Welcome to this blog post where I’ll be looking at some vintage crochet and designs from a different time and era!
Why the interest in vintage crochet? Well I’m currently embarking on crocheting a prom dress for my daughter. Here’s a progress photo taken at the weekend…
To get a flavour of what she would like for her dress we searched online for photos of various crocheted dresses so that she could see the possibilities and see which styles she was drawn to. And in doing this we came across some vintage crochet dress patterns from the 1970s and I suddenly found myself going down a wonderful rabbit hole looking at all the various vintage crocheted dress patterns!
There were some gorgeous dresses and to my delight a lot of the patterns are still available to purchase as digital copies from various sellers on Etsy. I simply searched on Etsy for “vintage crochet patterns” and there are plenty available. I purchased the three patterns below from different sellers to give my daughter and I a little inspiration. Of course her prom dress won’t be like any of these dresses… I have my own ideas and she doesn’t necessarily want a vintage look. But looking at how these dresses are constructed and the different stitch patterns used is really inspiring and helpful.
I’m not sure how the selling of vintage patterns as digital copies works with copyright laws… if any of you could enlighten me I’d be interested in finding out more. Obviously it is completely unacceptable for people to sell copies of someone else’s pattern but I’m assuming things are somehow different with these vintage patterns because there are so many available. Having looked at the patterns there is no mention of any specific author or designer within the original patterns and no copyright symbols so I don’t know who the original designers were which is a shame.
I do have an original vintage crochet pattern from 1966 for this two piece suit modelled by the famous model of the time, Twiggy…
Isn’t it fabulous?! This original pattern was given to me by a friend a few years ago.
Interestingly, what I would say about the vintage patterns is that they are very short, concise and basic in the writing style. There are no elaborate explanations, no diagrams or additional photos and of course no accompanying videos! The whole pattern for this suit is pretty much on one page only. Did people find them easy to follow at the time or was it a struggle for some?
Many people associate crochet with the quintessential granny square which was of course huge in the 1970s. As children my brother and I were wrapped in crocheted blankets as soon as we were born and here is a photo of my older brother in 1975… one of my Dutch aunts crocheted the blanket and we still have it today although it has somehow shrunk a little. There must have been some wool content in the yarn which didn’t respond well to a washing machine!
But although I adore the humble granny square, there’s so much more crochet from the 1970s which really does need a look back at!
Intrigued by the vintage patterns I dug out some old vintage crochet books which I already had but haven’t looked in for a while. There’s a Dutch book from 1975 which I bought at a Dutch market a few years ago, an American book from 1981 and a few British ones too…
I even have a small ‘Ladybird’ book published in 1975 which is very vintage… books published by ‘Ladybird’ were prevalent in my own childhood throughout the 1980s. I have very fond memories of my various Ladybird books which included all kinds of stories and how to books. But I didn’t have a crochet one! I purchased this one as a vintage book not long ago…
It has such quaint illustrations…
And very clear and detailed drawings to illustrate how the hook and yarn should be worked…
A sentance in the introduction made me laugh:
“If every page and picture is studied carefully, you will soon find that you can make all the things in the book, for yourself, or as presents for your family and friends.”
They certainly made it sound easy and whilst I always tell people that crochet is much easier than it looks, I’m not sure some people in my beginners crochet classes would appreciate me telling them to study a picture! 😄 💙 That said, I myself did initially learn to crochet from a book… so studying those pictures is actually good advice!
It’s been a real joy to look through these vintage crochet books. What amazing designs and patterns there are…
Some of the designs are so unique, exciting and certainly deserve to be made all over again 45 years later!
And the photos of the authors in some of these vintage books capture a different time entirely! 😁💙
I was born in the late 70s and was surrounded by crochet as I grew up. This wall hanging hung in my bedroom throughout my childhood and I still have it today, but I only recently noticed that the edging was in fact crocheted. I really was destined to be surrounded by crochet throughout my life!
And of course I’ve shared this before but it’s worth a mention again in this vintage inspired blog post… my mum’s crocheted wedding dress which she made and wore in 1974! Now that’s a spectacular vintage crochet dress indeed!
And there’s the vintage Dutch ‘gehaakte gordijntjes’ (crocheted curtains) which I wrote a blog post about here: https://coastalcrochet.com/2015/09/15/gehaakte-gordijntjes-crocheted-curtains/
So there you go… a little look at some vintage crochet designs. I hope it’s given you a little inspiration or maybe taken you down memory lane… that’s certainly where it took me! 😄
Happy Crocheting Everyone… 💙💙💙