I have recently been re-visiting the complete box set of Mad Men and have been revelling in the mid-century styling of everything from the glasses they (constantly) drink from, to the structured body shaping of their expertly tailored clothing and their elaborate hair dos. Whilst fossicking in recent weeks I’ve spent some time looking at the vintage knitting patterns and feature a selection of those I’ve picked up below.
Growing up in the 60s and 70s, I would accompany my Mum to the wool shop almost every week to collect balls of laid-away wool for her latest knitting project. I loved the quiet, calm atmosphere of the store with its rows of jewel-coloured wool enclosed in crackly polythene stacked neatly in regimented shelves reaching to the ceiling. I was always thrilled when the shop assistants had to reach items on the top shelf as they would either knock the packet down with a long wooden pole or bring out the wheeled step ladder which I was always forbidden to climb on. Whilst I waited I would spend the time looking through the pattern catalogues and always found my way to the navy blue blazer cardigans with shiny metal buttons and a red anchor motif on the breast which, when teamed with a white pleated skirt and knee-length socks, constituted my dream outfit at the age of six – I guess I wouldn’t have been out of place in 1960s Manhattan!
Their practical purpose aside, paper patterns offer an easily accessible resource documenting the huge changes to women’s roles that occurred during the 20th Century. They also present a fun opportunity to make up captions to go with the poses the models have been placed in and I couldn’t resist having a go at these. If you’re interested in finding out more about any of the patterns just click on the photo, oh, and if you can think of other (clean) captions I’d love to hear them – do get in touch via the Contact page or find me on Facebook.