20th Century Blues: 1930s Swagger Scarf

Pretty vacant

Pretty vacant

Okay so it’s finally Spring, but the British weather being what it is I always like to be prepared. Anyway, when a vintage love affair begins it doesn’t heed the seasons and this one with my swagger scarf happened accidentally like all the best romances.

So there I was writing a blog post about Stitchcraft magazine when I came across a brief article written by a knitting detractor who used vintage pattern images to illustrate their disapproval, including this 1930s Patons & Baldwins advert for a knitted scarf and I fell in love – so bold, so brave, so ’30s. I ignored the scornful comments and dove in.

The original swagger scarf

The original swagger scarf

I had a search around and posted a few requests on Ravelry but couldn’t find the original anywhere so I’ve knocked up a quick pattern for anyone else who shares my crazy love. It’s really straightforward, all in garter stitch – don’t be put off by the mitred points.

I used Jamieson & Smith jumper-weight yarn as their shades matched the original exactly which was handy. In hindsight I think I’d have made it a little wider – it’s 71sts wide but I think 85 sts would have given it that extra bit of fullness you see in the original. Apart from that it came out pretty well.

swagger_thumbJust one mystery remains – any of you fashion history bods out there tell me why it’s called the swagger scarf? I gather that the swagger coat was a popular style from the early 1900s onwards and the name suggests a freedom of movement, but how does that apply to the scarf? Answers on a faded vintage postcard to Skiff … actually an email will do.

download Download Skiff’s 1930′s Swagger Scarf pattern (pdf)

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6 Responses to “20th Century Blues: 1930s Swagger Scarf”

  1. m says:

    I love this scarf and your picture….what would be an American substitute for the yarn you mention?

    I app-solutely ♥
    my ✄ Fabric U ✄
    iPhone app!

  2. Jo says:

    Gorgeous scarf (and hat)! Thank you the pattern, this is definitely a pattern that is getting added to the queue.

  3. Sarah says:

    Wait, this scarf was held up as an example of “isn’t knitting awful?” In what decade (and universe) was the detractor writing?

  4. Holly says:

    Lovely piece. I So want to make this. I am not quite sure how one gets the mitre effect at each end though. Where are the instructions?

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I've been knitting and crocheting since the age of seven, taught by my mum and nans who instilled in me a love of the patterns they knitted from originally. Over the years I developed a style of my own, adapting these wonderful designs for a modern fit and yarn choice. read more ...

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