Knit One, Purl One

Hands up, who likes to knit? I used to knit long, long ago but never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought about making a wedding dress.

This season, a darling girl showed up with a hand knitted dress from Chile. She had called earlier to ask if I could make a lining for it and I suggested that she just buy a nude colored slip and try that. While the slip was perfect, it needed hemming and as the dress was quite heavy,  I would attach the side seams to the slip and shorten the straps.

Here is what the knitter started with…a cone of very shiny soft yarn. I didn’t ask what the content was. The photo of a slip is quite close to the one she bought but floor length and cut on bias.


While pinning the dress, the girl mentioned that she worked for a flower grower in the valley. I told her that a few years ago I did some work for a flower grower.

The flower grower was from Chile but she had lived in Vancouver, BC and Spain. That got us to talking about both locations and we discovered that at one time we had both lived just around the corner from each other back in 1971 in Vancouver in the Greek neighborhood of Kitsilano Beach. And we were both in Spain at the same time too.

Fast forward to today when the bride realizes that I am speaking about her mother. Little did she know when she found my name on the internet that I was already acquainted with her family.

Here is the dress, (please ignore the black bra!) which will be tacked at the underarm and waist to the new nude colored slip.

For the reception and dancing, the bride will wear her very own mother’s short knitted wedding dress because it is knee length and still looks like the day it was knitted 30 years ago! I also had the pleasure of doing a few repairs on the mother’s dress but did not get a photo…darn!


Here is an article (translated from Spanish) written about the woman who makes these dresses:

An inescapable reference to the Chilean fashion of the seventies with its Point store, the designer María Inés Solimano (83) continues to give life to high-priced alpaca blankets and wedding dresses that she makes as if they were haute couture suits, but woven with chopsticks.

An inescapable reference to the Chilean fashion of the seventies with its Point store, the designer María Inés Solimano (83) continues to give life to high-priced alpaca blankets and wedding dresses that she makes as if they were haute couture suits, but woven with chopsticks.

With its Point store, then located in Providencia with Pedro de Valdivia, in the 70s María Inés Solimano became a referent of the national women’s wardrobe. Today, 83 years old, she still works in an old house in the Barrio Bellavista where she has lived since 1981. Although she moves less than the old one, every week, clients arrive to ask for her clothes woven in silk thread and Made with chopsticks. Simple in appearance and handmade, but with long terminations, for them it charges from 500 thousand pesos ($800 US dollars). “I could charge more because my clients can pay. But I just charge what it costs. My weavers take a month to make each dress. Half is for them, the rest is for me. I’m not going to get rich, but I do not care because I like the simple life. “


The bride gave these to me in appreciation…some days are pretty nice!p1210451

So dear readers, as we enter a new year filled with promise and scary political prospects, I know we can all escape the news, good or bad, by trotting into our sewing rooms and losing ourselves in a new project or finishing a UFO. For those who like a fun challenge please check out Anne’s blog with her annual Jungle January contest.

Normally, I close the sewing room in January and escape to warmer places but this year I plan to stay put, keep the bird feeders filled and watch snow fall and sew…sew for me…home dec and finishing projects for Nancy that I started months ago. So stay tuned for more photos of projects with COLOR…Yea!


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43 Responses to Knit One, Purl One

  1. Theresa in Tucson says:

    Quite a lovely dress, Mrs Mole, and a terrific story to go with it. Enjoy your snow days.

    Theresa in Tucson

  2. fabrickated says:

    I love this. It looks relaxed, comfortable and elegant. You can’t see the slip at all, and the unlined sleeves contrast very nicely. Also I like all the colourful flowers, fruit and veg she had at her wedding – natures show is such much more glorious than fussy streamers and balloons, in my view.

    I have just started to knit and I am beginning to really get into it, but a long dress? In a fine yarn? With chopsticks (why??). Total bargain for $800.

