A 1930s Crochet Beret – My First Ever Me Made Crochet Garment!

A 1930s Draped Beret Crochet Pattern

A little while ago I blogged about my new challenge, crochet. After spending the day at a crochet workshop I was very keen to get started on making things for myself. However, I didn’t want to start slowly, crocheting things like blankets and shawls because I knew I’d never use them. I know I’d just give up because I wasn’t really getting excited about the things I was making. So, instead I took the attitude of who dares wins and plunged straight in with a 1930s style beret.

The pattern I chose was a very straight forward beret designed by the lovely Theodora from the Theodora Goes Wild blog, which is available as a PDF download on Etsy. After downloading it, I gave it a read over and miraculously understood every word, something I could never do before the workshop. It made complete sense, so I headed off to the local wool shop to buy my yarn.

Cue major panic! I was so overwhelmed with the variety of yarns on offer and not a lot of it made sense to me. However, after calming down and spending nearly an hour looking at everything I purchased a couple of balls of Rowan Summerlite 4ply cotton. I decided to buy it in navy, mainly because it was a dark colour so it wouldn’t show any mistakes quite as much as a bright colour would. Always a bonus!

1930s crochet beret

And here it is! Yes, it doesn’t quite look as smooth and perfect as Theodora’s but there are two reasons for that. Firstly, I wrongly decided to go for the bigger size. The reason I did this is because I’m always being told I have a big head! Yes, true fact. So many hats I try on don’t fit and shop assistants, vintage fair sellers and my mum always come back with ‘oh, you must have a big head!’. In reality my head measurement is 22.5ins, so not enormous. However, the beret pattern comes in two sizes, 21″ – 22″ and 23″ – 24″ and, due to my paranoia about my head, I stupidly chose the bigger one.

1930s crochet beret

The second reason is because the beret is wet blocked over a certain size plate and I didn’t have one big enough. When I read the term ‘wet blocked’ on the pattern I headed straight to Google to find out what the hell that meant as it was completely new to me. After realising it was literally wetting the finished garment and moulding it into shape, I tried every plate in the house but all were too small. Thanks to Google I then found out you could pin the garment to achieve the same thing, however, I didn’t really do it terribly well. It definitely would’ve been better with a plate!

To be honest, I don’t really mind that it has a more floppy fuller look than the original and as the lovely Kate-Em said recently, “Don’t think mistakes, think personalising the pattern!”. Too damn right, this is my take on Theodora’s pattern. Hahaha!

1930s crochet beret

Anyway, the pattern as a whole was really easy to follow and I’d definitely recommend it for a beginner. The whole thing it made by going around in circles building up the size as you go. As I’m finding with all crochet pieces, it was a little fiddly at the start. It’s hard to hold on to it before it starts growing but once it gets to a certain size you start getting faster with every stitch. I know I screwed up the counting a little bit as I was going around and the pinwheel design isn’t as neat as it should be. However, at least I know where I went wrong and I will definitely concentrate better next time.

1930s crochet beret

When I was getting to the end I realised it was going to be too big to wear on my small head so the last two rounds I did by doing a couple of decreasing rows. It worked a treat and something I did entirely on my own judgement which kind of made me a bit smug. 🙂 I don’t think it spoils the look at all, despite being able to see the last two rows are different. It means that I can actually wear the beret, which is the most important thing.

1930s crochet beret

Overall I’m really chuffed with it. I know it’s not perfect but I finished it and it is wearable, which is so much more than I’ve ever achieved before. I will definitely make this again but will of course go for the smaller size. I may also choose the slightly more jaunty, sailor hat version which also comes with the pattern. It’s really cute and would look fabulous with my the outfit from my last post.

I’ve also learned a huge amount, especially about different yarns thanks to Kate-Em, a friend of my mum’s and all the very informative websites I visited. Before I started all of this the world of crocheting was a very daunting place but I’m just beginning to feel more at ease now.

Next Crochet Project

So much so that I decided to jump in at the deep end with my next project, a 1930s short sleeve jumper. If you think modern crocheting is a mind field, trust me 1930s crocheting is insane! I won’t go into it all here, I’ll save that for another post but you won’t believe the amount of research I’ve put into this one jumper. However, since casting on (or whatever the equivalent term is in crocheting) last weekend, I’ve now completed the back waistband and am just about to start the actual design. I’m so excited! It’s going really well and despite a few wobbly moments of self-confidence I’m really enjoying my new found craft. And, of course, I’ll keep you posted on how this one goes.

