Saturday, August 22, 2009

Super Breast... Plates!

Breastplate Pattern, Striped Style, from Patons/Beehive “Breastplates” Book No. 2105, c. 1975.

They called themselves the Super Chicks! Four nubile, young ladies determined to make the world a better place by donning hand-crocheted breastplates and fighting for Freedom, Justice, and reasonably priced acrylic yarns

“I don’t like ‘chick’,” said Linda, resplendent in red, white and blue stripes. “It’s too sexist. Why can’t we be Super Women?” Just a little longer, she thought, and then I’m leaving these airheads. I’ll be Lady Captain America, Defendress of the American Way!

“Chicks are cute and fluffy,” said Barbie in a sunshiny voice which perfectly matched her sunshiny breastplate. “I love chicks.”

“I don’t mind ‘chick’” said Debbie, shrugging. She yanked her yellow and blue square breastplate back down over her breasts. “That’s what my boyfriend calls me. I call him babe.”

“Chicks are too small to eat and they make messes everywhere,” said Phyllis, the oldest and most practical of the group. “No chicks!”

“But ‘women’ just sounds so cold,” protested Barbie. “Can’t we be something fluffy?”

“You mean like a fox in a hen house?” asked Linda, snidely.

Unfortunately, her sarcasm sailed right over their heads, and from then on the team was known as “The Super Foxes.”

Linda could feel her self-esteem shriveling up and dying with each passing day.

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):


MATERIALS: All styles are made with Patons Canadiana Knitting Worsted or Patons Carefree Canadiana Sayelle. Where 2 or 3 colours are used, one (2 oz) ball of main colour B and one ball each of contrasting colours A and C will leave sufficient yarn to use as contrasting colours in one other design as well.
While I appreciate the use of authentic Canadian spelling, and equally authentic easy-care premium Canadian Acrylic yarn, I’m puzzled by the decision to have the letter “B” stand in for the main colour. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have the main colour as “A”, and then the contrasting colours would be “B” and “C”? I don’t want to forget halfway through my project which one was the main colour!
For the solid colour style, you will need 2 balls and this will also leave sufficient for one contrasting colour in another style.
Before you begin, figure out the fewest balls of yarn necessary to complete all four projects. Remember, frugal knitters save polymers!
One No. 8 (4.00 mm) Milward aluminum crochet hook or whichever hook you require to produce the tension quoted for each style. 8 buttons for striped style. 2 buttons each for round and square styles. 1 button for hexagonal style.

You must use the exact yarns specified to be sure of satisfactory results.
But they won’t tell you which colour of Patons Canadiana to use. Because clearly colour has nothing whatsoever to do with obtaining satisfactory results. All that matters is that you use Patons’ yarn.
Note: No sizes are given for these designs as they can be made to fit any bust side by adjusting the length of the side pieces. Since it is difficult to judge the exact length required until both side pieces are completed, we recommend that when fastening off these pieces, a length of yarn be left attached in order to work a few more rows if necessary.

TENSION: 4 sts= 1 inch.
The bad news is that wearing an acrylic breastplate in the middle of summer is unlikely to result in a feeling of satisfaction, no matter what brand of yarn you use.
Beginning at side edge with B, ch 5 sts.

Foundation row: (right side). 1 hdc in 2nd ch from hook. 1 hdc in each ch to end of ch. Ch 1. Turn. (5 sts in row).

1st row: (Turning ch always counts as 1st st). Miss 1st st. 1 sc in each st to end of row. Break B.

2nd row: With A, ch 2. 1 hdc in 1st st. 1 hdc in each st to last st. 2 hdc in last st. Ch 1. Turn. (7 sts in row).

3rd row: As 1st row. Break A.

4th row: With C, as 2nd row. (9 sts in row).

5th row: With C, as 1st row. Break C.
The good news is that you can sue Patons demanding satisfaction!
Continue working 2 rows in each colour, increasing 1 st each end of row on next and every alternate row to 39 sts in row, thus ending with 2nd row of C.

Next row: With A, as 2nd row. (41 sts in row). Work 3 rows even. Break A.

