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.
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!
“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.
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
- Etsy seller toknittowoo