Some 1930s advice on knitwear

Baby, it's cold outside! Here's some advice from my 1938 The Bride's Book.

Sweaters and Knitted Frocks
These are a great comfort for sports as well as for travelling, for they do not crease or get out of press as other clothes do. But they cannot be selected at random any more than other items of the wardrobe.
Suppose we begin with sweaters, and discuss them in relation to our various types of brides. Will a knitted pull-over or sweater suit the tall girl? It will - provided! Provided in the first place that it has a longish V-neckinstead of a high, round collar; and provided in the second place that it reaches a bit below the waist, with a contrast in colour to the skirt. The element that creates a broken line between head and skirt hem helps to give the tall figure the illusion of a more normal height. Skirt and sweater, of opposing tones, will do this. If, however, it is desired for some readon, that the skirt and sweater match, then the long line this would give can be broken by means of a wide leather belt of a contrasting shade, and a short silk scarf to match the belt. In this way the same height-reducing effect can be accomplished.
The short girl - yes, she can wear a sweater or pull-over, but it should match her skirt, and it should have a high, rounded neck, or even a turtle neck or ribbed collar. To make her look her tallest it should not be finished off with a ribbed band which pulls in at the waist line or just below but, on the contrary, it should fall quite straight, and it should end at her hips.
The plump girl, however, must approach the slip-on woolly or sweater with caution. This type of garment has a tendency to cling to the figure and emphasis its curves. For this reason the plump girl will not be at her best in a sweater. She may, however, wear a knitted jacket or cardigan. It should not be fastened but should hang unbuttoned, in order to create a straight, slim-making line. Also the wool should be fairly light in weight, because if it is heavy it will add unwanted bulk or breadth. The sweater for the thin figure should fit well - not too loosely - and it should be of a rather heavy weave. Its colour and line, as well as the length, would depend on the height of the wearer.
Both the tall and short girl may also wear the knitted jacket or cardigan, but for the former it should reach below the hips, while for the latter it should be barely hip length.

So there you have it. Knitwear, I'm doing it wrong - by 1938 standards, at any rate. I strongly suspect we are all doing it wrong by 1938 standards. I thought it would be fun for you to read nonetheless.


  1. Indeed, it was fun. In fact, I read old (very old) magazines and patterns like novels.

  2. This was an fun and interesting read. I love reading old magazines too, they do turn up some real gems.

  3. Vintage Knitter, I havbe a few old magazines too, but this was a real gem - a 1938 book aimed at brides who, I presume, were from homes that 25 years earlier would have had staff, and whose parents might still have staff, but would themselves have to cope with only a 'daily' and would have to manage all sorts of things for themselves. It's like a 'How to be Middle Class in 1938' guidebook, with everything from choosing clothes and colours to home entertaining and decorating. I love it!

  4. Oops! I appear to be doing it all wrong as well. Oh well, never mind!!

  5. What a great looking read! I love the advice in '30s and '40s books and magazines :)


Post a Comment

Popular Posts