Thursday, 10 July 2014

Paul McCartney's Crochet Granny Square Waistcoat


image of Paul McCartney's Crochet granny square waistcoat 
Fab crochet waistcoat of many colours

I'm a born and bred Liverpudlian...a scouser, which is a Random Fact I'm sure many of you are unaware of. Even though we now live further north near to the coast of West Lancashire which is about 30 minutes away from Liverpool we often go there to visit family and friends as well as visiting the many attractions this great city has to offer. We are so excited and really looking forward to seeing the giant marionette spectacular which is happening later on this month to commemorate WW1. 
image of the giant marionettes in Liverpool show
I'm extremely proud of my roots, and coupled with my love of crochet you can imagine my delight when I first clapped eyes on these photo's of Paul McCartney wearing his cool crochet waistcoat first seen during the filming of The Magical Mystery Tour in 1967, and then worn again on a trip to India in 1968...
Paul McCartney wearing his crochet granny square waistcoat
Technicolour Dream Coats
Instantaneously I knew I wanted to recreate this not with the main intention of it being an addition to my 'regular' wardrobe but because I just wanted to, and because I could...and so I did.
Nothing but an exact copy of his waistcoat would do at first, matching each round colour for colour, granny for granny - simple? Er, no! I hadn't realised just what a problem that was going to be until I started my research. First there just aren't that many clear close up shots of the waistcoat out there. Some of the pics are grainy and dark whilst others are in full sunlight, which made it all the more difficult in determining the true colours of the yarn in each granny square, also the majority of the photos are frustratingly in black and white. It took a while to collect a decent amount of images which I pinned to my research board on Pinterest - don't you just love Pinterest?! To think I put off joining for ages because I just couldn't see the point of it, now I'm a daily visitor! Anyway I digress - you can see all the photos I collected over on my then secret Pinterest board which I have just made public for you all to see.

Once I realised it was never going to be an absolute replica of the original I decided on choosing a selection of colours based on both the darker as well as the lighter photos.
I first mentioned this project back in March on this post - you can see the first square I produced. Unfortunately it was only after I'd ordered a large batch of dk yarn that I realised it was too thick and would not work up to scale. I was just a tad annoyed at myself for not making a practice piece first, but because I was so eager to get started any common sense went right out the window; a valuable lesson learnt. Ah well not to worry that yarn is now being turned into some rather lovely cushion covers which I hope to finish and share with you soon.

Eventually after many hours of researching 4-ply yarns online I chose Drops Baby Merino yarn from Wool Warehouse. It was available in a great selection of all the shades I needed including pastels as well as brights. It's really soft, non-itchy, affordable, can be machine washed, has good stitch definition and has good drape. Plus there are three shades of grey to choose from, so I plumped for the middle shade - not too light not too dark.
image of Drops Baby Merino yarn
I also had to change the number of squares at the top front section on the shoulders to just two as opposed to the three seen in the photo below. I just couldn't fathom out how two squares from the back shoulder section could possibly line up with three at the front. Even on closer inspection all five rounds on each square can be seen on some of the close ups. Maybe that's why Paul's waistcoat looks a little ill fitting and bunched up around the top of the arms? Look...
image of Paul McCartney in his crochet waistcoat
Want to see my finished vintage waistcoat?
Here it is in all it's granny glory...
Hmm these shots doesn't really do it justice do they? Plus the sunlight has affected the true colour.
Here it is pictured in a more suitable location...
Apart from hats and scarves this is the first 'proper' crocheted garment I've made, and I'm thrilled to bits with it. I adore everything about this colourful little waistcoat of mine, and what it means to me. I mentioned (shamefully) in a previous post about not being completely smitten with granny squares...I take it all back. I loved wearing it for my photo shoot, but have to confess I felt a little self conscious walking around the city centre in it so I took it off after every shot. Boo! Hiss! - I hear you cry! Disappointed in myself I made sure I rectified my lack of Granny Pride and I've worn it a few times since. It certainly would make the appropriate music festival attire - with added flowers in my hair and some long wooden beads - oh yes bring it on! I shall definitely be wearing it with pride at Yarndale this year, so you won't be able to miss me in the crowds!

