New Favorites: “Vintage” Fred Perry patterns

Fred Perry free vintage-inspired knitting patterns

I wish I could tell you what the back story is on these, but alas, the video that purports to tell us “more about the traditional hand knits that inspired the collection” doesn’t really. Regardless of how or why they came to be, I’m smitten with this collection of knitting patterns from British sportswear brand Fred Perry — “inspired by traditional homespun knits of the 1950s.” I was initially sucked in by the design (as in graphic design) when I ran across one of the “cover” images on Pinterest, and assumed it was some random piece of ephemera. To my surprise, the link led to a whole set of brand new free knitting patterns, ready to download. I promptly tucked them all into my Evernote, but of course the aran cardigan is the one I’m dying to cast on.

UPDATE: Before I get everyone else as overexcited by these as I was, I want to point out Kate Davies’ post today on the subject. As I’ve noted in a comment on her post as well as below, I got a good laugh out of the fact that the cable sweaters are written out line by line, rather than charted — which inspired tomorrow’s blog post — and that made me wonder if (or how well) the patterns had been tech edited. Kate points out some other/bigger issues, most significant being the total lack of size info or grading.

UPDATE 10.22: And now, following a bit of web kerfuffle, the patterns have been pulled from the Fred Perry site altogether.


ICYMI this week is a pair of sweaters I was obsessing over last fall, and still can’t get out of my mind: New Favorites: Bulky little layering sweaters.



Rhinebeck Sweater contest updateAlthough there have been some real beauties, sadly not a lot of sweaters have been entered in the #rhinebeck4fringe contest. (There was surprisingly little use of any Rhinebeck-related tags, actually.) I had concerns about my timing of the announcement, but I also have reason to believe that not every photo carrying the tag is actually showing up when I view the tag’s feed. So two things:

1) It’s possible people who were traveling are learning about the whole thing after the fact, so I’m going to give everyone through the end of Tuesday (Oct 22) to tag their photos. If you posted a picture of your Rhinebeck sweater to Instagram over the weekend and want to enter it in the contest, simply go back to your photo and add a comment containing the hashtag #rhinebeck4fringe. (You must tag your own photo, and it must be of a sweater you knitted/crocheted.)

2) To be 100% sure I see it, since Instagram is apparently not entirely reliable in this regard, leave a comment below (or on the original post, either one) saying explicitly that you have entered a sweater, and include your Instagram ID and/or the URL of the image.

Thanks to everyone who’s already entered — I’ll announce the winners later this week!


35 thoughts on “New Favorites: “Vintage” Fred Perry patterns

  1. Thanks for pointing these out! I’ve downloaded them all :) Now I just need a little bit more experience..

  2. Love that Fair Isle cardigan. It looks adorable on the model. If I were making it for me, though, I’d probably use just some of the colorwork and leave the rest black. It would be hard to choose, though!

  3. Thanks for hosting this contest – I sorry that you were not able to make it to the festival it was a wonderful weekend!
    I have entered a sweater photo in the contest. My sweater was Catboat Cardi & my frined was in Crane Creek. My username is runknitbreathe.

    • Thanks for pointing this out, Dianna. As I just commented on Kate’s post, I had a laugh at the fact that the aran sweaters are written out row by row instead of charted (which I have a post about for tomorrow), and wondered if that had been tech edited, but didn’t notice the lack of sizing info. Ugh.

      • I admittedly don’t know much about machine knitting in the industry, but my hunch is that FP came up with/used some kind of algorithm that would translate the machine knitting instructions into hand knitting “language”…. and not much was done beyond that. It’s really pretty bizarre.

      • I wondered about the lack of charting, too. They have them for the Fair Isle. I should try knitting just a swatch of the Fair Isle color charts and see if they make any sense at all. Thanks, Dianna, for pointing out the the patterns’ failings. How frustrating.

  4. I think they were meant as adverts rather than proper patterns, I don’t think FP ever meant them to be ‘proper’ patterns, just a nice nod to the ancient craft that inspired them. I am sad that some people are getting so upset over them. Truly sad.

    • I have a hard time taking a cynical view of it. Like I said on Kate’s post, think it’s probably a case where someone suggested it and it seemed like a good idea, but nobody really realized how much work goes into publishing proper patterns, and they probably thought, eh, nobody’s really going to knit from them anyway, are they? So the idea got only half-executed, which is a shame, but I don’t imagine it was any more nefarious than that. Maybe I’m naive, who knows.

      I just would really love to know how it came to happen in the first place.

      • They are ‘industry’ patterns, written for the way the samples would have been made on machines or in factories and assuming a level of skill inherent within that factory, not for the way knitters home knit, I’ve written plenty like that myself in the past. Not ‘proper, unedited awful patterns’, just different patterns.

        • Hm, I’m not sure who you’re quoting there but want to make sure I understand what you’re getting at about the machine patterns. (You understand I’m not one of the people who are upset over it, right?)

          I’m sure you’re right that they’re taken from the original machine knitting patterns, but they haven’t been released/promoted as machine or industry patterns. They’re being promoted as versions for hand knitters. (The patterns give needle sizes. The woman in the promo video says she’s working on “the Fred Perry British hand knit patterns” and that the idea was to show how the designs would look if they were hand-knitted. Etc.) What am I missing?

  5. I’m half tempted to try making the cabled beanie. I don’t know if I’m being dumb, but it looks to me like the crown of the hat is sewn together, but the pattern instructions are decreased all the way to the end. I figure that might be a decent yardstick to demonstrate the quality (or lack thereof) in these patterns. I mean, if they can’t write a hat pattern, why should I believe they can do a full on cabled cardigan?

  6. Am I the only one who can’t figure out how to download these? I follow your link and only see an option to purchase finished garments?

  7. Drats! …Anyone want to email me the aran cardigan? I’d like to see it.
    kelsie.ernsberger at gmail dot com

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