    I always love your posts, but most of all I like them when they are about well behaved, kind brides. And Nancy. And you putting your feet up. Happy New Year Mrs Mole!

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you, Kate…just thinking about your family gathering in your new home makes me smile…hope it was a good time! I had to laugh when the translator turned knitting needles into chopsticks!

  3. Tia Dia says:

    This is just beautiful. What a treat realizing you were working with someone you knew! Amazing work in that dress – truly an heirloom worth keeping, and such a refreshing treat after all the made-in-a-factory over-the-top stuff you usually work on. And such a beautiful bouquet of flowers for you. Could this get any better?! Do enjoy your January sewing for yourself and Nancy! You’ve earned a holiday from the crazy wide world of white.

    • mrsmole says:

      Once in a while we do get a reward along with a nice story and lovely bride. Having 4 weeks without a bride will be wonderful and allow my brain to appreciate other fabrics and techniques and have time to read my Kindle! Hope you new year starts off great, Melodia!

  4. Sylvia says:

    Beautiful dress and work with the slip!
    Could we have the link to the knitter
    I’d love to support an artist who can do such work. Happy new year to you!

  5. karen says:

    Happy New Year to you and yours. It was nice to read this particular blog. Stress free and cozy. I love hearing about connections in life! Beautiful dress and story behind it! Enjoy your “down” time.

    • mrsmole says:

      Thanks, Karen…Mr Mole always says readers want to travel long with me…some days it is easy and smooth. First day of my down time today…snowing like mad and I don’t care!

  6. robbie says:

    Beautiful dress and handmade! Then wearing her mom’s dress also! I realize everyone is different– but I treasure these types of bridal decisions–unconventional, yes, but in a timeless, unassuming portrait of class and stature.

    • mrsmole says:

      Such a nice change from all the tulle and foolery…figure hugging and cultural classic with local flowers…and a sweet girl to go with it…I love my job.

  7. Monique says:

    So pretty!
    Have a great 2017 – keep warm and cozy this month and enjoy your sewing-for-me-time.

  8. Elle says:

    Hmm, such an interesting correlation between dresses and behavior. Is it my imagination or do some of the rudest brides comes with the tackiest dresses? The thought popped into my mind when this lovely dress was brought to you by a gracious bride. Enjoy your January! I’m sure your feathered friends will be grateful that you’re at home, topping up the feeders.

    • mrsmole says:

      Some brides do bring tacky dresses but you can never predict who will win the prize…ha ha! We have one variety of hummingbird in our valley that does not migrate south so we keep the feeders warm and filled even on snowy days like today.

  9. Siobhan S says:

    I’m so happy you shared this beautiful story. And what a lovely wedding dress it is! Probably my favourite of all you’ve showcased so far.

    • mrsmole says:

      That dress will certainly be memorable for its uniqueness and style and the bride’s sweetness…these are the memories that keep us warm during the winter until the next session starts in Feb.

  10. I would never have thought of knitting a wedding dress. What skill! It must have been nice to make the connection between the bride and her mother too. What nice people.

    • mrsmole says:

      It seemed appropriate to start the year with a nice story as sometimes I think I spend so much time bitching about clients and silly dresses on the blog that you might think my sewing room is a doom and gloom place…ha ha. Wouldn’t you love to see such a dress in progress? I know I would!

  11. I love that dress. So simple but beautiful. We just found out New Year’s Eve that our daughter’s boyfriend wanted our blessings to ask to marry her. She doesn’t know yet. It’s hard to keep that secret for a few weeks while he makes her a ring. I know that’s the kind of dress she’d like even though I could make her anything. Thanks for the beautiful story and the link for the dress.

    • mrsmole says:

      One thing I did not know is that there are other countries where this is the norm for wedding dresses. Once I typed “Knitted wedding gowns” into Google, I found lots! How exciting for you to keep such a secret!!!! Blessings to you and your family for the future addition…he’s making the ring? How custom is that!