I'm so interested to know what has happened to Paul's original waistcoat. I couldn't find any information about it's whereabouts online. Does anyone out there know? I really hope he has kept hold of it, and it's tucked away in a drawer somewhere as a treasured keepsake. I did read somewhere that his Auntie knitted him this vest which he also wore during The Magical Mystery Tour. Maybe she crocheted the waistcoat too? I need to improve my knitting skills so I can make this one day to add to my 'Fab' collection.

Technicolour Tank Top
If you fancy making a historical vintage waistcoat to call your very own then go here, and here to find my written photo-tutorial. Who knows, maybe we could start a granny square fashion revival together!? X

22 comments:

  1. Amanda, you've gone to great lengths to get this right, and with great success: well done you, I admire your tenacity! You do look very happy wearing it, and rightly so - it'll probably turn out to be a garment that is handed down through the family and treasured for ever.
    I do like Paul's pullover/vest too ….. bring it on Amanda! xoJoy

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    1. Wow thank you Joy! I'm hoping my girls will treasure it too - probably when they're a lot older ;-D
      Take care me lovely
      Amanda XX

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  2. I think that it looks much better on you and it did on Paul!!! How great that you worked this out and put so much work into it. Hope that you keep loving wearing it for a long time!! xx

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    1. Cheers Amy I'm flattered!
      Hugs
      Amanda XX

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  3. The waistcoat looks fantastic, It looks great on you, looking forward to seeing the vest!! Have a great weekend.

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    1. Thanks Zana - you are too kind! I watched a documentary on Kaffe Fassett last night and he was knitting these amazing multicoloured pieces of work. I was in total awe, and feel so inspired that I will probably be blowing the dust off my knitting needles a lot sooner than I'd planned ;-D

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  4. Hi Amanda, I just found your lovely blog via Annemarie's link party. This waistcoast is great! I love it, and it looks wonderful on you :) You chose some great yarn to make it. Have a wonderful weekend xx

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    1. Hello Elisabeth! I'm so glad you took the time to visit here and leave such lovely comments. I will be popping over to your place soon :-)
      I'm thrilled that you like it.
      Enjoy the rest of your weekend
      Amanda XX

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  5. You clever girl! It looks fantastic!

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  6. Wonderful job recreating the waistcoat, we call both versions (open in front and closed) vest here in the States. I digress. I'll be saving up my finer yarns in hopes of making one for my DD. She is quite a Beatles fan (gets that from me!) and her dream, after graduating college, is to go to Great Britain. Liverpool specifically.

    Thank you for making such a treasure available to those of us who are crocheters and fans of the boys from across the pond.

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    1. Thank you Susan! I really hope your daughter gets to fly across the pond one day wearing the crochet vest/waistcoat you made for her ;-D
      I'm so delighted you like it - it's a pleasure to share it with you.
      Amanda X

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  7. Really nice. I think that you should make another and sent it to Sir Paul in thanks for all of the great music that he (and the Beatles, Wings) has given us these past fifty+ years!

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    1. I would but only on one condition - that he picks it up from my house, and stays for a cuppa and a chinwag ;-D

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  8. Love the vintage look, Amanda! I would like to share your blog in the world wide blog , would you want to join? Of so, please email me at tamapollo14@gmail.com Have a great sunday!

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    1. Hi Silvia, I'm just catching up with my replies here on my blog for all to see, (I emailed you ages ago). I'm really flattered you wanted to share my blog through yours :-)
      I love your Baktus scarf by the way and will be catching up with you soon.
      many thanks
      Amanda X

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  9. Great job! I've really enjoyed reading your blog and looking at the photos you pinned. Am a very long time Beatles fan (since 1963-64) and especially a Paul fan from the US. Thank you!

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    1. Hello to you from across the pond!
      Thanks for your lovely comments Pat
      Amanda X

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  10. I just came across your blog. I love your granny square vest! Would you consider making one as a commission? :)

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  11. I just came across your blog. I love your granny square vest! Would you consider making one as a commission? :)

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  12. I'm trying to make it as well! I wonder if the three top row front squares would fit with the back two if they were slightly smaller? Do you think that's a possible way to make it exactly like his? I'm an ametuer but I'd love to make it as close to the same as possible.

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  13. I'm trying to make it as well! I wonder if the three top row front squares would fit with the back two if they were slightly smaller? Do you think that's a possible way to make it exactly like his? I'm an ametuer but I'd love to make it as close to the same as possible.

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