Cate

Just a vintage gal suffering from the Golden Age syndrome. Lover of all things old, lingerie obsessive, crafter and enjoys rummaging at flea markets.

37 Comments

  1. Ooh, it’s flipping gorgeous! I love the colour and its slightly softer style, it’s going to be a really versatile little beret!
    I am all for jumping in the deep end with patterns, it’s amazing how much confidence it gives, and saves you all those boring hours of making things you don’t really want or enjoy making, in my case knitting scarves as a child, it put me right off knitting for a fair while!
    I am so impressed with your next project too, I must confess to really struggling with flat crochet, I can manage the round and round, but rows are an enigma to me I just can’t make them look neat, yours looks perfect! I can’t wait to see your progress! xx

    • Thank you Wendy! Yes, I thought navy would probably go with just about everything, so I’ll probably end up wearing it a lot. I tried my hand at crocheting back in 2010 but just stuck to doing granny squares and got seriously bored, so just gave up. This time I was determined to not let that happen. Even if the jumper doesn’t work out at least I’ll have achieved making an actual garment and I’ll learn from any mistakes I make.
      I have to say, it’s totally addictive! I did some last night and then got up this morning and wanted to get back on it instead of going to work. Bah, responsibilities! xx

  2. Looks good – I think the last two rows look like part of the pattern. Wouldn’t have known without being told.

    • Oh that’s good to know, thank you! I thought they stuck out like a sore thumb because I know what it should look like. xx

  3. Great job, Cate! I love it! It makes me want to crochet!

  4. Wow! Congratulations on your new crocheting endeavor! What is quite funny, Is I just started too! But several months ago. I really wanted to post something about it but just don’t know what. Anyhow! Your beret is so beautiful and goes with your lovely polka dotted number! Great job, Cate!!

    • Thank you Krystle! What a coincidence! We could probably exchange war stories about all our mistakes. Hehehe! I’d love to see what you’ve done so far though. Yes post something! xx

  5. Cate, thank you. And it is so you! I’m amazed and so glad the pattern made sense. Crochet is incredibly forgiving, and intuitive, as you found when you worked out how to decrease the band. You are so brave to be diving into a blouse now – but why not? It is such a pretty design. Good luck!

    • Oh, I’m so chuffed you like it. It really was so straight forward and I will definitely make another one. I love the little jaunty sailor style one in white, so will give that one a go. Hopefully it’ll be a bit neater next time! Thank you so much for creating a pattern that allowed me to just plough in and actually achieve something. xx

  6. You did really well Cate, as your beret is gorgeous. Good choice of colour too, as it goes so well with your hair. Looking forward to seeing the finished jumper! xxx

    • Thank you Ann! I’m already ploughing on with the jumper, it’s so addictive. Hope it doesn’t take me too long as I really want to wear it! xx

  7. Wow, that’s lovely! I’m seriously impressed – anything wool related is definitely part of the Dark Arts as far as I’m concerned!

    Looking forward to seeing the jumper. Have you been to the ‘History if Fashion in 100 Objects’ exhibition at Bath yet? There’s an amazing 1950s crocheted blouse in that.

    • Oh thank you! Yes, crocheting and knitting always seemed like a really scary world before but suddenly my eyes have been opened. I’m even thinking I may be able to understand a knitting pattern too, though I’m yet to take a look at one.

      No, I haven’t been to the Fashion Museum in years. It’s ridiculous because I live less than an hour away! I do have an original 1930s crochet top I bought a couple of months ago that I’m yet to feature on the blog. I absolutely love it! xx

  8. Well done! I love that you dived into doing something you would actually use, and it has worked out for you, so why not? If you hadn’t mentioned anything you did differently or didn’t like, I would have noticed nothing! I mean, I still can’t really. It looks good to me!!

    • Hahaha! That’s good to know. It’s weird how gung-ho I am about it, I’m never like this with my sewing. I have to know that it’s going to work out before I’ll even consider cutting out the fabric. But hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained! xx

  9. Oh what a fabulous beret and how satisfying knowing you did it yourself, looks gorgeous. I have not long picked up the knitting needles again after years and have thought about a dabble in crocheting…this has inspired me.

