Dorothy Jumper – my latest pattern takes me back to the beginning…

Dorothy Jumper by Jane Ellison

The Dorothy Jumper, like the Sedgwick Sweater is inspired by classic knits.


I can remember the first time I saw a 1940s knitting pattern book. It was a gift and it was one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. My love of hand knitting was reignited and nurtured while I studied for an Art Foundation diploma. I always knitted but it was one of my art tutors, Tin, who must have seen something I couldn’t see, she uncovered something I felt deep down and encouraged me to follow that spark. She gave me a book that seem to open a whole new world to me (I’ve since then collected these amazing books).


One of the first patterns in the book was a knitted suit! I had never seen anything like that before! I was already a big fan of hand knits – when I was 14 my mum had knitted me a ribbed skirt. I loved that ribbed skirt, it was 2×2 rib in black and came to just below my knee. But this was something else and as I looked through the book I found more amazing designs on every page.

The patterns in these books have just one size, one length, there isn’t any grading up, which makes me wonder many things, like did knitters know how to grade up patterns to make sure they fitted? Were these only used as a guide…? It’s through reading this book, and others like it, that I learnt about yarn and the words from their pages have stayed with me ever since.


I didn’t know it when I first saw this amazing book, but perhaps something magical was sparked when I first read it because yarn is in my blood – my ancestors worked in the wool trade, in Bradford.

This week’s design The Dorothy Jumper is definitely heavily influenced by my love of the 1940s and 1950s knit design (although now I think about it, I think everything I knit is).
As regular readers will know by now I love simple knits and I want the knitting to be as simple, easy and enjoyable as possible.

The Dorothy Jumper is a fitted jumper, which will fit your curves perfectly, because I use stitches to define the shape and do not add increasing or decreasing to define the shape. This is needed in tailoring, where you need to add darts or cut cloth into a slope or circle to create shapes. With my knitting you don’t have to be so precise, you can let the stitches do the work and shaping. So I use ribbing over the hips and waist to create the fitted look, no need for a steady decrease to create this fitted look – woohoo!!


I then added stitch detail at the edges of the body and sleeves to create this fit again. We all have curves in the perfect place for our perfect body shape. Women are curvy and this is wonderful – we should all celebrate our own individual curves.
There is always going to be someone with more or less curves that us, and this is something to celebrate and not compare.
Does a sunflower compare itself to a daffodil? Both are beautiful.
So I design my jumpers to fit all shapes with little need for working out where your waist comes to in comparison to your hips.
And this is true with the Dorothy Jumper, it hugs your shape perfectly.

Article by Jane