Twomax Dress

Photograph of knitted dress lying flat on table.
Blue Twomax shift dress with red belt, c.1960s. Private Collection. (Photograph by Isabella Wagner)

This is an example of a cut and sewn knitted garment made in the 1960s from synthetic yarn and available from department stores throughout the UK. It was manufactured by the Twomax company, which operated from a factory on the south side of Glasgow. The style represents the simple shapes and bold colours that were favoured in the 1960s and popularised by Mary Quant and Biba, amongst others.

Synthetic yarns were fashionable during the 1960s – both for manufactured knitted garments and for use in home knitting. These yarns were considered a very modern and desirable alternative to natural fibres and only acquired their connotation of ‘cheap and cheerful’ at a later date.

Photograph of garment label.
Twomax garment label (Dress in private collection, photograph by Isabella Wagner)

This Twomax dress is cut and sewn – a method of production adopted by several knitwear manufacturers because of its flexibility and versatility. It was a standard method of production used by the clothing industry, in which garments were cut from fabric before being stitched together with the sewing machine.

Knitted fabric is generally a single thread construction, which means it can unravel easily. In order to prevent unravelling of raw edges, the overlocker was invented for the hosiery industry in the late nineteenth century. The overlocker was used by manufacturers of knitted underwear – machine knitted outerwear only became popular in the early 1900s – to overedge the cut edges of garment pieces to prevent fraying during production and wear.