Thursday, February 18, 2016

How to Knit Cher Horowitz's Coat

(Reclaimed from Blogjob, where I tagged it as: Clueless TV series tie-in novelhand knittingknit for Barbie dollknit for fashion dollMaxie dollnovels by H.B. Gilmour and Randi ReisfeldRed Heart Light & Lofty yarn.)

Although elaborate costumes from historical novels are interesting to knit for dolls, Barbie dolls are a twentieth century phenomenon and can seem most at home in twentieth century styles.
The model shown below is actually "Maxie" ...the one with realistic human-type feet, rather than stubs designed to lock into stands, although Maxie's feet are still smaller than a real human's would be and don't really allow her to stand up unsupported. Anyway, as a blonde teenage-type doll she seems a good match for a book from the series that began with Clueless. 
Here's an authentic Maxie doll from 1989. At the time of posting, clicking on this image will open a page where you can buy this vintage doll:
Here's the book, with the link you can use to buy it from the person who posted the image:
On the book jacket, H.B. Gilmour's character Cher is wearing a silky summer blouse, the kind of thing you could actually wear in Southern California. The human's outfit would, in real life, be a super-lightweight machine-knitted jersey fabric. The yarn I had in a matching color was a chunky boucle yarn called "Light & Lofty." what the doll is wearing is the fun fur coat to match the thin shirt, or dress, or whatever, the character's wearing in the picture.
To my surprise, it is still possible to buy "Light & Lofty" yarn. Here's where you can check out the colors that are currently available...I see a pearly, blue-toned white, but not the pale blue I used, which I bought more than ten years ago.
If you can't find "Light & Lofty" you can use other blanket-weight yarns, although most of them will be less textured and will give less of a fun-fur effect. The gauge I got is closer to 3.75 than to 4 stitches per inch; if you get 4 or even 4.5 stitches per inch the coat will still fit any 11-1/2 to 12" adult-shape doll, but may look more like a tunic than a fun-fur coat. Two ounces (50 grams) of yarn will be plenty.
This coat is worked from the shoulders down, in two pieces which I joined as I went along, thusly:
  1. Cast on 24 stitches.
  2. First row (right side): knit all stitches. Second row (wrong side): knit 2, purl to the last 2 stitches, knit 2. Repeat these 2 rows 3 times more: 8 rows altogether.
  3. Bind off 6 beginning next 2 rows, and work all rem st in stock st (K on right-side rows, P on wrong-side rows).
  4. Bind off 1 beginning next 4 rows.
  5. Work 8 rows even on 8 st.
  6. Change to garter stitch (K all st on right-side and wrong-side rows) for 10 rows more. Bind off.
  7. You have now made the back half of the coat. Hold it with the right side facing you, and pick up and knit 10 st from the cast-on edge along the right shoulder and sleeve. Turn, purl 8, and knit 2.
  8. Turn. Knit 10, increasing in the last st. Turn. Purl 9, knit 2.
  9. Turn. K 11, inc in the last st. Turn. P 10, k 2.
  10. K 12. Wrap yarn 5 times around the needle, then pick up and knit 10 more st from the cast-on edge along the left shoulder and sleeve. Turn. K 2, P 8, working the last P st together with 1 of the wrapped loops in the middle of the row.
  11. Turn. Knit 1 st through the back of the next wrapped loop. K 10. Turn. K 2, P 9, working the last P st together with the next wrapped loop. Repeat these 2 rows again, thus using up all the wrapped loops.
  12. K 2, P 10. If the center st is slack, pick up a loop and purl it through the back loop together with the center st. P 10, K 2.
  13. Picking up 1 from each of the 6 bound-off st from the back half of the coat and working it together with each of the 6 st, bind off 6 beginning next 2 rows, thus joining the sleeves.
  14. Work the next 4 rows in stock st, binding off and grafting the first st of each row.
  15. Work 8 more rows stock st, picking up a loop at the side edge of the back of the coat and working it together with the first st of each row.
  16. Work 10 more rows g st, joining the first st of each row to the corresponding row of the back of the coat in the same way.
  17. Bind off, grafting the first and last st to the bound-off edge from the back of the coat.
On the book jacket, Cher wears hair ornaments that match her shirt or dress. You'll have enough yarn left over from a skein of "Light & Lofty" to make hair ornaments, necklaces, belts, or even spool-knit socks/boots, to match the coat, if you want them.
(Update: This doll, and also a doll dressed to match Dionne (the character on Cher's left on the book cover), have already been sold. To order dolls dressed to match this or other books, not limited to children's books if you are or know a grown-up Barbie collector, send $20 per doll and the specifications you want to either address at the very bottom of the screen. To purchase any Clueless novel as a Fair Trade Book, send $5 per book, $5 per package--I can squeeze six or eight of these paperbacks into a package--and $1 per online payment, and we'll send $1 per Clueless novel to Randi Reisfeld or a charity of her choice.)