Sunday, 25 May 2014

Trying to choose a vintage knitting pattern

A collection of vintage Stitchcraft knitting magazines from the 1950s
I am very tempted by that little pink blouse, and the blue twin set...
It’s been a while since I got the pink/grey top off the needles, and I’ve been happily working on a fair isle hat I started months ago, all the while thinking about what my next vintage knitting project should be. You can see some of the patterns I'm considering here.

I keep banging on to everyone about how useful it is to keep a spreadsheet of what you wear in order to get a good idea of personal style - I started one last year, when I was in a style rut, and it was a real revelation seeing what I wore, and what I could try to get more wear out of. For all that I’ve spent on vintage and repro clothing (less than a lot of people who are into vintage clothing, but enough to make me feel extravagant), it turns out that the garments that get worn most often and so have the most impact on my everyday look are my woollies. They even get plenty of wear in warmer weather, when coats get replaced with cardigans.

This does leave me with a dilemma: I'm not sure whether to knit the vintage patterns I’ve fallen in love with, including some splendid 1940s fair isles, or knit things that fit in with the eras I wear most often - late 50s Mad Men/The Hour styles for work, and Jazz Age at other times. I’m currently trying to find patterns that I love that fit into ‘my’ time zones, because that will stop me looking quite such a hotchpotch. It’s fun to browse through old copies of Stitchcraft and Vogue Knitting, seeing what would work in my wardrobe (with a bit of crafty resizing) and what wouldn’t.

1950s vintage knitting patterns
These tops would get a lot of wear at work
Weirdly, though I don't mind some 1960s clothing styles, after flicking through some old magazines I decided pretty quickly that the knitwear wasn't for me, and mid-late 50s was more my sort of thing as far as woollies go. It's not so much the boxy shapes, more the fact that the 1950s patterns have prettier details and more distinctive features.

Part of me thinks I should knit a summer top, perhaps from a lightweight cotton yarn like Rowan Siena, though I do have a pack of black wool 4ply to use up, and keep mulling over turning it into It Cannot Fail To Please from A Stitch in Time vol 1 - I should probably be sensible and make something that uses the yarn I've already got, rather than something that requires new yarn. In the mean time, it's just lovely to shuffle through those old magazines and day dream...

On the subject of making things, Mr Robot and I have started a joint food blog, Greedybots. It was mainly to make use of his beautiful food photography, and there's not much vintage-relevant stuff on there, but I'm going to try to do a retro recipe every once in a while. Also, Margaret, who used to blog at Penny Dreadful Vintage, now has a blog called Cinestylography devoted to clothes in film - it's really good, do check it out.


  1. I love that time where you look through patterns and magazines deciding what to knit next. The ones you have shown are lovely. I think making something to go with what you already have is a good plan. I have been looking through my summer tops patterns as I have several vintage skirts but no tops to go with them. That is my next project.

  2. Whichever you decide I'll look forward to seeing the finished article.

    I have recently been drooling over the clothes on the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries which I have become hooked on.
    Not to mention my friend sending me a link to Ivey Abitz clothing, oooh, I love it!
    Just up my street when not wearing vintage, but Lord above, the prices!!!!!