Collection Stories

Hand crafted winter warmth

A winsome yet sophisticated outfit offers a glimpse into the fashion and craftsmanship of the 1950s.

Warm and vibrant, this hand-knitted dress was created and worn by Eve Nixon in the 1950s. Eve knitted it using two different stitches: Stocking stitch for the main body of the dress and moss stitch for the cuffs, collar and hem.

She used approximately 38 balls of four-ply worsted crepe wool, knitted on size ten needles for the stocking stitch and size twelve needles for the moss stitch. Eve would have spent many weeks on it.

The dress is finished with a matching wool belt which has been made using a basic trebles crochet stitch. The black and white wool stripes are additions that were made after the dress was finished, most probably for a longer dress length. The collar stripes, added to match the hem, were made using either a Swiss darning technique or single strips of crochet which have been stitched on individually.

Eve, as she was known, was born Annie Eve Black in Germany in 1908. She immigrated with her family in 1915 to Queensland, Australia, where she met and married a boy from a well-known Whanganui family, John Denis Nixon, in April 1930. John worked for the bank of New South Wales for 23 years in Queensland before they came back and settled in Whanganui in 1950 when John became manager of the Whanganui branch of the bank.

To those who knew Eve she had a chatty friendly personality, but she was also obviously, an accomplished knitter. Eve passed away at the age of 93 in July 2001.

At the Museum we like to put a face to our stories so if anyone knew Eve Nixon and has a photo of her please contact us.

By Trish Nugent-Lyne, Kaihāpai Taonga/Collections and Curatorial Lead at Whanganui Regional Museum.

Main image: Hand-knitted woollen dress, 1950s
Made by Eve Nixon
Made from wool
Gift of Rae Williamson, 1996
Photographed by Kathy Greensides
WRM 1996.97

View the full-length image

Karen Hughes

5 July 2024

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