Will Mrs. Exeter ever cease to amaze me? She had her fingers in so many pies during the 1950s. While conducting a random search for her on ebay (she is almost always there, although usually out of my price range), I discovered that she was featured in the Fall/Winter 1956 issue of the Vogue Knitting Book. “Introducing Mrs. Exeter Designs,” it announces on the cover. Unfortunately, there is no explanation of what constituted a Mrs. Exeter design, although we can guess from the offerings that in general they were looser fitting, more covered up, and available in larger sizes. While most women’s patterns in the magazine were only available up to size 18 (that would be about a size 12 today), for Mrs. Exeter the size range extended to a 42 (about a woman’s size 32 now).
The first featured pattern was a “lace shirtwaist dress with kimono sleeves.” I must say that it looks very “old lady” to me, with its narrow collar, intricate lacey pattern, and pearl accessories. Other models on offer had a similar buttoned-up, lacey theme. The one exception is the “blouse with low square neckline” on the right below, where we can marvel at this particular Mrs. Exeter’s tiny waist, high bust, and excellent collar bones.
Since we already know that Mrs. Exeter was a first class seamstress, I really shouldn’t be surprised that she did not limit herself to just one skill. Too bad she did not live long enough into the sixties to indulge in macramé or tie dying.