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head shot of designer Fiona Ellis.Today's post is from Fiona Ellis, designer of countless garments in Twist. Her eye for details is impeccable. Today she tells us about the little details that make garments special; both the ones we buy and the ones we make. She was inspired to write this after a Facebook post by Twist contributor Franklin Habit about his newest suit.



I always watch the Oscars to see what the stars are wearing. It is an influential affair which tends to set some of the major fashion trends especially in terms of popular colors. I follow to get a general overview of the "feeling" or mood that is being set. This year overall everything seemed pared down and un-fussy. This is when construction and details really shine. These details of course go in and of vogue and last night I picked up a focus on the hip area with several gowns having peplums. But it got me thinking about a conversation that I had with a friend at a New Year's eve party.


This friend is a scientist and not somebody I would expect to be interested in fashion but he does likes to dress well. He was marveling at how you can tell if a suit is “bespoke” by checking to see if the cuff has working buttonholes or not. I was thrilled to hear that people outside of my fashion-focused world still pay attention to these types of details. I am a big advocate of couture details and the bespoke suit has a fair number of it’s own.

After our conversation I did a little on-line research looking for information on bound buttonholes to send to him and discovered things that I hadn’t paid much attention to before now. The suit with working buttonholes is apparently called a “surgeon’s cuff” stemming from the necessity of a surgeon to be able to roll up his sleeves, especially in a military setting to say remove a bullet. I also never knew that there is such a thing as cuff buttons referred to as “kissing buttons” meaning that they are touching and ones spaced slightly further apart known therefore as “non-kissing buttons”.

There were also blog post discussions considering whether it is showing off or just “de rigueur” to leave a cuff button un-done to show that the buttonholes do in fact work and thus demonstrating that it’s a hand made (read expensive) suit.

As knitters we are big fans of the details that elevate our projects, setting them apart from the now ubiquitous cheap manufacturing practices found in store bought garments. I know that I, along with many designers, go to a lot effort to coming up with unique details for our patterns. And in general I think many knitters will go to the extra effort to work just the right buttonhole or shaping decrease. But I’m wondering if we have signals (like leaving a button undone) that we use to bring these details to the attention of other hand knitters? Here are some examples of the little details from Twist Collective sweaters that make our handknit garments just right.

Seaming details on Keynote:


closeup of cabled side and raglan seams on a lavender cardigan

Cuff detail on Thorntower:

tilted garter cuff detail on Thorntower, a bronze  asymmetrical cabled cardigan


Cuff detail on Ruddington:

closeup of cabled cuff detail on ruddington, a wine colored cabled cardigan


Shaping details on Bevel:


diagonal ribbing on Bevel, a fitted cabled pullover with a deep v neck


Cuff detail on Athabasca:

closeup of colorwork cuff on Athabasca, a stranded pullover with a high henley neckline and vertical columns of stranded patterning.


Cuff detail on Viridis:


detail of welted edging on cuffs and lower egde of viridis, wrap cardigan with lace front panel


Edging on Astra:


wavy cable edgings on Astra, a simple tunic with cable and welt details


Gores and rippled edges on Brookline:


shaping gores create an a-line shape and a rippled icord edges the cuffs and lower border of this cream colored cardigan