  12. Raquel says:

    Bello vestido! I loved the dress and stories behind. Happy 2017!

  13. Shams says:

    Wow, a knitted wedding dress. That’s really something.

  14. amcclure2014 says:

    What a lovely story. We really do live in a small world! What a coincidence.
    Happy New Year!

    • mrsmole says:

      Our lives are all so connected despite our yearning to be independent. When I first met a local Native American medicine woman, one of the famous 13 Grandmothers, she called me granddaughter and it felt so natural to have an immediate connection to all her other “granddaughters”. Wishing you a wonderful 2017!

  15. Tee says:

    Happy New Year! Looking forward to many more sewing adventures in 2017!!!

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Tee, you and I will certainly have much more to share with our readers…those brides just never stop showing up on the front porch!!! Wishing you many more easy fixes than difficult ones in 2017!

  16. Kim says:

    What a stunning dress, and a really amazing back story too. And are they dahlias in the flowers she gave you? I love dahlias (and sweet peas) and hope to give my garden a little more TLC this year.
    Enjoy your January down time – and have a wonderful 2017!

    • mrsmole says:

      Yes, they may have been dahlias…they came from her mother’s nursery that she picked that morning. I love sweet peas too as it is supposed to be my birth month flower (April) but I have have never had much luck growing them here. We have one month of cool Spring weather before Summer hits with a bang and all manner of peas just dry up and shrivel away. I do like watching Monty Don on Gardener’s World planting pea seeds in tubes…he is just magical!

  17. symondezyn says:

    Wow, what a unique and special dress! A dress that takes a whole team of weavers an entire month to make, for only $800… kind of shocking isn’t it? It certainly is a small world – I didn’t know you once lived in Kits! It’s a very posh place now; this poor artist can’t afford to do much other than hike through there now and again, but it sure is pretty 🙂

  18. mrsmole says:

    Kits back in the early 70’s was the original place for shabby chic…hippie shops, candles sellers and the smell of weed everywhere. It was the one place we could afford in rent instead of “in town”. Folks went down to the water to gather driftwood to make recycled creations to sell. Can’t imagine it now! The landlord and his Greek mail-order wife lived in the basement and we lived on the upper floor. Spent many of my days at the local laundromat hoping that my clothes would not come home filled with sand from the previous customer.

    • symondezyn says:

      I think I was born a few decades too late, because (aside from the weed LOL) I think I would have enjoyed the hippy days ^_^ Sounds like Kits has changed an awful lot!! LOL

  19. Mem says:

    Oh that must have restored your faith in brides .what a lovely dress. I wonder if it was made of rayon.?

  20. sewruth says:

    How nice to hear about a pleasant bride and a stunning original dress.
    Happy New Year Mrs Mole and may you have many more charming brides in 2017

  21. JustGail says:

    That’s a gorgeous dress, and to think it took a month to make. My hats off to those who can knit that fast! I had a friend in high school whose mother crocheted her dress, it took many months. It was beautiful but heavy, and kept growing longer and longer.

  22. mrsmole says:

    This dress was heavy so the need for tacking the side seams at the waist was crucial! People who kit and crochet are a special breed with so much patience…I applaud them!

  23. TRE says:

    What a beautiful dress and a wonderful story. I love those kind of connections! I enjoyed reading this very much, thank you.

  24. I applaud anyone with the patience to knit an entire wedding dress, possibly to be used only once. I have a love-hate relationship with knitting. My involvement is purely practical, as I began by trying to replicate hand-knit socks bought in Chile. I couldn’t buy 100% wool socks easily in Savannah, so learned to make them.

    Since then, I’ve made lots of socks and sweaters which I designed myself. I use large needles and natural fibers (wool and cotton, mostly), as this suits our hot, humid climate. Natural fibers breathe better and last longer than synthetics. The large needles insure the projects move quickly (but for mistakes). I’ve also learned how to darn.

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