Next row: With C, ch 2. Miss 1st st. 1 hdc in each st to last st. Miss last st. Ch 1. Turn. (40 sts in row).

Next row: Miss 1 st. 1 sc in each st to last st. Miss last st. Turn (39 sts in row). Break C.
Although, if you’re looking for legal satisfaction, don’t take your case to Judge Judy.
Join A and continue working 2 rows in each colour decreasing 1 st at end of each row to 5 sts in row, thus ending with 2nd row of B. Do not fasten off.

Next row: Ch 2. Miss 1st st. 1 hdc in each st to end of row. Turn.

Repeat last row until strap measures desired length to middle of back. See note on page 2...
Or just scroll up this page.
...then fasten off.
Judge Judy is likely to point at the photo above and yell at you, “What did you expect? That you could make a silk purse out of sow’s ear? Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining. Beauty fades, but dumb is forever!”
With right side of work facing, join B in 1st st of foundation ch. Ch 2. Miss 1st ch. 1 hdc in each of next 4 ch. Turn.

Continue as given for 1st strap to last row.

Last row: Ch 2. Miss 1st st. 1 hdc in next st. Ch 1. Miss 1st st for buttonhole. 1 hdc in each of last 2 sts. Fasten off.

With right side of work facing, join B in end of 1st row of 1st A stripe and work 1 row sc along edge to last stripe. Fasten off. Work 1 row sc along other edge.
Besides, do you really want millions of TV viewers to see you wearing a less than satisfactory, crocheted breastplate?
NECK BAND: With B, ch 70 sts. 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook. 1 dc in next ch. * 2 dc in next ch. 1 dc in each of next 2 ch. Repeat from * to end of ch. Fasten off.

With right side of work facing and using 2 strands of yarn, join B in back loop of st at top of centre stripe. Ch 3. Fasten off. Sew top of ch to back loop of centre st on neck band. Miss 1 st and join B in next st. Ch 5. Fasten off. Sew top of ch to corresponding st on neck band. Missing 1 st between each chain, work 2 more chains (one 7 ch long and one 9 ch long) and sew those to neck band in same manner.
For goodness sake, don’t “ch” when you should “chain”. If you do, you’ll be marooned in a nightmare world of psychedelic cartoons and silhouettes obsessed with phonics.
Work 3 chains of corresponding lengths on other side of centre stripe and sew to neck band (7 chains in all).
Okay, we’ve got the chains. Now where are the whips?
Press lightly, blocking to shape. Sew button to correspond to buttonhole on side strap. Sew button at end of neck band and use space between sts for buttonhole. Sew 6 buttons evenly spaced along centre stripe as illustrated.
These purely decorative buttons have no purpose other than to create the illusion that you could flash your breasts at will. In fact, between these naughty buttons and the multiple chains at the neck, this crochet pattern is kinda kinky.

Therefore, when crocheting up a superheroine breastplate, it’s important to remember that seventies summer fun could easily be mistaken for all season fetish wear. And whatever you do, don’t wear it to your court date.

ETA: Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 - Get the complete set!
Click here for the printable pattern.


  1. I love it too. The moment I saw it, I knew I had to buy that pamphlet.

  2. Maybe the breastplates were also used to protect t-shirts from ketchup, mustard, spaghetti/what-have-you slops. :p

    (Judge Judy: "Oh, you're already in therapy? Well, IT'S NOT WORKING!!")

  3. I guess they could be condiment catchers. I can't imagine any other way they'd be useful, which may explain why they never caught on. At least all of those tacky shrinks AKA potholder or granny square vests helped keep you warm as oil costs skyrocketed. These breastplates just... well, called attention to your breasts. And not in good way.

    Judge Judy is one of my guilty pleasures. I love how she cuts the ignorant and the entitled down to size.

  4. Um. I want to comment, but not sure what to say. :) Thanks for posting this, it's fun to see what I (gladly) missed.

  5. Thanks Debbi! I'm glad you're enjoying the bizarre fashions you missed the first time round.

    Although, I suspect no one had a real chance to miss these particular oddities. No one I know who remembers the 1970s saw these on an actual person. And I'm pretty sure breastplates would have been seared into my memory!