Finished: 1940s Chevron Stripe Crochet Jumper

1940s chevron striped crochet jumper

Believe it or not, this 1940s chevron stripe jumper was completed way back in April of this year, but I’ve only just got around to photographing it. Shame on me! The main reason it’s taken me so long is because I’ve never quite been happy with it. I know I say that with just about everything I make but this one was a particular pain in the butt. (And I promise I have a positive post coming up of something I made!)

The main issue was to do with the pattern instructions. As it was produced during WWII it was very lacking in information. Paper and printing ink was rationed during the war and it was reserved only for the most important documents. Therefore, knitting and crochet patterns had to be produced on the smallest amount of paper possible. This meant that instructions needed to be edited and reduced down to their barest minimum.

The instructions for the materials needed was as follows:

Two balls (4 oz) of dark colour, 1 ball (2oz) of light colour, 1 ball (2oz) of white, 1 small bone crochet hook

Oh yeah, well thanks, that’s..um…not helpful in the slightest! This may have made more sense to someone back in the 40s but to me, it was just useless. The seller of the PDF pattern suggested a 4 ply, so I decided to just go with that. However, they didn’t mention the hook size so I was left guessing. In the end, after a few tests of the vague gauge instructions, I opted for a 2mm. However, if I made it again I’d probably opt for a 2.5mm, or even a 3mm, just to make it a little bigger as I had to make a few adjustments.

The seller also didn’t mention whether the original pattern was from the UK or the US, so I had to go hunting for clues in the pattern text. There was only one stitch, which is a term used in both countries, but it did spell ‘colour’ the proper way (sorry American friends, but colour without a ‘U’ is just plain weird!) so I knew it was British.

(For those of you who don’t crochet, knowing the pattern’s country of origin is very important as stitch names can be the same, but actually are done very differently.)

1940s chevron striped crochet jumper

The whole thing started off well and I got into the flow of doing the design quite easily. It’s made up entirely of trebles (UK version) and the ‘V’ shape is created by stitching five trebles into the centre stitch of the previous row. Once finishing the first six blocks of colour, the shoulder width was done and when I held it up to myself it fitted perfectly. Next it was on to shaping the armholes both sides, which also went well. The issues started once I got to the end of the armhole at the side seam.

If I’d carried on as the pattern stated the jumper would’ve ended up way too small for me around the bust. This is despite the pattern being a bust size 35″-36″ (my bust measurement) and the gauge seemingly correct. So, to combat the issue I just kept stitching further at the end of each row than stated in the pattern. This worked perfectly, but I just had to remember to do the same on the back as well.

The weird thing was though, it didn’t need to be made any longer. When I got to end of the fourth block of the three colours, this was the finished length as stated in the pattern. So, how had it ended up being too small in width but absolutely fine in length? Who knows!

1940s chevron striped crochet jumper

The problems continued when it came to the back, which wasn’t supposed to have a deep ‘V’, but rather be up tight around the neck. This definitely was the most perplexing part of the entire pattern. I followed the instructions word for word three times, but yet I still ended up with a tiny triangle of crochet, measuring about 5″ across, and this was supposed to be when you started shaping the armholes. If I’d continued from this point, the back would’ve ended up about 10″ wide rather than about 17″-18″!

I swear that something was missing or completely incorrect in the instructions. There’s no way they were right. So, in the end I just did the same as the front and actually I think I prefer it, it’s got a much more 1930s elegance look about it. I did have to add bra strap holders to the shoulder seams though because, as anyone who owned a double V neck batwing jumper in the 80s would know, it kept slipping off my shoulders.

1940s chevron striped crochet jumper

When it came to the sleeves I did as suggested on the pattern and started exactly as per the instructions for the back (the way it should’ve been done!). From there I pretty much did my own thing and just looked at the image of the jumper that came with the pattern for guidance. Of course, if I didn’t have my sewing experience behind me to know what the shape of a sleeve should look like I never would’ve attempted this, but my long-acquired knowledge is very beneficial in these situations.

Once all of the pieces were done, came the wonderful task of weaving in all the loose ends, which quite frankly was hell on earth! Every single strip of colour had at least two ends, which meant hours of trying to hide them all. I did vow at this point that I’d never do any colour work ever again, but I broke that straight away with the next project (coming to the blog very soon!).

1940s chevron striped crochet jumper

After all the problems I had, it actually didn’t take me long to make, about 6 weeks. It has, however, taken me a lot longer to fall in love with it. Initially, it just sat in my wardrobe waiting for that first outing, but after a month or two I did start wearing it a little bit. Now that the weather has got a bit colder I’m wearing it a lot more and actually rather like it.

The yarn is gorgeous, it drapes beautifully being a bamboo and cotton mix. I also adore the colour combination, it’s so 1930s, and can be worn with my white, brown and navy skirts. I’d really like to find a fabric in a similar green to the yarn to make a skirt to match it, but finding that colour is proving rather difficult.

Would I make this jumper again? No probably not, although I do love the chevron striped effect. Perhaps, when I get a little more confident with my crocheting, I will be able to create my own patterns and I’d definitely like to use this effect in another piece. It was enjoyable to do such a quick garment, so I will be seeking out 1930s patterns which use 4 ply yarn rather than teeny tiny threads. Don’t even get me started on how long my current, and very fiddly, one is taking me!

