Needlework-a-Go Go #27: Strange Yarn Indeed

Unlike Rosie Greer, Sergio Aragones, Artie Johnson and other self-proclaimed male knitters, I have yet to attempt the fine art of needlecraft.  Thus, my knowledge is a bit lacking, especially when it comes to the terminology of some of the crazy clothing to come out of the seventies.  So, bear with me.

One thing is for certain, there arose a fashion trend which defied category. Sometimes it looked less like an article of clothing than it did a pot holder.  I've seen it referred to as "shrink tops" and "body huggers".  Basically, they were yarn creations that the terms "shirt" or "sweater" did not do justice. Often composed of granny squares, and sometimes they  looked like a child's pair of overalls - but meant to be worn by adults.

"WTF" you say? Well, carry on, dear reader, and perhaps all will be clear.... or perhaps even more confused.  Retrospace is in dire need of an expert on this subject.

First up is the "child's overalls".  Can't say as I remember seeing this on adults back in the day, but then that doesn't mean they weren't out there.

These tops are begging for some kind of taxonomy.  They're "breastplates", "rib ticklers", "gypsy huggers", "shrink tops", "body huggers", etc.

And finally, we have the two-piece oddity.  Basically, a top of any variety with a pair of shorts.  There's something strange about a crocheted pair of hot pants - a style that was clearly limited to a brief moment in time never to be seen again.  I must admit, I dig it.

I'll leave you with the Nautical Tunic Top.  Jesus Harold Christ!


  1. Those jumpers look like lederhosen on acid.

  2. Yeah you dont hear too much about 'What's the latest in BREASTPLATES..' anymore. The terry cloth bikini looks Yowza!

  3. AnonymousMay 24, 2012

    The rib tickler-couple just want to tear off their horrifying garments and have a pancake orgy.

  4. That Pop Tops picture...the one on the left. The guy in the middle looks like Keir Dullea gone mad. As for the crochet hot pants...the one on the left...there looks like a little bulge where there shouldn't be one. That's not a woman, baby, that's a man!

  5. Now it may look hilarious, but then it was the latest craze :D

  6. AnonymousMay 24, 2012

    Sylvia, you are wrong. This was never "the latest craze" for anyone.

  7. The first few pictures feature women wearing what appear to be knitted body stockings.How do you get into something like that?

    1. You have to be patient and not be afraid of needles.

  8. AnonymousMay 24, 2012

    Was there some kind of fabric shortage in the 70's?

  9. My theory is that they stood there whilst someone knitted a bodystocking onto them.

  10. This definitely brings back memories of my childhood in the 70s. There were 3 old ladies who lived next door to our family and they were always knitting us stuff like this! Here's proof: http://www.flickr.com/photos/suzy8track/4190543192/ Sadly, my mom also made me and my sister get haircuts like Jane Fonda in Klute.

  11. blackberryJune 02, 2012

    For real, it's time to sell some of these pattern books- to me!

  12. Yep, Sylvia is right - this stuff was pretty popular! Maybe not the crazier stuff like the lederhosen and breastplates, but the shrink tops - oh yeah. We called them "potholder vests". They were so popular you could buy them at Sears and Montgomery Ward...you didn't actually have to crochet them yourselves. I tried..but every time I got halfway through, I realized it was never gonna fit...I guess I made the stitches way too small!