Category Archives: Costume design

Call The Midwife knits

BBC TV’s Call The Midwife is my Sunday night telly treat. I can never resist a good period drama and I think this is my favourite. Why? The knitting of course.

The nuns* are often pictured knitting (it’s always entertaining trying to work out who is actually knitting and who is just acting), mainly producing tea cosies and knitted toys for the parish fair. It’s not that that keeps me enthralled though, it’s the parade of late ’50s knitwear that keeps me on the edge of my seat.  I love the way the costume designer (Amy Roberts; nominated for a BAFTA for the 2012 series) matches the design of the knitting to the characters. Shy, staid and slightly awkward Jane? She gets high-necked raglans:

Call The MIdwife Raglan knits

Slightly more racy characters get yoked sweaters, still high-necked with back button fastening. These sweaters are often worn with high heels by cigarette-smoking blond ladies:


And ‘nice’ girls, the kind of girls who work in a typing pool and go home to darn their father’s socks (it was the 1950s, remember) go for lace:Lace sweaters from Call The Midwife

Frost Flowers lace on the left; Old Shale lace on the right.

I can’t decide which I like best. Probably the colourwork yoke or the Old Shale shell top. Maybe they can all be my favourites.

*If you’ve not had the pleasure of Call The Midwife, let me explain very briefly. 1950s London Docklands; cramped housing; deprivation; large families; nursing convent of nuns and nurses providing midwifery and district nursing. Watch it.

All pictures from BBC iplayer.