Thank you all for your warm reception of our Ganseys collection last week. We’ve been so excited to launch our first batch of designs inspired by a specific knitting tradition, and today we’d like to share a little more about the gansey-style details our designers chose to incorporate in these garments.
When Jared proposed the gansey idea to our Design Team, he wasn’t necessarily looking for fully traditional construction. While BT’s aesthetic has deep roots into knitting history, we aim to create garments that feel totally contemporary. The goal, then, was to keep the characteristic features of historical ganseys in mind, but execute them playfully and in service of each designer’s own creative vision.
Véronik wanted to incorporate the triangular gusset shaping somehow, but not at the traditional place under the arms. Her choice to position gussets at the sides of the boat neckline creates a delightful visual detail that’s also completely functional, improving the fit of the garment and adding a bit of shoulder coverage that makes Fairweather easier to wear. She also wanted to knit in the traditional construction: a seamless body worked from the bottom up and divided at the armholes. She joined her shoulder seams with a visible 3-needle bind-off (which forms a tidy chain on the right side of the garment, another classic gansey detail) then picked up stitches for the sleeves around the armhole and worked circularly to the cuff. This directional shift in the knitting—upward on the body, downward on the sleeves—adds visual interest to the garment, as the lace and cable panels flow in opposing directions.
Norah also wanted to use the exposed 3-needle bind-off, but she chose to place hers at the back of the collar. Larus is perhaps the least traditional garment of the collection, but like the gansey it balances the proportions of patterned and plain fabric to beautiful effect. By putting the patterned section on the vertical instead of horizontally across the upper torso, Norah created a garment that’s more flattering to many body shapes without sacrificing roomy comfort. She also incorporated a unique knitterly detail by reversing the chevron cable motif along the wearer’s left neckline, as shown in the photo above left.
Like Norah, Michele played with incorporating neckline shaping in an interesting way that maintains vertical patterns established in the lower portion of the body. She elaborated on a traditional flag motif of purl triangles on a stockinette ground to create parallelogram blocks that slant attractively to draw the eye across the fabric. She applied this subtle texture all over the body, punctuating it with delicate cables, but left her sleeves plain to let the eye rest. Vanora’s bracelet-length sleeves nod to the cropped sleeves on many historical feminine ganseys, which bared the wearers’ wrists and forearms for work.
Both Julie and Jared opted for a more classic placement of textured stitches and cables on the upper yoke of the body. Despite the traditional positioning, each garment’s motifs are distinctly modern. Julie’s Breslin uses an original combination of purl stitches and cables to create an industrial effect. She chose to work the lower body and sleeves in reverse stockinette, dialing down the contrast between textured and plain fabric. Breslin’s tailored fit and set-in sleeves are non-traditional, but honor the gansey’s origins as good-looking workwear for those of us who aren’t employed in the fisheries.
Jared liked the idea of using oversized chains, which seemed appropriate for a nautical garment. Caspian nods to several other historical gansey features as well. The ribbed saddle shoulders that extend vertically from the sleeve cap were meant to mimic the knit-and-purl welts that often adorn gansey shoulders. Another detail he incorporated from traditional ganseys is the seamless flow of the side seam details through the underarm gusset and down the sleeve. Since he wasn’t working gussets, he created a variation on that theme by working a side seam detail on the body that flows into the armhole selvedge of the yoke. He also cribbed a common split hem detail from the traditional gansey, beginning the seam at the stockinette portion of the torso to leave a small vent at each side.
The marriage of beauty and purpose that distinguishes gansey knitting is endlessly inspiring to all of us here. We hope you’ll enjoy exploring BT’s unique take on the gansey tradition, savoring these details as much as we have.