Thursday, April 25, 2013

Essentials for the Forces and More: free 1940s Knitting Patterns

Did you know that the Victoria & Albert Museum has digitized some World War II-era knitting patterns and made them freely available on their website?  The patterns hail from 1940s publications  such as Woman's Weekly and from booklets like "Essentials for the Forces" by Jaeger Hand-Knit in support of the war effort.

This booklet in particular includes many patterns designed for men and women in the service (such as helmet liners and balaclavas) but there are some truly fashionable gems in this book for those who want to put together an authentic vintage look:

You can download the text of each pattern as a PDF or Word document (I linked to the PDF under each image in this post).  These knitted turbans are my favorite pattern, and the directions look very easy even for slow beginning knitters like myself:


The "When You're Off Duty" sweater is quite elegant (they are a bit hard to see, but notice that she's wearing dress clips at the collar):


The lion and tiger toys would make great handmade gifts for a young person (or a young-at-heart person!) today:


The Victory Jumper (a sweater) is just too cute:


Check out the rest of the knitting patterns on the V & A site. There is also a section on Ravelry for Victoria & Albert Museum patterns if you need help with directions, especially as the patterns use British knitting terms.

By the way, if you're on Ravelry my username is SerendipityVint. Connect with me!

Images courtesy of Victoria & Albert Museum


  1. Cool. I love the vintage patterns and so glad these are available. I like those turbans too but dang if I don't *need* a lion and a tiger too!

  2. Wow, great finds. I love the styles and the turbans make me giggle a little bit. Thanks for sharing these!


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