Deco Sweater Victory

Flashback Summer: 1930s Art Deco Sweater - vintage knitting

I have a love-hate relationship with knitting.  I love the possibilities for one-of-a-kind garments that knitting affords, and I ADORE the fact that knitted items don't need ironing and such.  HOWEVER… I am a slow knitter, and oftentimes I don't catch onto mistakes until I've knitted pretty far past it, or the fit just doesn't turn out right.  I'm still working on my skills.

Flashback Summer: 1930s Art Deco Sweater - vintage knitting

Flashback Summer: 1930s Art Deco Sweater - vintage knitting

This sweater is a mixed bag of both the good and bad parts of knitting.  There's a spot on the back where my stitch counting apparently got off, and the bottom ribbed band isn't as long as I'd like it to be because I thought I was running out of yarn.  (And then I found another ball of green yarn. After I cast all the stitches off. ACK.)  Since the band is a bit short, it comes up a bit when I move around.  I fixed this until I have the heart to permanently fix it by wearing a belt.  This anchors it nicely and holds it in place while still being very 30s appropriate.

But mostly, I love this sweater!  The lines are unique, the colors turned out well, and it has a definite Deco vibe to it.  This is the first sweater I've knitted in the round, and I did it on straight needles like the pattern called for.  I now see the perks of circular needles and will use them in the future, haha!  It totally works with straight ones, but mine really aren't long enough to do this sort of thing, and it seems to me that circular needles would just be easier to deal with.

Flashback Summer: 1930s Art Deco Sweater - vintage knitting

Flashback Summer: 1930s Art Deco Sweater - vintage knitting

Here are more specific pattern details for you knitters:
Yarn: KnitPicks Comfy fingering yarn, 75% cotton/25% acrylic, I believe I used four balls of "pea pod" green and six balls of "white"
Needles: 2.5 mm DPNs and 2.75 mm DPNs for ribbing
Pattern: "Corticelli Sweaters for Spring," Lillian sweater - (you can buy it here)
Year: 1930s
Notions: none
How historically accurate is it?  I think it's pretty accurate.  The pattern called for white and chartreuse yarn, but this green is still acceptable.  The fiber content isn't totally accurate I don't think, but it's mostly natural fibers
Any tricky parts to the pattern?  For me it was just keeping all the counting going correctly.  This is knit from the top down, so making sure my increases at the top were consistent then the pattern stitches at the bust and below were correct was the hardest part for me.
Did you change anything?  The pattern calls for long sleeves, but I made mine short.  The waistband is also about 1" shorter than it should be.
Time to complete: Months.  I'll be real.  I'm a slow knitter, and this is small yarn and small needles.  Long time.
First worn: November 3, 2015
Total cost: pattern was about $5, yarn about $40 = $45
Notes: This is a nice 30s pattern.  I'm guessing that for people with longer torsos than me, however, the wavy lacy pattern section would begin at a different place on the bust (like in the original pattern photo).  Be sure to measure if you want to try this pattern out!

Outfit Details

sweater: handmade by me
shoes & stockings: bought from a friend
60s/70s does 30s hat: pop up market in STL
1930s skirt: handmade by me, details coming soon!

I have knitting questions.  Where do you guys find the long (aka, not sock-sized) but smaller-sized needles required for knitting vintage patterns? Do you have any tricks for keeping track of your stitches?


  1. Well done! I just can't get into fingering weight yarn because of how long it takes to knit up! I'm not quite sure what you mean by "long" needles (I assume you mean dpns when you say "sock needles")--I buy the Clover/Takumi brand of bamboo needles. Amazon and Joann both carry them, and they come in a large variety of sizes and lengths from 0-15. I generally buy the 13-14" length because that seems to be the most useful. They also make decent circular needles. I prefer the bamboo needles to metal ones (although I haven't tried the carbon steel variety).

