[The pattern for this particular sweater may be found here.]
Step 1: Terminology
Other words that will help to narrow a search are cardigan, crew-neck, pullover, lace, bolero, and shrug.
Step 2: Needle Sizes
My favorite decades are the 1940s and 50s, and vintage sweaters from these eras generally utilize very thin yarns and needles.
American needles use small numbers to describe small/thin needles. British needles are sized in the opposite direction. So, a size 0 needle in a British pattern would require bulky yarns and a size 0 needle in an American published pattern is very thin and delicate.
Step 3: Sizing
Another option is choosing a thinner or thicker yarn and a suitable needle size to make the existing pattern smaller or larger as needed.
Just make sure to calculate how those changes will affect the finished size of the garment!
Step 4: Charting
I find these incredibly helpful, so I make my own. Changing the prose instructions into a form that looks something like the actual knitting pattern helps me learn a new lace pattern so much more quickly!
Standard chart symbols include a dot to indicate a purl stitch and a circle to indicate a YO (yarn over). If there is a stitch I am not sure how to chart, I will pull out a contemporary pattern for hints.
HINT: Remember that these charts are read right to left for the odd numbered rows, and left to right on even rows.
Step 5: Buttons!
I like to use plastic rings from the home decorating section of my local fabric store for a solid base to start - this makes it easy to slide the button through the buttonhole.
Another vintage option is knitting a small square and stuffing it with yarn scraps before sewing it to the sweater in place of an actual button.