *p1, k5, repeat from * until three sts remain, p1, k2. 
Round 20: k around.
Rounds 21-41: Repeat rounds 10-20. 
Bind off loosely.

Cut a piece of cardboard twice the length you want your tassel. Wrap yarn around the board until the bundle of yarn is half the desired fullness for your tassel; approximately 20 times. Slide the yarn off of the cardboard, taking care to keep the shape of the bundle. Tie a piece of yarn about 5 inches long around the center of the bundle. Fold bundle so that all looped ends are hanging downward and the ends of the tied yarn are free. Cut a piece of yarn approximately 12 inches long, and wrap it around the top of the bundle, near the knot, tying once at the beginning and end.

Thread a sewing needle and attach tassel to bottom of purse using small, tight stitches, ensuring that the knot in the thread and any visible thread stitches are on the wrong side (inside) of the purse fabric.


Cast on 4 stitches on a single dpn. Work i-cord (k to end of row, slide stitches to end of needle, start next row without turning) until strap measures 25” or desired length plus 1.” Cast off.

To attach purse to frame:

Place four pins evenly spaced around the top (open) edge of the purse, marking the two side points and two center points. Open the frame so the two sides lie flat. Position the purse so the pins line up with the sides and center points of the frame. Thread a sewing needle with strong thread and insert into a frame hole and the purse from the inside. Return needle through the purse fabric but immediately below the frame, creating an overhand sewn stitch. Make another sewn stitch through the same frame hole. Repeat around frame, with two overhand sewn stitches per frame hole.

To attach strap to purse:
Open the purse frame fully. Insert one end of the strap unto the gap between frame and hinge from the outside, so that a short tail is in the corner of the purse and the rest of the strap is loose on the outside. Thread a sewing needle with thread and, working from the inside (wrong side) of the purse, start a stitch at the edge of the knitted fabric, by the frame hinge. Attach the end of the strap to the purse using small overcast stitches. If you make them small and pull them firmly but not too tightly, they will not be visible from the outside. Work around the edges of the end of the strap. Tie off your thread. 

Repeat on the other side of the purse with the other strap end, being careful not to twist the strap.

Lay the purse flat on a table. Arrange the strap so that it is lying under the frame on one side, and over the frame on the other side. Approximately one inch of the strap will overlap with the knitted fabric, depending on the size of your purse frame. Pin this section of the strap to the fabric along the edge of the frame. With a needle and thread, attach this section of the strap to the outside (right side) of the purse using the same method as used on the end of the strap. Keep the frame open and be careful not to sew the two sides of the purse together. Repeat on the other side of the purse. When you are finished, the purse should hang from the strap with the strap crossing over the frame on top. 

Model: Jonathan Kindness. Photographer: Tegan Kehoe