    As for keeping track of stitches. I use the safety-pin style stitch markers for a lot of counting, especially row counting. If it is a pattern repeat over a number of stitches, I just make hatch marks in my pattern at that section to keep track. You can get a row marker to keep on your needles (I have one from my gram) but I haven't used them. I mostly find a pen and paper is the best way to keep track. If I'm working on a pattern repeat and I can't read my knitting easily, I note what row I ended on before putting the knitting down. Having a little post it or scrap of paper near by is helpful.

    Hope that helps! Great job on the sweater--I hope to do color work someday!!

    1. Yeah, I definitely see the perks of circulars now! I'm looking for longer 13-14" straight needles, but I have trouble finding them in the very small sizes vintage sweaters usually call for (like 2 mm-3 mm).

      That is good insight for keeping track of stitches! I have a phone app and use a pencil and paper, but I do want to learn how to use stitch markers. I think it would be handy!

  2. Despite your frustrations, it came out really nicely! I love DPNs, but for large projects like this circulars are definitely convenient. I actually have the other three patterns from that booklet, but have yet to make any of them.

  3. You have such a perfect look for this 20s/30s style. Seriously, this is fabulous! I love the sweater, whatever frustrations may have been involved in it's construction, and the skirt and hat work perfectly with it.
    Knitting is one of those things that I've always meant to learn how to do, but I've never put the time in to do it. I've got nothing but respect for someone who can make themselves a sweater, no matter how long it takes.

  4. Love that shade of green! What a fab job you did xx

  5. Oh you look just darling! That sweater looks great, despite all your frustrations!

    Now to answer some knitting questions. I've found some long (I believe my longest are 14in) at JoAnns and Michaels, I've got some bamboo ones in some of the 'smaller' sizes. I also use circulars at their longest when I don't feel like accidentally hitting people on the trolley.
    I keep track of my stitches with post-it notes and small stitch markers. If its a stranded work, I use some washi tape, or a post-it right under the row I'm working on, same if it's got some simple pattern repeats.
    Hope that helps!

    Carla, Tiny Angry Crafts

    1. Are the ones at Joann long and smaller-sized (like 2-3mm)? I have trouble finding "vintage-sized" long needles. My local Joann doesn't have a lot of knitting stuff, though, so maybe I've just missed them there and online in my searches. I'll definitely check again!

    2. Yeah, I double checked, I got some bamboo circulars that are a 2.75mm. I looked on Joann website, and found these, which are online online, it seems.
      Here ya go!

      Oh! Are you on Ravelry? It's like an online knitting/crochet/fibre arts community. There are oodles of vintage patterns on there, and a good chunk of em are free.

  6. I love how this turned out! And that shade of green is one of my favorites. I give you so much credit for learning how to knit and for sticking with it. It's something I'd like to learn to do but know I will never have the time to sit and learn. I may have to try and bribe you with patterns and other vintage goodies to get you to make a sweater for me! lol!

  7. I wish I could knit this well! So cute.

  8. Such a darling sweater Emileigh! The stitch patterning and stripes are such a nice combo.
    And I just got a red hat similar to the one you are wearing in this post. How cool!


    the Middle Sister and Singer

  9. Holy cow!! I LOVE IT SO HARD! I have severe sweater envy. I tried knitting, and picked it up alright, but I marvel at your patience, and of course at the final product. SO CUTE!

  10. This is such a super cute jumper, I love it and have serious knitwear envy! I cannot knit at all, it just doesn't sit in my brain. Give me a sewing machine and I can produce most things but knitting is a mystery to me.

  11. Wonderful outfit! I love the longer length skirt and how elegantly it partners with this classic knit. The whole look is joyfully 1930s, as you were aiming for, and looks terrific on you, dear gal.

    ♥ Jessica

  12. This is such a lovely jumper, your knitting skills are looking pretty good to me! I like the colours and how you have styled it in this outfit.

  13. Lovely jumper and colour! I like the wavy stitch x

  14. I could spend hours reading your blog posts and looking at all your photos! Well done on this sweater. You are probably the only one who will see or know about your mistakes. Circular needles are terrific. DPNS are a little tricky with the bigger project. Can't wait to see more!