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on June 4, 2007
Joan McGowan-Michael came of age in the seventies, an era when underthings were basic and functional--but she was always drawn to the intriguing lingerie of her mother and grandmother. After finishing design school, she went to work as a designer for a major lingerie retailer, just in time for the resurgence of feminine lingerie.

Lingerie is no longer relegated to the role of shaping women's bodies and keeping us warm. It has taken centre stage, inspiring designs and become outwear. In 2001, McGowan-Michael founded White Lies Designs and has since been designing knitted lingerie and lingerie-inspired designs for all the major knitting publications.

In Knitting Lingerie Style, McGowan-Michael examines the five staple undergarments of a woman's wardrobe--the bra, slip, corset, camisole and stocking--and reviews the construction and history of each. She then provides a pattern for the basic garment, followed by designs which use the basic garment as a "jumping off" point. The bra inspires the twinset, the slip a party dress and the camisole is reincarnated as a lacy bodice.

The patterns found in Knitting Lingerie Style invite knitters to become adventurous. Overall, these patterns require knitting experience and, because most are quite fitted, require an honest assessment of one's body. Sizing for her garments ranges from finished chest measurements of 28" to 57" with the majority falling in the 31" to 46" range, with very minimal ease.

McGowan-Michael guides knitters step-by-step through the process of creating a knitted bra or corset and provides helpful illustrations. Her background in lingerie design is very evident in the construction of her garment designs and in the fashioning details she includes, such as including interfacing in her bra and offering alternate cup construction in the Citrus Sun Top, since a bra can't be worn under it. Even if knitters never knit the lingerie in Knitting Lingerie Style, McGowan-Michael's useful information will help them look at lingerie in a new way, leaving them with a better understanding of fit and styles which are figure-flattering for women.

Armchair Interviews says: Very inspiring design ideas for knitters.
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on May 8, 2007
Let me begin by saying this book is absolutely beautiful. This is not your typical naughty knitting book. The designs are inspired by lingerie and although there is some actualy lingerie in the book, mostly it's full of beautiful knitted items that you would never want to wear under clothes. The photography is gorgeous, the instructions are clear, the designs are beautiful. This book is especially great for warm weather knitting. I am a fan of Joan McGowen-Michael because not only does she design sexy knits but she includes instructions for women who have some meat on their bones. When I heard she was doing a book I was very excited and the book has mostly held up to my expectation. That being said I have a bone to pick with Joan and several other authors.

I opened the book and fell in love with the first sweater I saw. When I finished paging through the book, I had my first three projects, the "Lacy Summer Socks" and two camisoles-Surplice Bodice Camisole and Silk and Pearl Cami. I was excited. I was ready to buy yarn and cast on.

I went to my computer to look for the yarn. First project the socks - yarn is easy to find,not too pricy- ordered, no problem. Second project - "Surplice Bodice Camisole" - yarn a bit pricy, only 10 colors - checked the type, gauge and went looking for a substitution. Once again no problem. Went looking for the yarn for the third project - "Silk and Pearl Cami" which by the way was my favorite. It's a great basic camisole. Problems - note the "s". First, the yarn recommended was Classic Elite Temptation. The yarn has been discontinued. Now I know there is often a huge span of time between when the pattern is written and when the book was completed but shouldn't someone have checked the yarns before the book went to press. Second, what's still around is going for around $45.00. That's a little pricy for a cute little camisole. But three is the biggest flub - the yarn gauge is the pattern is given as 4 stitches per inch on size 9 needles and the yarn gauge on the yarn is 3 1/4 stitches per inch on size 9 needles. Temptation isn't an easy yarn to substitute. What as I suppose to base my yarn substitution on? The gauge in the book or the gauge on the yarn. In fact if I hunt down the yarn and pay a king's ransom for it, will I get gauge the right gauge? Probably not according to the manufacturer! (I sorry I sound angry. I'm not angry, just a little annoyed.) My current solution is to go with the gauge in the pattern and see what's available for yarn.

It is time for knitwear designers to wake up and realize knitting is a creative activity and part of being creative to selecting the yarn. Many knitters do not just buy the designer's choice. We're not sheep, we're knitters. The yarn mentioned is only a recommendation and fiber content, weight and gauge should be double checked in every publication because that's what many knitter's look at first.

Okay I'm off my soap box. I do recommend the book, but I've only looked closely at the three patterns I mentioned so you may want to double check the gauge on the pattern and the yarn before you make a purchase. Make sure you do a swatch before you begin the project to double check. Happy Knitting.
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on August 23, 2007
I just wanted to say a big thank you to Joan M-M for inspiring me to knit again.

I am a dressmaker, and am very particular about fit; I just don't see the point of going to the effort of making something, whether it be sewn or knit, if the fit is going to be anything less than perfect; if I want an average fitting garment I might as well just buy one from a shop.

