Where to find vintage knitting patterns online

Are you a fan of vintage knitting patterns? I certainly am. Luckily for us there are many places to get that vintage pattern fix. There are currently numerous good pattern books in print. But sometimes you want just one individual pattern. That’s where the technological marvel that is the internet comes in! Please enjoy this handy vintage link-fest!

Vintage Knitting Patterns – For Sale

The Retro Knitting Lady
This is one of my favourite sites, even just for browsing. The Fair Isle section is a spectacular wall of 1940s and 50s knitting fashion! You can pay for a pdf, or have the original mailed to you.

Iva Rose
This site sells reproduction knitting patterns and specialises in 1920s and 30s fashions.

Vintage Knitting Patterns
You can order some extremely comprehensive and properly reprinted collections of vintage patterns from here. There are patterns dating from 1895 to 1963!

Yesterknits
“The largest collection of knitting patterns in the world” apparently! I can believe that, looking around the site. There are a couple of freebies available on it, but most patterns are for sale. Please note: you can only buy physical copies of patterns.

Knit on the Net
Susan Crawford has published many vintage reproduction and inspired patterns in print, but some are also available individually online. Worth a browse if you can’t be bothered translating old pattern formats.

Vintage Knitting Patterns – For Free

A Rarer Borealis
A blog that posts an eclectic mix of free knitting patterns from the 20s-50s. From the bizarre to the cute and peppy, it’s well worth bookmarking.

Subversive Lesbian Anarchic Femme
Another blog with free vintage patterns posted to it – lots of 30s and 40s stuff from Australian archives.

London V & A
The Victoria & Albert museum has a small selection of WW2 knitting patterns available. These are wearable, but historically noteworthy patterns of military wear and wool-saving clothes for the women and children left behind. 

Free Vintage Knitting Patterns
Well this does what it says on the tin! This is an enormous site that has gone to great lengths collecting free knitting patterns wherever it can find them. You will find patterns for every need, from blankets to jumpers to dog clothing. 

Vintage Purls
Free mid-century knitting patterns for everyone, from New Zealand publications.

Antique Pattern Library
The patterns and guidebooks scanned in here are from the 1850s onwards and include knitting, crochet, needlepoint, tatting, tapestry, all sorts of crafts! A mix of mostly American and English patterns as far as I can tell. A very large site.

A Good Yarn
A scan of “Fleisher’s Knitting and Crocheting Manual,” 1922 is available here.

Where NOT to buy vintage knitting patterns

Copyright is a bit of tricky issue to navigate at times, but there’s honest mistakes and then there’s shamelessly and repeatedly ignoring a pattern source in favour of profit. If a vintage pattern site does not explicitly state that the copyrights have been checked then it’s probably not a good resource.

The reason  I’m providing an actual blacklist is because most of the vintage knitting patterns being sold on the sites below have been stolen from the completely free sources I have listed above. This swindles you, the customer, and the honest sites who have done their homework and make revenue from advertising. Plus it’s just rude.

  • Ebay seller Bythelightofthemoon
  • vintagepatternshop.co.uk
  • Etsy seller toknittowoo
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9 Comments

Filed under Guides/How-to's

9 responses to “Where to find vintage knitting patterns online

  1. Ria

    I love the Antique Pattern Library! So many of their books are amazing, and filled with great cultural value even if many of the patterns are the same (or at least similar) from book to look.

    Thanks for all the links. I’ve bookmarked a few of them for future browsing.

  2. Pingback: Knitting a Christmas jumper by Christmas: An update « Black Cat Originals

  3. Wonderful blog post! I love vintage patterns, but I did not yet know some of the sites you’ve linked too. I’m not a fan of blacklists, but in this particular case I think its good you povide one since most knitters would rather support honest sources. So sad to see others make profit of the hard work or free patterns from others 😦

  4. Hi, I agree about copyright issue. There is also etsy, I sell my Australian vintage patterns there (VanessaLovesVintage). FYI, in AUS, anything before 1955 is generally out of copyright. It is a shame for pattern sellers generally when there is a breach of copyright. I have been a collector for years, the cost of the pattern barely covers the cost of my time scanning/ retouching my gems- which are often very rare. I could keep these all to myself (!) but knitting is a wonderful art and it is a form of ensuring the patterns live a new life, not just sit unused in a drawer….

  5. Hi I have a large collection of vintage knitting patterns from names like Patton beehive, emu, Wendy etc too many to list. If anybody is interested please email me at search2success(at)gmail.com. There’s about 150+ all barring about 5 are in great condition, including some rare ones I have found to be £15 each or £5 for a PDF version! If anyone is interested to know what I have please email me for a list and then we can discuss a price. Postage from Lincolnshire, uk.
    Many thanks

  6. Margaret

    I’m looking for an old Jaeger unisex cable tunic and sweater pattern number D5082 from Jaeger Matchmake sport cable yarn if anyone can help. I’ve checked most sites, eBay, Amazon, Ravelry and going through the ones listed above.

  7. Reblogged this on Noddfacrafts and commented:
    I think that this list of Vintage sources is really handy💃

  8. Carole R

    Also on Etsy is the seller haremoonhollow whose shop is ickythecat. she steals others’ reproduced patterns and sells them for cents!! Avoid at all costs as she was trading as bythelightofthemoon as you have already mentioned in your blacklist

  9. Annabel Law

    Would like to buy a boy’s jersey knitting pattern:-

    Elle Q4005

    – a cable knit thick round neck jersey – we have had one knitted in the past however the pattern has been lost.

    Can you help or do you know of anyone who still has this pattern>

    Thanks very much

    Annabel Law

    King’s Lynn

    01760 339999

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