New Favorites: Vintage cardigan jackets

New Favorites: Vintage cardigan jacket knitting patterns

When Dianna pointed out to me that the motif used on that mysterious and enticing Delta promo sweater was common in Cowichan sweaters, while that sweater is clearly not Cowichan, it got me wondering if Mary Maxim might have had something to do with it. You know, Mary Maxim — the Canadian company famous for the sporty, brightly colored, pseudo-Cowichan sweater jacket patterns of the mid-20th century and beyond. (Such as this and this and this.) Which of course sent me down the rabbit hole of their vintage men’s knitting patterns. Variously questionable Cowichan derivatives aside, there’s some really great stuff — from cardigans fit for Darrin Stevens and Mr. Rogers (honestly, that could be the pattern his mom used) to all kinds of great cable sweaters and so on. And these men’s sweater jackets I want for myself:

TOP: No. 1434BV reminds me that I’m always saying I want to knit a little bomber-jacket style cardigan; and I love the slant pockets on this

BOTTOM LEFT: No. 1449V has the Cowichan-style collar and zip front, but what I most love is the scale of the diamonds on this, or …

BOTTOM RIGHT: No. 1448V is even more graphic, and with just the little bomber collar


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Way back to school sweaters

19 thoughts on “New Favorites: Vintage cardigan jackets

  1. I have a number of old men’s pattern booklets from the 1940s and ’50s. The styling is pretty consistent. Someone will have a pipe, someone will have a golf club, someone else will have a fishing pole, and they’ll all have on sharp sweaters.

  2. This reminds me of the Barbara Pym book in which one of the characters is a (male) model for knitting pattern books.

  3. Karen you always poke the inspiration button-thank you! I like that argyle type. I comb through Mary Maxim and White Buffalo patterns too.
    Is it difficult to do stranded colorwork when you are not knitting in the round? Most of these are non-steeked cardigans and I’ve only done in the round-all stockinette.

      • Definitely these were intarsia, no steek. Many knitters of the fifties and fifties (thankfully this at least one era that I was not knitting in!) Had been knitting argyle socks in college for their boyfriends (it was a big thing then) and would have been very comfortable with the techniques. If you contemplate these, note that the ideas about size and fit were different in those days and modify accordingly.

  4. Your knowledge of knitting history is so impressive. I love learning more about this craft we love. Thank you! Prior to this post, I had no idea about Mary Maxim or this entire genre of sweaters!

  5. Love these! Especially the zippered fronts. Making a “Mr Rogers” style cardigan is on my wish list. It would get more use if I made it jacket weight. :)

  6. Pingback: Knit the Look: Mister Rogers' Smithsonian cardigan - Fringe Association

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