    • Thank you Sheree! I’m so happy that I’ve inspired someone to give it a go. A big warning though, it’s seriously addictive. I even take it to work to do at lunch time! xx

  10. Wow! That looks splendid. I’ve been scared to start crocheting because i’m worried about not being able to get the tension right and everything coming out the wrong size. It’s impressive that you’re kicking off with a 1930s top so soon. I bet it will be excellent.

    • Thank you! So far, all the patterns I’ve come across have a tension guide so you should be okay. With the 1930s top, I just thought what the hell I’ll just give it a go. It’s all a learning curve and if it doesn’t work out then at least I’ll know where I went wrong for the next time. I actually can’t believe how blasé I’m being about it, I’m never like this with my sewing! xx

  11. It’s stunning – far, far better than I would ever be able to manage – and it suits you perfectly! Kx

    • Thank you Karen! I’m sure anyone could probably achieve the same with a little instruction as it’s such a simple pattern. xx

  12. High fives across the miles! You knocked it out of the ball park – and, you know, I really like that the bottom rows are different. It looks intentional and adds a subtle, wonderful hit of additional visual interest to the hat itself now.

    xoxo ♥ Jessica

    • Oh yes, I’m so happy you like the last couple of rows! Hehehe! Isn’t it funny that those aren’t actually part of the pattern but everyone thinks they’re supposed to be like that. Thanks for the high fives! xx

  13. I love the beret! And although your version differs from Theodora’s I think the less ‘stiff’ look of your isn’t that bad at all! I kinda like it!

    I don’t know what it is but I think (vintage) crochet patterns are much harder to read then (vintage) knitting patterns. At least that’s my experience.

    Once I got the idea of crocheting a coverlet for my bed, but when I calculated how many squares I needed I was so shocked and put that idea aside. Luckily I found a vintage coverlet on our Dutch Ebay-like website for a real steal 🙂

    Good luck with your jumper!!

    • Thank you Anthea! I wouldn’t know about vintage knitting patterns as they scare me to death, although I could possibly understand them slightly better now I can read a crochet pattern. Well done for finding a vintage coverlet at a bargain price. The first thing I ever crocheted was a set of granny squares for a blanket. I’ve done enough for a babies blanket but as I don’t have any child to give it to it’s pretty pointless! 🙂 xx

  14. I’m really impressed! And it looks so cute on too, great job. I just don’t have the patience to pick up new crafts like this, but it’s ok when I can watch others do it 😉

    • Thank you Cici! Coming from the beret queen, I take that as a huge compliment! xx

  15. Cate, that beret is absolutely adorable!! And hahah, welcome to the fun world of crocheting! I am beyond excited to see your progress on the jumper!!

    • Thank you Carla! The jumper isn’t going so well at the moment as I kept messing up the end of each row. I’ve had to rip it back several times now but I think I’ve figured it out finally! xx

  16. Well done you, what a great job you did! You are so clever in the world of crafty things. I’ve been looking forward to seeing these pictures, and finally have a quite hour tonight before bed to catch up on a few blogs. I don’t know where time goes! I haven’t touched any sewing for weeks, it’s been so full-on with work and keeping up with friends/family. xx

    • Thank you Sarah! I can’t wait until it gets a bit colder and then I can wear it a bit more. I’m really struggling to keep up with everyone’s blogs at the moment too. Life is just so crazy at the moment and I haven’t done any sewing for two weeks now. I’m really craving sitting down in front of the sewing machine! xx

  17. I think you have done a stunning job! It looks fabulous on, it sits really nicely on your curls. No one would guess that this is the first thing that you crocheted. I can see that you might need several in different colours! I’m glad the yarn talk helped, any time! I’m always learning new yarn stuff at work when we get different stock in. You look to be making great progress on the jumper, such an exciting project! I always think you are much more likely to finish if you find the yarn and pattern combination to be exciting.

    • Oh wow, thank you Kate-Em! Coming from you that’s a massive compliment. I’m loving my jumper so far and have nearly reached the part where I need to start doing the back sleeve. It looks fairly simple but we’ll see! xx

  18. If your gauge is higher than 14 stitches, loosen your grip on the yarn or switch to a larger hook. When your gauge range moves between 12 to 14 stitches, you are crocheting with just the right pull and can start making your beret. Create a slipknot and chain four stitches. Double crochet into the first chain stitch, the stitch furthest from your hook.

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