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October 14

40’s Classic Knitted Dress

Hello dear readers!

A lot of you have left me such sweet comments on my Lady Grey Coat along with my first fall outfit and my tidbits on reinforcing for pencil skirts.  I usually like to respond to (nearly) every individual comment that’s left on my blog, but I’ve been a stretched a bit thin this week with my 9-5 job.  So I wanted to preface today’s post with my heartfelt “thank you” to you all.  Your positive thoughts and comments are wonderful; they truly make my day!

As promised, this week’s free knitting pattern is the darling dress that I featured from the Complete Guide to Modern Knitting and Crochet. And as an added bonus, I’ve scanned in that one page about smocking also.

Click on the link to download: 40’s Classic Knit Dress and Smocking.

Click here to add this pattern to your Ravelry Queue or Favorites.

In looking at these instructions, I think this pattern is made to fit a larger woman.  In the materials it says (size 40) and I’m thinking this is the intended bust size for the pattern (yet the model looks so petite!).  So some alterations will need to be made to get this pattern to fit a smaller sized woman.

The yarn called for is a heavier fingering weight yarn with size 3mm (or us size 2) knitting needles to get 7 stitches per inch and 10 rows per inch.  For myself, I would probably attempt this pattern in a light sport weight yarn and size 3 needles since which would get me closer to the gauge.

I do have to say the great thing about this pattern is that the top of the dress is knit separately from the bottom of the dress.  So you can alter the top on its own as well as the skirt pieces to get the best fit.  Now that I think about it, this makes complete sense.  It’s exactly the way you would construct a sewn dress (making a top, then a bottom and sewing them together at the waistline).

For finishing, this pattern includes directions for a crocheted belt, and the collar is bound with bias binding.

I can’t help but feel like these directions leave out the most crucial bit of information: stabilizing the seams so that the garment doesn’t sag from the weight of the yarn.  If I were knitting this up, I think I’d end up machine stitching the side seams with either some stay-tape or a bit of organza along with creating a waist-stay to help offset the weight of the skirt.

The last page of the pdf is a page on smocking knitwear.  I do have to say, it’s not very comprehensive of a tutorial, but the images are great and they have some good tips.  Honestly, after reading this page, it seems very, very similar to traditional smocking.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend, and do let me know if there’s any particular type of pattern you’d like me to post up for next week.

  1. erin / Oct 15 2011

    Thanks so much for for uploading the dress pattern. The dress is beautiful and the pattern is a fascinating read. It is interesting how the gathers at the shoulder are done. The top has eyelet details! How sweet. The decreases for the skirt are also quite ingenious. I am still reading the pattern, it is quite fun to read vintage patterns :) remarkably short instructions compared to knitting patterns today. So much can be learned from these vintage designs. Thanks again. I love this pattern. Just wish I was younger and had the figure to carry it off!

    By the way, I knitted a smocked sweater before :) You can see it here: http://opportunityknits.blogspot.com/2006/04/vintagey-smocked-waist-sweater.html

    It was a long time ago, and I don’t know how to smock on fabric, but I recall that the baffling thing was how to get my needle to the next spot which needed to be smocked. I think I ran my needle up and down the column.

    • Liz / Oct 18 2011

      Your sweater is amazing! Amazing!!!

      Glad you liked the dress pattern and again, thanks for sharing the link to that awsome sweater! :)

  2. Tasha / Oct 17 2011

    I love your tips!

    I’ve seen many vintage knit dress patterns but don’t seem to recall any mentioning stabilization. I think your idea of doing some kind of waist stay would be really helpful to the garment structure overall. Also I think a somewhat firm seam, not like grafting but a crochet chain seam or even back-stitching.

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