The problem that I have with most of the patterns I have used for knits is that, compared to a sewn dress pattern, they seem fairly simplistic in the way the garment is shaped to fit the body; a bit of increasing and decreasing at the side seams through the waist area would to be the norm. Coming from a sewing background where I use darts and steam to mould the fabric, I just don't see how this is going to contour my body in the most flattering way; while a knit fabric provides some give, it can't possibly achieve good shape through the waist, bust and shoulders, especially when working with a yarn that has little memory.

I found Joan's patterns to be unlike others I have used, and I think they demonstrate a truer understanding of the female form and how to fit it. I've knit the silk and pearls cami, and only made some small adjustments to make it fit me perfectly. I can't describe how pleased I am with the result! While all of the designs in the book are certainly very beautiful and I plan to knit most of them, my head is currently full of different designs I can knit for summer, using the square-necked tank as my basic "block". My problem now is that I don't know which one to start with!
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on October 30, 2007
I am not an amazing knitter. In the past five years, my knitting has been comprised of differently shaped rectangles and one botched Waldo-style sweater. I purchased a tutorial-style book a few months back, then mustered the gumption to purchase this book. The instructions are relatively clear and rarely have to be supplemented with my previous book. I have completed the bed jacket and I am (probably too) proud of myself. The patterns for stockings, slips, etc. are beautiful, and I will try them with much cheaper yarn than is suggested. I will probably never make myself a knitted bra, but it sure is a good reference if I ever find myself in need.
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on December 2, 2007
I loved this book. The designs, along with two other books (Fitted Knits and Romantic Knits) inspired me to give knitting another try after a 12 year break. Almost all lingerie you buy is knit already. It is machine knit fabric. To revisit the idea of knitting undergarments for beauty rather than warmth is genius. I have been able to find all supplies and yarns locally or online. Some patterns include plus-sized sizing. However the bra cups do only go to a D. I am a G. However, I am so used to having to figure out how to alter sewing patterns to fit, I was not too intimidated by doing it with knitting. You just need to check your guage, honestly measure, and do the math. For any one who says why bother, why bother making anything yourself? It is for love of fit and for love of the art.
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on July 7, 2007
I was hopeful but wary when I saw this book was going to be released (I was afraid of another "Sexy Little Knits.") However, when I saw at my local B&N, I snatched it up and bought it after only two look-throughs. I am very picky about what books I buy, since I like to live fairly simply, so I have to really like several patterns to invest in a pattern book. I made the lace stockings immediately, and they were really quick and SO CUTE. I really prefer wearable garments with a lingerie feel to them, and there are several of those in here (along with corsets and the like, which are cool but I would never make such a thing.)

I loved this book, and I really hope JMM writes a sequel, but with more bedjackets, camisoles, etc. and skip the underwear part. Maybe she could call it Lingerie Inspired?
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on October 9, 2007
This is a beautiful and outstanding knitting book, and I have been buying and reading them for almost my entire life! The patterns are unique! Bras, camisoles and other naughty but nice undergarment type pieces that have certainly come out in the open in the last few years! Patterns are easy to follow, but not recommended for absolute beginners. Some of the items would make great gifts for a bride-to-be, and there is also a fabulous bedjacket. If you like knitting with fine yarns and small needles, then this is the book for you!
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on October 25, 2007
okay, fine- there are a few items that are strictly lingerie purposes- a bra, a garter, etc. But this book also contains some of the best clothing-items patterns I've found, along with recommendations for some absolutely sumptuous yarns. My favorites include the camisette (basically a sleeveless, square-necked pullover in stockinette), the trumpet skirt, which is fitted at the waist and flares along the shins, in a learn-to-lacework, and a lace-up cardigan that takes an innovative perspective on ribbing.
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VINE VOICEon July 18, 2007
I wasn't aware of this author's credentials until I started looking at the book. I had ordered it for the bra but since it requires underwire which I won't wear and also calls for yarn I can't find plus all sorts of other sewing materials, I will pass on the bra. However, there are several other patterns I just might try. Citrus sun top is also a kind of bra and there I don't have a problem finding the materials. Several of the patterns call for materials that must be ordered from the author. The plus side is that otherwise they probably wouldn't be available at all. As a knitter, I really don't enjoy lots of sewing and several patterns do involve a lot of work. The trumpet skirt uses a yarn I own although I don't wear skirts! It's a very nice one though. When her patterns call for the ribbing stitch, she tells you exactly how much stretch it should have which is another plus. The shaped lace tee is an easy lace top which is lovely. The racerback tank (instead of a bra) could also be something to knit for me. Her long stockings and leggings are very good but I don't make socks anymore. However, her bedjacket is also interesting. I learned a lot from reading her information on the history of these garments so even while I may never knit anything from the book, I'm glad to have it on my shelf. Also her sizes cover a very wide range and the charts are very helpful. This book is undoubtedly the best book on this subject I have seen.
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on May 3, 2007
I can't say enough good things about this book! Not only are the patterns creative, beautiful, and interesting, the book itself is gorgeous. Wonderful photography, projects that range from quick to elaborate, simple but elegant clothing (and it's not all underwear and lingerie) make this one of the best knitting books I've ever bought. I can't wait to try knitting one of these beauties! And P.S., there's a good range of sizes, too!
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