Friday, July 18, 2014

A Feather-weight blouse, c. late 1930s (Sun-Glo Knitting Book 41, for Matrons)

Ah, the good old 'matron' sized knitting patterns - normally really lovely knits, but styled on frumpy women. Sun-Glo Book 41 comes from the late 1930s (probably 1938-39) as it's not yet printed to war economy standard.

This 6th Curvy Month pattern is actually a really lovely piece of knitting, but the styling leaves a bit to be desired (so feel free to gloss over that).

free vintage knitting pattern 1940s stitch in time 1930s plus size large 38 40 42 sweater jumper blouse

The body is knit in moss-stitch, with a 'Frost Flowers' lace panel running up the centre front and back. (According to Barbara Walker, this is a deceptively easy lace stitch). The lace sleeves are puffed, and the neckline is finished with a pointed collar and bow.

This pattern is definitely going on my Must-Do list! I would love to see it in bright yellow, or acid green.

Size for a 38/40 and 40/42 inch bust. Requires fingering weight yarn and 3.25mm and 2mm needles, and I hope you like it!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Curvy Month Pattern: Diagonal Cropped Cardigan, early 1940s

I was recently lucky enough to get my hands on some early 1940's Vogue Knitting Books and spotted some plus size knits in one of them.

This little cropped cardigan is from Vogue's 24th Knitting Book (1943 perhaps?). The front has a diagonal stripe pattern that looks really interesting - simple to knit as well.

1940s war era free vintage knitting pattern plus size vogue's 24th knitting book

I really like the shorter fit on this one too - everyone should be accentuating their waists, not hiding them!

Finished size of 38 inches, knit in fingering or light fingering yarn on 3.25mm and 2.75mm needles.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Curvy Month Pattern: Spring Song blouse, circa 1950s (Copley's 2001A)

"This trim charmer has quiet elegance and is high-score fashion."

This sweet little blouse would be perfect with those pencil skirts or capris - not to mention it looks like a quick and easy knit. I personally would knit it in a cotton or cotton-blend, for a nice summer top.

Available to fit a 34", 37" and 40" bust.
Requires fingering weight yarn, on 3.75mm and 2.75mm needles.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Curvy Month Pattern: Noreen yoked jumper, c.1940s

Today's free vintage knitting pattern comes from Patons Knitting Book No.188, circa late 1940s.

I'm really drawn to this design - I love a contrasting yoke pattern, and rib is nearly always a flattering stitch for a larger person. The shoulder pads give the illusion of smaller hips (I think).


To fit a 36-38 inch bust, Noreen is knitted on fingering weight yarn, using 3.25mm needles.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Curvy Month Pattern: Don't Overlook Nanette, c. 1948

From a killer 1950s jumper - to practical (yet interesting) 1940s lace cardigan from Patons Knitting Book No. 293.
free knitting patterns 1940s patons

A quick look might dismiss this cardigan as boring - but it has some great design elements that we all love: a peter pan collar, slim fit and lace panelling. Make you check out the close up of the lace pattern - it looks really interesting!

To fit a 35-36 in bust and 37-38 inch bust. Requires fingering weight yarn on 3mm and 2.25mm needles.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Curvy Month Pattern: High Fashion, circa 1950s

Welcome to Curvy Month! A month of free vintage knitting patterns in larger sizes, for the curvy knitter.

To start us off, here is a very fashionable jumper with a killer fifties fit from 'Twinprufe High Fashion for Larger Sizes'.

free vintage knitting patterns 1950s xl 38 40 42

The jumper has the fabulous addition of taffeta ribbon to the neckline (ooh la la) but you could achieve the same effect with some nicely hemmed, stiff fabric.

In three sizes, 38", 40" and 42", and knitted using fingering weight yarn on 2mm and 3mm needles.
(to open a larger copy, right click the image and select 'open in a new tab')

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Tutorial 1: Changing the 'Smooth Sailing' Blouse - Puffy Sleeves

My favourite, go-to shirt pattern has to be 'Smooth Sailing' from Wearing History.

I have used the pattern a whopping ten times - so often, that I don't even blog about them anymore! It always works, looks flattering and doesn't take a lot of fabric.

But how about some changes for something interesting? Over the few weeks, I'll share some easy pattern variations I've made - including a 1940's pocket design and full length bishop sleeves.

But first - changing an existing sleeve to a full Puffy Sleeve is very easy - and I'll show you my quick and dirty way to do it!

The Smooth Sailing (SS) sleeve is gathered (puffed) at the top, and fitted around the bicep. My variation is slightly different by also being puffed around the bicep, and gathered into a sleeve band.

I'm actually following the steps here, View C from Dress Design, Draping and Flat Pattern Making by Hillhouse and Mansfield (circa 1948) - right click to embiggen in a new tab:

(I'm going to assume that you already know how to sew and are comfortable with basic pattern adjustments).

The SS sleeve already has the puffiness allowance at the top, so we only need to add it to the bottom.

Step 1: trace out a copy of the SS sleeve onto something that you can cut - I like plain interfacing as it doesn't tear. Make sure you transfer all markings.
 Mark five lines top to bottom, fairly evenly apart (you don't have to be 100% accurate as the puff allows some fudging).

Step 2: Cut the lines from the bottom of the sleeve, to the top. Don't cut through the last 2mm as you still want them to be barely attached.

Spread the slashes apart your desired distance. In my sleeves, I did 3/4 of an inch per slash, but the choice is yours.

Step 3: Trace around the outside of the pattern, and transfer the original pattern markings/notches.

Step 4: Now you need to add a puff allowance to the bottom. If you don't add this to the centre bottom of the sleeve, they won't puff properly. 

Mark a spot along the bottom in the exact centre at least 1.5 inches away from the original sleeve edge (The Design and Draping book suggests 2 inches). Carefully draw a curved line from one edge, down to the new spot, and back up to the other side.
Fold pattern down the middle to find the new straight grain line.

Step 4: Measure around your bicep for the sleeve band - make sure you add at least half an inch ease.

The band will be cut on the bias then folded down the middle, so make sure you factor that in.

I.e. I wanted a band that was 2cm high. So my finished depth was 2cm + 2cm + seam allowance on both edges = finished depth of 7cm.
My band length was 35cm + seam allowance = 38cm long.

Step 5 : Your new puff sleeve pattern is complete!

To finish the lower edge of the sleeve:
- sew the band's shorter edges together.
- sew side seams of the sleeve
- gather the lower edge of the sleeve, starting and finishing about an inch away from the side seam
- sew the band to the gathered edge (right sides together), adjusting gathers to fit nicely
- fold the seam allowance down on the other long edge, and stitch onto the wrong side of the sleeve (I like stitch-in-a-ditch here)


1940's rayon I've been saving for this style of blouse

I hope that made sense, and if you have any questions let me know!

Coming up - Tutorial 2: An Interesting Pocket Design.