Project Details

Pattern: 1940s Chevron Stripe Jumper from My Vintage Wish on Etsy

Yarn:Β King Cole Bamboo Cotton 4ply in Coral, Verdi and White

Hook:Β 2mm steel hook (pattern asks for a small bone crochet hook)

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.

29 Comments

  1. I like this very much – those chevrons!! If it were mine I’d be imagining all sorts of colour combinations…

    • Thank you Norma! Before I had all the trouble with it I had all sorts of plans for different colour versions. Hopefully if I get to the point where I can create my own patterns I’ll be able to do a design with this in different colourways. xx

  2. I think you did a superb job on this sweater. And it looks wonderful on you. The v-neck looks so right!

    • Thank you Annie! I’m glad I’ve finally fallen in love with it. After all that work, it would’ve been a shame for it to just hang in my wardrobe. xx

  3. What the..? It’s like the cryptic crossword of crochet. Are you sure it was actually a pattern and not secret plans translated into code? The colours are stunning Cate, it’s a lovely, lovely jumper. You continually amaze me with your crafty skills. Your problem solving is fabulous – they’d definitely have had you working at Bletchley πŸ˜‰

    • Hehehe! Yes, perhaps it was. I’m generally (in all aspects of my life) the type who will never give up doing something and will always try and figure out a way to do it. I do it all the time at work, I’m like a dog with a bone! And I would’ve loved to have worked at Bletchley, I love a good problem to solve! xx

  4. I love it, its always difficult to find a simpler crochet pattern for a sweater – but I can imagine weaving in the loose ends must have been a pain, I tend to crochet in the round, use russian joins and only one colour so I dont know if I am ready for this pattern, but must go on ravelry put it on the wish list! really lovely colour combo, fine job!

    • Thank you Eimear! I just had to look up Russion joins, they look very handy. I’ll defintiely have to remember those for the future. xx

  5. Absolutely stunning, Cate! As one who has rediscovered crochet only in the last fortnight I *so* appreciate the skill required… Your comment about the hazards of wearing a double V-neck top in the 80s – spot on – my first thought when I saw your picture. You have clearly managed the bra-strap situation with elegance – this is absolutely not a top to be worn slouching off one shoulder with a bleached fringe, a pair of Ray-Bans and a bottle of Pils!

    • Hahaha! You’ve just taken me back several decades! Oh those 80s tops. I had a deep purple lurex double V-neck top, it was awesome. Not sure I’d wear it now though πŸ™‚ xx

  6. Hi Cate,
    Lindy Zubairy here! LOVE your chevron stripe jumper. Just thought I’d offer a tip on yarn ends for next time. If you can arrange for any given colour to start and finish on the same edge, you needn’t cut it off, just trail it up the edge until you need it again. You’ll find that the unworked strands will disappear into the seams when you stitch or crochet them together.

    • Thank you Lindy and thank you for the tip. I did use this on the colour work on a hat and it worked well, but it wouldn’t have done on this jumper I don’t think. The number of rows in each colour block was odd numbers so you started one side of the piece and ended on the other. I’ll definitely keep it in mind for anything else I do though. xx

  7. You’re looking stunning in that jumper, Cate. I love the chevrons, and the colours you chose are just perfect. But oh my, what a job you must have had figuring it all out … xxx

    • Aw, thank you Ann! Yes, it was a tricky old thing to do but I’m glad I got it done in the end. xx

  8. It looks amazing I particularly like the chevrons. What a shame it was so tricky! The double deep v neck is beautiful so good choice there!

    • Thank you Tanith! I know, I really wish it had been easier because I would’ve loved to have made it in other colours. xx

  9. This is a wonderful jumper. I’m glad that you got it figured out as it suits you so well. I love the chevrons and the colour combination. It is quite possible that the pattern is wrong, it does happen more often than you would like. Well done for working it all out!

    • Thank you Kate-Em! I’m actually coming to the conclusion that many 1930s and 40s crochet patterns were wrong. At least, as I’m someone who will never be beaten, it’s forcing me to learn how to get around these issues. I’d just like to have a nice straight forward one to do for a change! xx

    • Thank you! Yes, it was incredibly frustrating but after nearly 30 years of sewing clothes I think I know how each piece should look. This is much more apparent in the next jumper I’m going to feature on here, which was not quite as irritating as this one but still proved a challenge. xx

  10. Wow, this jumper is beautiful! Well done with this because it seems like it took a lot of patience. I imagine it would be a great patriotic jumper with red, white and blue too! xx

    • Thank you Gwen! Yes, it would lovely in red, white and blue (my favourite colour combination!) xx

  11. This turned out fantastic! I’m super jealous! especially since I have a stash of crochet and knit patterns from the 30s and 40s but have had to mostly give it up because it started to hurt my hand . I am, very slowly, knitting a bow to add to a thrifted cardigan to make my own version of the red sweater that Miss Lemon wears in Poirot.

    • Thank you Kate! Oh, sorry to hear you’re having trouble with your knitting and crocheting. I suffer from RSI in my wrists and take cod liver oil every day, which keeps it away when crocheting. I know it’s that that’s making the difference because as soon as I stop taking it, and do some crocheting, the RSI returns.

      Can’t wait to see your Miss Lemon jumper! I know the one you mean, it’s supplied by Angels Costumes in London and has appeared in the film Glorious 39 and the BBC’s Upstairs, Downstairs, as well as others. xx

      • Thanks for the tip about the cod liver oil. I’ll have try it!

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