Retrofitting Vintage

4 Fabulous 1940s Sweaters to Knit for Fall

The very hint of fall makes me want to dig in deep to new projects, the cozier the better. Right now I’m captivated by 1940s sweaters.

Autumn is a great time to take on more complex projects, with little needles and skinny yarn. These projects can keep you warm while you’re knitting them, as they slowly grow over your lap. Then, they keep you warm when you wear them. They’re pretty much useful from the get-go.

The following sweaters patterns are all from the 1940s, arguably the best decade for knitwear, and they’re all fueling my fall fantasies.

Of course, indulging knitting fantasies is how you end up with too much yarn. If I were a reasonable and entirely pragmatic person, I would work on things one at a time. I would not buy yarn for things six items down the line. I would not currently have the supplies to make FIVE more sweaters before I needed any more yarn, for example.

But here’s what happens. I look at a pattern. I start fantasizing about colors. I inevitably end up at KnitPicks, and somehow, there’s always a good sale, and then…I have more yarn.

This post contains affiliate links for KnitPicks Palette, from which I receive a small commission. However, I am a ridiculous fan of this yarn, and wouldn’t promote it if I wasn’t. It’s really good for 1940s knitting because it comes in a bazillion colors, the weight usually lands me in the right gauge for those elusive vintage yarns the patterns were designed for, and the quality is good, especially for the price.

So here are 4 free vintage knitting patterns for 1940s sweaters, graciously shared by knitters across the Internet, accompanied by my color fantasies.

The Patterns

All of these patterns are online and free.

1. Lumberjack Sweater, Bernhard Ullman Volume 7

A jaunty 1940s lady leans against a fence. She wears a ribbed knit cardigan with large buttons, a fitted waist and small square breast pockets, along with side-buttoned slacks. 1940s sweater.
Those pockets are cute, but not very useful.

This is clearly a 1940s sweater, but I think it could look quite modern, depending on color and styling. It has a slightly military vibe, that makes me picture it in a dark or olive green, like Fair Isle Twinset, Stitchcraft Magazine October 1945

An edition of Stitchcraft magazine, October 1945. A woman with red hair and bright red lips stands modeling a light blue twinset with a black or navy snowflake or floral motif with stripes.
Twinset for the win set?

This is really pretty. It’s a good demonstration of how striking a two-color stranded pattern can be, with all the attention going to the intricacy of the colorwork.

Speaking of colors, I think this would be adorable for someone who isn’t me, and thus, wears yellow, in Palette“> Silver and Currant.

Montrose, by Patons

A smiling woman with dark hair, wearing a high contrast fair isle sweater with a small repeating pattern on the body, and irises on the yoke.
These irises are killing me.

It has IRISES. I love them. I’d do this in black and white withYour Victory Jumper, Home Notes

A copy of Home Notes with a young woman using the telephone on the cover, looking very 1940s, wearing a sweater with elbow-length sleeves and a red, white, and blue ripple lace pattern.
You know she’s talking about that sweater.

Brought to us by the V&A, this is a classic WWII British knitting pattern. It’s quite popular among vintage knitting enthusiasts, there are more than 200 projects on Ravelry. While one could stick with the patriotic red, white, and blue (so conveniently the colors of several Allies), I think it would be equally nice in Black, White, and Rose Hip. Ice cream pastels would be quite cute, too, as in Pistachio, Cotton Candy, and Cream.

Get Knitting

Which one is your favorite? What are you working on, knitting or otherwise, these shortening days?

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links, I am paid a commission at no extra cost to you. Read the whole disclosure here. Thanks!

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