crafts · knitting · vintage books

New blog feature: A look at vintage

Over time I have gathered oodles of vintage pattern books, from the 1920s-1980s.  This past week I happened upon an enormous treasure trove of them at a thrift store (the results of a closed store in town) and thought I might like to start sharing them with you!  Most of these are easy to find on Ebay, should you feel an urge to knit any of the sweaters.

Today’s magazine comes from 1979 – 101 Sweaters Vol 12, produced by Woman’s Day magazine.  My grandma was a subscriber to Woman’s day, so I have inherited tons of these.   I sometimes think that the 70s get a bad rap – after all, it wasn’t all rainbow striped ponchos and macrame.   I love 70s sitcoms such as the Bob Newhart show and Mary Tyler Moore, and I often admire the clothing worn by the female characters.  Also, I was born in 1979, so it can’t be all bad!

This is my favorite sweater from the issue – other than the slightly blouson waist, I think it looks just like something that would show up in a magazine today.  I love the cowl neckline.

This lady, wearing a crocheted pullover with knitted accents (ie the entire neckline) looks more of her time.  Isn’t that scarf snazzy?  I love it, and kind of wish this sort of thing could make an occasional comeback.  If this sweater were from the 80s it would have had enormous dolman sleeves.

I think this sweater looks very much as though it could be featured in Vogue’s inevitible colorwork story.  Actually, it looks less crazy than that section often does.  It also looks cozy, and I’m down with the color combo and the pockets.

Of course, this magazine isn’t all ladies patterns.  Sometimes the man in your life needs…

a sweatercoat!  I think more men in my life need sweatercoats, although I really want to reach into the magazine and button those buttons!  I suppose men don’t really wear sweatercoats anymore.  In fact, I know very few who would even wear a sweater, making the scenario below unlikely.

I have books from the 50s on showing whole families wearing their matching sweater ensembles.  As a knitter I can only imagine the boredom of knitting this sweater three times.  As a former child I can only imagine the embarrassment of being forced out in public like this – is there anything more dork-a-riffic than matching family sweaters and hats (Dad seems to have put his foot down on the hat issue.)

Children often get the worst of things.

This child seems to instinctively realize the pain of wearing a crocheted sack.

This baby is being eaten by his hooded blanket.  This is also the least safe looking crib (is it a crib?) that I have seen in some time.

There aren’t too many ads in this one, since it’s a special issue, but there is one of note to me.

The top says “Momcat and pals” and you can send away for a kit to make one.  Apparently they are based on a comic by B. Kilban.  I had one of these as a child (the one with a kiss on his face.)  I wonder if someone made him for me?  Must ask Mom… she used to sew a lot.  I named him Gary (also my Dad’s name) and carried him everywhere.  I would love to have one now!

This ad is in many magazines of the time, but I just love it (don’t use woolite though, it’s not that great for things.)

I’ll try to be back next week with another book – maybe one of my lovely 1940s ones?  I enjoy the excuse to go through them!

21 thoughts on “New blog feature: A look at vintage

  1. Hi! I can’t even explain to you how I found your blog… but I’m glad I did. I loved this post especially the little baby dress with the stripes. My Gram and I were talking about making a baby dress for my little cousin and that one would be cute… maybe not striped though!

    I’m still getting the hang of WordPress after using Blogger for a while so I’m not sure how to add you to my feeds. But I’m sure gonna try!

    As I always say – Yarn Up!

  2. Good lord! Theres some absolute gems there. I did quite like the green one , and was thinking exactly “I would so wear that!:” but as for the rest…well..not so much I think! Thanks for the giggle

  3. Styles haven’t really changed too much, have they? Sleeves and hemlines, they were everywhere. Up, down, tight, huge. lol
    The baby is likely in a buggy, my parents had one with a similar front bar for us as infants.

  4. Thanks for the morning chuckles. I agree…looking thru these old magazines is great fun! It just proves that fashion eventually comes back around…

    Show us more, more, more!

  5. Love the vintage mags – keep em coming!

    Funny enough though, I actually own that one – got it at a used book/magazine store on Cape Cod a few years ago – I think the Momcats are my favorite! I remember them from when I was in middle school. And you know.. I think the vintage magazines of the past managed to stuff a lot more patterns in than the ones we get today!

  6. This made me chuckle 🙂 Love your comments on the guy sweaters!

    Are you familiar with “Workbasket”? Tiny little magazine with crafts and recipes that has probably been out of print for a while. I found some in my parents’ basement that used to belong to my grandmother. Some things are utterly dated and hilarious (decorations made with old tuna cans) and some things are quite nice (knitted sweaters, baby things, etc).

  7. I love it! And that’s a baby buggy, with a complete buggy ensemble (matching buggy blanket, sweater, and hat). Delightfully hideous! (And I agree with you about Vogue. I was horrified by most of the things in the most recent issue, and can only imagine what knitters of the future will think of us.)

  8. I see someone else beat me to it, but I remember my mom pushing my younger brother around in a “buggy” like the one in your post. That thing looked very unsafe and definitely wouldn’t pass muster now. I think there was a hood thing that went over it that was like a turquoise color.

    LOL on the men’s sweater coat. I can’t imagine that one on any guy I know. Jim will wear sweaters, but they need to meet very specific criteria.

  9. The guys always look SO dorky in old knitting books.

    A friend of mine in high school was a Bernat. Her mom used her as a model in some of their pattern books. It would be hilarious to dig up some of those! (They would be early 70s.)

  10. Please post some 1930-1940 pics! Love those decades. Thanks for such a fun and interesting blog to read and follow!

  11. Oh what a great new blog feature! I really love all things vintage. Thank you very much for sharing. It was great fun and I loved your comments. The family picture and the happy sweater man … hehe. The sad baby in the sack is really the best one.
    By the way I also like the first green sweater.
    I am looking forward to seeing more vintage pics next week. 40’s would be great!

  12. I had those cats on my sheets 🙂
    As awful as that crocheted sack is, it’s really pretty done all in one color! I’m sure there’s an aging p0rn star somewhere who would be happy to have that sweater coat…..

  13. We have twin size bedsheets of those cats, one set of a supercat flying with a cape, and one with a cat wearing tennis shoes. They are leftover from my husband’s youth. I had never seen them before and didn’t realize they were anything other than silly sheets!

  14. I have some very old baby patterns from my mom, your post reminded me about them. I should show pics on my blog too but they are very worn and creased looking, not sure how they’d photograph? These were some interesting knits, not sure I’d be tempted to knit any this day and age though 😉

  15. A note on the matching sweaters…when I was a child my family took lot of holidays in Wales. In honour of this my mother knitted us all (Mum, Dad, me and older brother) matching sweaters with a Welsh dragon on the front and the word ‘Wales’ underneath. Are the English not hated enough in Wales for my mother’s liking?

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