"Vintage Design Workshop: Knitting Techniques for Modern Style" Book Review

Flashback Summer: "Vintage Design Workshop:  Knitting Techniques for Modern Style" by Geraldine Warner book review

As those of you that have been following Flashback Summer for a while know, I've had an ongoing desire to learn to knit clothing, especially vintage clothing.  You would also know that it has definitely been an up and down process, most recently ending in a Knit For Victory 2013 failure in which I planned to knit this cardigan and ended up with a mess of a cardigan that was way too wide, too short, and had unintentionally leg-o'-mutton-ish sleeves.  After spending a ridiculously long time knitting with such high hopes, it was a devastating time.

However, I plucked up the courage and will to try again, this time vowing to equip myself with the knowledge of how to actually 1.) knit garments well and 2.) knit vintage garments.

After exploring and researching for some good books, I found Vintage Design Workshop by Geraldine Warner.

When it arrived in the mail, I immediately tore it open, and over Christmas break I read it from cover to cover, intrigued and sucked in by every page.  (This is especially amazing considering it's an instructional book!)  Inside is everything a knitter would need to know about recreating vintage patterns, things like:

- Colors used in vintage clothing during certain time periods, and why
- types of yarn used and modern equivalents
- needle conversion charts
- patterns for several kinds of sleeves, collars, colorwork, etc.
- how to change vintage pattern sizes
- different methods of altering patterns for design and fit goals
- a list of extra resources in the back

Flashback Summer: "Vintage Design Workshop:  Knitting Techniques for Modern Style" by Geraldine Warner book review

Truly, I went from having made one ugly knit-stitch-only, rectangle-shaped sweater and this giant flop of a sweater (Notice how it's all weirdly textured?  That's because I didn't realize what a stockinette stitch was and knit stitched everything except the ribbing.  Yes, it was bad):
Flashback Summer: "Vintage Design Workshop:  Knitting Techniques for Modern Style" by Geraldine Warner book review

 And after reading Vintage Design Workshop, to this one:
Flashback Summer: "Vintage Design Workshop:  Knitting Techniques for Modern Style" by Geraldine Warner book review

My first completed, pretty, vintage reproduction 1940s sweater!
(I plan to wear this for graduation, so there will be more pictures soon!)

The book answered pretty much all of my questions and helped me solve the problems I had encountered in my failed sweater (that is, wrong needle sizes.  And yarn sizes.  And no knowledge).  I also learned how to read and chart knitting patterns and estimate finished measurements.  I felt entirely equipped by this book, and I think the results speak for themselves!

The only thing I felt the book was missing was more instructions on seaming knitted pieces together.  It lists different methods and which ways are good for what kinds of pieces being joined, but there were no actual instructions on how to do it.  However, I did discover that in the list of extra resources in the back it provided helpful websites to answer these questions.  I appreciated that.

I also love this book for its reference value.  It has SO MANY things in it that can be applied to all projects, and I know I'll be using it in the future.  I also love that it has a wealth of different collar, cuff, and sleeve patterns that I can use in case I'd like to mix and match one day!

Many would also ask about a book versus just discovering things on the internet.  I would say this book is definitely worth the money to buy versus searching on the web because of its time-saving inclusiveness.  You don't have to search a few websites looking for the right tutorial or sift through unhelpful posts.  Everything in this book is tried and true, and most of it (including sleeve patterns, etc.) include amazing, detailed photos that illustrate the concepts in the book.  It is a lot of high quality information all in one place.  Not to mention, it's a book and its batteries won't die in the middle of a knitting crisis.

Overall, I highly recommend this book to both beginners and advanced knitters.  It's an easy read that is delightfully interesting for a how-to!  Beginners can benefit from the basic knowledge included, and advanced knitters can benefit from the patterns in the book.  Advanced knitters just diving into the world of vintage knitting would also find this book useful for its vintage-specific content on things like yarn types, era trends, and needle conversions.

Not to mention, for under $20 this book has opened up a whole new world of clothing options to me and saved me a ridiculous amount of hours wasted on accidentally balloon-sleeved epic fails.  Very worth it.

If you'd like to find out more, you can buy and preview the book here on the Interweave website!

I have not collaborated with the author or publisher of this book for this post.  I bought it with my own moolah, and the opinions expressed are all mine!


  1. I've thought about getting this book. I love knitting, but have yet to tackle anything other than an accessory. I tried to get it through my library just to see how I'd like it, but it never came in. :-( I'll be checking out amazon for it now.

  2. What a seriously big transformation. Honestly, that would sell me on the book alone. Really fantastic job! I'm so happy that this book helped you so immensely and can't wait to see even more snaps of your beautiful new sweater.

    ♥ Jessica

  3. This looks like a great book! Your new jumper looks great.

  4. Your sweater looks awesome! Great job!
    I'm adding that book to my Amazon wish list. Thanks for reviewing it.

  5. Wow! This may be the book that could propel me into the knitting world. I have learned to knit once....very basic, but I learned. I might be able to again!

    1. That's where I was at, too! I knew ONLY the knit stitch, and since last summer have added the basic skills of purl, adding and decreasing stitches, and-for this pattern- a twisty kind of stitch. It's totally possible, and not too hard to pick up with the right tools!

  6. So good!
    This sweater looks comfy but most of all is really élégant. I like this association of it With your Matte Brown lipstick, and the brick Wall behind.

    1. Thank you very much, Lorna!
      I also checked out your blog, and I am loving your makeup and hair! It looks fantastic every post!

  7. I just started knitting/ vintage knitting myself and this book would have a huge help. Surfing the net for one small problem does seem to take forever. So excellent review, thank you.
    Your pink sweater, super cute!

  8. Ok. I need this book. I have a vague idea about how to knit but nothing more and I'm too confused by it all to start trying. So thank you very much for introducing me to this book!

  9. I have that book! I LOVE so many of the patterns, but have yet to find time to knit a single item. :-/ I am so impressed that you knitted the sweater for graduation. It turned out perfectly and the color looks great on you. :)