Empire Bolero Pattern

Today’s pattern freebie comes from the Bucilla Glace Hand Knits publication from 1958.  This publication was printed by the Bucilla yarn company so it comes as no surprise that each and every pattern in the booklet features their Glace yarns, which is a boucle.

What I think is interesting is that this bolero and the rest of the patterns in this booklet look very 60’s even though it has a copyright date of 1958.  Knits must have been on the cutting edge.  :)

Click on the following link to download this pattern as a pdf:  Empire Bolero Pattern.

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

In my google search I found out that the content of the Bucilla Glace yarn is composed of 73% Lofted Estron and 27% Banlon.  If anyone can tell me what either of these things are I’d love to hear!  But suffice it to say this is probably an acrylic yarn of some sort that doesn’t contain any wool.  I easily found some of this yarn currently for sale on Ebay which also doesn’t surprise me since it’s most likely man-made and hence durable (ie moth resistant).

This bolero pattern is multi-sized to fit a 32″ bust to a 38″ bust.  What’s really cool is the way the directions are written and how much info is provided.  Not only is there the sizes listed, but they give you the actual body measurements at each size along with the finished size of the bolero at a few different points.

Also, the directions themselves are kind of written in a chart format.  It’s not a schematic (so don’t fear), but each different size has a different column of directions which makes it really easy to follow along!

The pattern stitch of this bolero is simply made up of alternating (k2, p2)’s which is perfect for any newbie knitter.  I think the boucle yarn adds a lot of dimension to this simple bolero pattern, but from what I’ve heard (from Tasha) is that boucle yarn is a pain to knit with.  This is a perfect lead in to yarn & gauge.

Gauge & Yarn:

This pattern calls for 2 strands of the Glace yarn (again a boucle) to be used at once with a gauge of 5 sts per inch using a US size 7 needle.  This ultimately means that when you’re doing your yarn substitution instead of using 2 fingering weight yarns together you could instead use a worsted weight yarn!  Be sure to test out your gauge though in any case.  You want to aim for 5 sts per inch.

If I were knitting this up, I’d take a worsted weight yarn from my stash to test my gauge before buying some yarn for this project.  I’d start off with the size 7 needles and adjust the needle size (higher or lower) depending on my first gauge swatch measurements.  Once I got the correct gauge, I’d check to see if I liked the look & weight of it.

From there, I might also test out another gauge swatch using a sport weight yarn from my stash to see if I liked that one better.  Sport weight yarn has a standard gauge of 5.5-6 stitches per inch.  Since we need 5 sts per inch the sport weight could also work for this pattern, provided you meet the correct gauge using your needles.

Long story short, it’s all a balancing act between your yarn and your needles.  As long as you get the same gauge as the pattern directions, you could end up using either a sport weight or a worsted weight yarn depending on which you like the look of better.  Pretty cool huh?!


Now that I’ve thrown all this information at you don’t be shy to ask me any knitting related questions!  :)

And also be sure to let me know if you’d like to see any particular type of pattern for next week.  Have a lovely weekend you guys!

In: Free Patterns Knitting

Blogger for 6 years and counting, I am a passionate creator who loves to tinker.

Comments (12)

  1. Alicia July 13, 2012 — 12:22 PM

    Ooo ..I love this pattern since I’ve been looking for a pattern just exactly like this for the past few months. I love this stitch and the shape. Thank you for this pattern. :-)

    1. Liz July 14, 2012 — 11:43 AM

      Yay! Glad you like it Alicia. :)

  2. Rachel July 13, 2012 — 1:00 PM

    I discovered (quite by accident) that a sport weight can easily be used for most vintage knits with a 7st/inch gauge… when I use US 4 (3.5mm). That made life easier because I can always work around that value ;)
    I have a booklet where all the patterns are charted out like this- I can’t make up my mind whether I like it or not!
    Thanks again for the pattern!

    1. Rachel July 13, 2012 — 7:26 PM

      Oh and I did a reciprocal pattern on my site- just because of you ;)

      1. Liz July 14, 2012 — 11:41 AM

        I just saw! Sooo sweet of you to give me a shout-out like that! Thanks Rachel! :)

  3. So cute! This would be such a great fall knitting project. :)

    1. Liz July 14, 2012 — 11:42 AM

      Thanks Steph! Your corset on the other hand is amazing! I can’t believe how you can just whip it up (or so it seems to me).

  4. Ginger July 13, 2012 — 2:54 PM

    How pretty! I love this silhouette!

  5. I love the shape of the hem & collar! You’re right, it’s definitely got a 60s vibe. I’d probably use something like Elsebeth Lavold Bambouclé if I could get the right gauge — I think it gives a pretty similar nubbly texture like the crepe/bouclé yarns in vintage knitwear, without going into curly-coily-mohair overdrive!

    1. Liz July 14, 2012 — 11:43 AM

      I just did a google search for that yarn, and I agree I think it would be perfect and looks easier to work with than a traditional boucle. Thanks Meredith!

  6. Devorah January 19, 2013 — 1:23 AM

    Estron is an acetate fiber produced by Eastman Chemical Company. Ban-lon is a crimped Nylon fiber. The trademark was owned by Joseph Bancroft & Sons Co. who invented and manufactured a portion of it. The Ban-lon trademark is now owned by Garan Services Corp. and is used for yarn products, not the fiber or yarn itself.

    Thanks for posting the lovely vintage patterns.

  7. Sheryl May 15, 2013 — 8:26 AM

    Cannot wait to get started on this project. Ran across 20 skeins vintage, new in box that will be perfect.

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