Vintage Knitting, Retro Dressmaking, Make do and Mend, Original and Vintage Inspired Knitting Patterns, Vintage Inspired books

Friday, March 21, 2008

Vintage Textiles

With the last post being so wordy, this post is going to be mainly visual. From a completed projects point of view I don't have much I can share right now. However, a couple of days ago I went to a Vintage Fashion and Textiles fair in Liverpool and had, after having several button crisis' recently, given myself a button budget to have a stock up. I've found lately that all I seem to have are odd buttons, mainly as I always buy an extra button in case I lose one, so keep getting left with single buttons.

The fair was great for button buying; I bought predominantly vintage including a gorgeous bakalite belt buckle. I also found some great vintage patterns which seem intact - you can never be quite sure but I can usually make the missing pieces up.

Here we go...













These are just bags of allsorts of mixed buttons but are so useful to have.




I also found these two needlework magazines - I love the knitting projects in both of them, but I think I like the blue cabled cardigan best, or do I? Oh, I don't know they're both lovely.



Hope everyone has a lovely Easter

for now
Ruby xx


Gudrun Johnston said...

Oh my!...I'm so jealous of your buttons...I've literally just started a collection vintage ones yet though!

Lauren Hairston said...

The buttons are gorgeous and I just love the patterns! I'm crafting vicariously through you!

modelwidow said...

The needlework magazines must be lovely to look through - can't quite imagine DD and I in those cardis though -but then again she is 15!

Adrienne said...

OH !I LOVE those buttons!!!!!!! ESPECIALLY the red and white ones!!!!!

Robin said...

Wow! I love all of those buttons!

Jox said...

a bit of button envy going on, love them.

Anonymous said...

Do you find that the vintage patterns are lacking when compared to modern? (I thrifted some 1960's & 1970's knitting patterns last week.)

By lacking, I mean that techniques like knitting in the round don't seem to be used. And a particular yarn might be listed, but the pattern won't identify 'worsted weight' for example.


Just call me Ruby said...

Hi Jora,

You've raised a couple of interesting points there.

Historically printed patterns were predominantly published by yarn manufacturers and as such they wanted you to purchase their yarn. Therefore alternatives weren't offered as they expected the consumer to buy the recommended yarn. We are in a very fortunate situation these days that designers are able to publish their designs directly and not rely on a yarn manufacturer to do so. It also accounts for why most patterns from the past do not have the designer's name on them.

Also on this point, yarn companies were not global. For example, Sirdar sold in the UK but not elsewhere, and there were only a limited number of yarn companies in the market place, so they knew that on the whole people could obtain them.

Considering the point of not using techniques such as knitting in the round:

This is indeed the case in the 60's and 70's - certainly in the UK at least. There tended to be a format for knitting patterns which involved front, back and two sleeves. These types of patterns are easier to write and grade (size) - bear in mind there were no CAD programmes to help tech editing. There was a trend towards 'simplifying' knitting and keeping techniques to a minimum. Finishing off is something else, that until the last few years, was barely ever touched on in a pattern.

Going back further again to the 30's and 40's - my favourite era - patterns were often very complicated and assumed a certain level of skill from the knitter, which again meant that some things were left unsaid. Patterns were predominantly published in weekly magazines, used yarns easily available, which all tended to be of standard weights - mainly 2, 3 & 4 ply yarns, and occasionally DK. There were severe yarn shortages in this period due to the war so garments tended to be made from fine yarns as they go further, short sleeves rather than long, shorter bodies to take less yarn. Patterns, as I have said, were released EVERY week, and yet were still complex so often using a basic formula of front back and sleeves made life much easier for the poor, unmentioned 'pattern writer' - not designer.

I hope this goes some way to explaining how lucky we are now to have the diversity of designers and patterns that we do and also how lucky we are to have the internet as it has made this diversity available to us all.

Ruby xx

p.s. I'm going to post this as a seperate blog as I think you raised some really good points.