What comes around goes around…and comes back around again

Aaronknits's picture

A week or two ago I saw a young woman sporting a beehive hairdo. This woman was maybe in her mid 20’s and it wasn’t any disheveled Winehouse-esque look either. She was quite well dressed and her beehive was well done and perfectly in place. It sparked a brief discussion amongst the person I was with about fashion trends that have come and gone over the decades and some that have come back again. Acid wash jeans, leg warmers, the peasant skirt, and of course bell bottoms all came to mind.

Then on Friday I was given a book of men’s sweater patterns that was published in 1940.

The photographs in this collection of vintage classics are hysterical, as are the names of the sweater patterns. But the more I looked at the actual sweaters, the more I realized that there was nothing about the garments themselves, other than maybe the fitting, that has really ever gone out of style for men. I guess they've never really left and that’s why they call them classics.

The sweaters range from V neck and crew neck pullovers, vests, cardigans, and even a turtle neck. Most are done in a simple stockinette with ribbing at the bottom and on the cuffs, and some patterns have simple textures like basic cables or all over ribbing. But the one thing I couldn’t figure out was why the bottom band of so many of the sweaters is folded up. It looks funny.

The book was put out by Chadwick’s Red Heart Wools. Yes, Red Heart, the company name that for much of anyone’s recent memory has been synonymous with awful acrylic. They are trying to remake their image though, with the help of Debbie Stoller of Stitch N Bitch fame and a new line of natural fiber yarns. The patterns all seem pretty well written and easy to follow with measurements to block the sweater pieces to.

If you’re interested in getting a copy of this classic collection of classics, you can probably find one for sale on eBay, Etsy, or Amazon. I’m pretty sure you won’t pay the cover price though!

Comments

bobinthebul's picture

To quote the inimitable

To quote the inimitable Shirley Q. Liquor,

"To each their own, as it says in the Bible. Or did read that in the Enquirer?"

scottly's picture

I love the models and the

I love the models and the poses especially "North and South" the boat neck vest with opera glasses. Were men just narrower in then - I've neve seen such narrow shouldered men. I've been picking up vintage patten books as well and have found some really interesting stuff.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

I think I may have some of

I think I may have some of those patterns in my collection of oldies. [I may even have that particular book.] Except for sizing issues, most of them are fairly classic looks that are useful today.

I remember Red Heart when it was always good quality wool yarn and fairly decent acrylic - when acrylic was first developed. Then the company was gobbled up by a megacorporation that only wanted to cash in on the reputation. [Some things never change.] Several buyouts later, they are now trying to reclaim former glory. I hope they do so.

That boat collar [slit at the neck] if memory serves, was used for beginner sweaters and was more common for casual wear and women's designs, showing a French influence. I've never felt drawn to it myself. And the turned up ribbing may have a purpose but I can't think of any mentioned in the patterns themselves.

I find it fun to look at these older pattern collections. Sometimes you get inspiration for new projects...I once adapted a rib pattern for mittens into a pair of socks that have been well received. In fact, I should knit a new pair - those others are wearing out.

If you are actually looking

If you are actually looking for old copies of these patterns you will probably have more luck if you search under Patons. The book was originally published by them. They even did some updated versions of this pattern in their anniversary pattern book.

If you do find one, an are into hats, the best single hat pattern I have ever used is called "The Gaspe". Easy to make and very practical.

I have made several patterns from this book but usually have to adapt them to a larger size.

If you are actually looking

If you are actually looking for old copies of these patterns you will probably have more luck if you search under Patons. The book was originally published by them. They even did some updated versions of this pattern in their anniversary pattern book.

If you do find one, an are into hats, the best single hat pattern I have ever used is called "The Gaspe". Easy to make and very practical.

I have made several patterns from this book but usually have to adapt them to a larger size.

bobinthebul's picture

Well, the neck on that last

Well, the neck on that last one might not be in style any more! It looks kind of like he cut slits in a garbage bag and put it on. :)

Oh, and speaking of beehives:

Tom Hart's picture

Well, bladdersack, flapjack,

Well, bladdersack, flapjack, fatback, flatulary mugwump!

smalltownknitguy's picture

I rather like the neck on

I rather like the neck on that sweater. it is retro chic and others have seen it on a few recent patterns as well.

AKQGuy's picture

Actually i've been perusing

Actually i've been perusing mens sweater patterns for awhile now actively looking for one for me and there have been several newer patterns with that neck. And by newer I mean published/desiggned from 2008-2011. Granted I don't care for it but it seems to have a certain "young grungy" following.