Book Review – Pretty In Punk


Pretty In Punk
Alyce Benevides and Jacqueline Milles

Make stuff. It comes up every year at this time, one of the regular resolutions – be more crafty, make more stuff. DIY, y’know? And as far as resolutions go, it’s not a bad one. You get the sense of accomplishment of making something with your own hands, you get a cool, thing, made exactly to your measurements and specifications, and you (probably) save some money over buying a similar thing in a store.

I picked up Pretty In Punk on a whim. It came up in a library search and I grabbed it thinking it would be a good chuckle. Published in 2007, it caught that first wave of young hipsters who had started to learn the craft skills they were never taught as kids (as opposed to Gen X – most of whom could at least do some basics because we still had Home Ec and industrial arts when we were in school).

Created by Alyce Benevides and Jacqueline Milles, Pretty In Punk includes patterns for items from their popular Knit-Head line and shop, including their signature Punk’s Not Dead earflap hat with fringe mohawk.


The patterns are diverse – from a variety of mostly earflap and aviator hats to purses, ties, scarves and armbands, there is something here for pretty much every freak or weirdo. Garment patterns tend to run to standard sizes, so plus size knitters who want to make The Swindle (a replica of the black and green mohair sweater made famous by Johnny Rotten), or the pretty knit corset or chunky yarn dress, are going to have to get out rulers and calculators and redraft the pattern to fit. (Which is still, sadly, pretty much par for the course with any garment project that is not specifically plus size).

As well, nine years later, some of the projects are a bit dated – who wears bum flaps anymore? However most of the items such as armwarmers would translate reasonably well to a modern wardrobe. Even if you don’t have the chutzpah to wear a knit mohawk hat, many of the aviator-style caps evoke a fun 1920s style that could be reworked into a retro Miss Fisher look.

While there are a few easy projects, Pretty In Punk is geared more towards moderately experienced knitters. Many patterns feature intarsia (the process of inter-knitting various colours of yarn to create a picture, such as the Union Jack hat on the cover), which requires the knitter to be very organized, able to closely follow a pattern, and have a very consistent gauge (tightness) to their stitches.

Benevides and Milles have even written pattern instructions out in full so it’s easier to follow along than the cryptic shorthand of traditional knitting patterns, which should make the projects easier to complete for people with less advanced skills.

This is still a relevant pattern collection for anyone looking for some novelty punk or Goth projects.

This article originally appeared on Still Weird Zine.