Instructables

Vintage Knitting Pattern Tips and Tricks

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For a truly authentic vintage knitwear look, you just cannot beat a vintage pattern.  And there are hundreds of these patterns available online for free!  A quick search in the Ravelry database, or even Google will yield an amazing number of gorgeous possibilities.

[The pattern for this particular sweater may be found here.]


 
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Step 1: Terminology

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One thing to keep in mind is terminology.  For instance, substitute "jumper" for "sweater" in a google search, and British vintage patterns will jump to the top of the list.

Other words that will help to narrow a search are cardigan, crew-neck, pullover, lace, bolero, and shrug.

Step 2: Needle Sizes

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Something to be aware of is British vs. American needle sizes.  When in doubt, check the mm measurements and make sure that the gauge and yarn size makes sense.

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

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Quite a few vintage knitting patterns come in one size.  With the exception of intricate lace pattern repeats, these are generally easy to size up by calculating gauge and adding or subtracting to or from the initial cast on.

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!