Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Patons and Baldwins archive part one - 1930's jumpers and cardigans

I have written about my enjoyable trip to the Knitting and Crochet Guild archive here and here, focusing on the garments that we were shown. As well as garments the archive holds books, needles, magazines, yarn charts, gadgets and many, many patterns. I was very excited to get the chance to look at some of the patterns that were part of the Patons and Baldwins archive which the Guild now holds.


There are folders full of amazing knitting patterns like this fabulous butterfly outfit. I think this may be a swimming costume with a skirt and long line cardigan to match. I was almost drooling at some of the patterns and I hope that I will find them out in the wild one day. Imagine a wardrobe full of these beauties!

A child's geometric jumper.

If you are not a knitter there is no need to stop reading right here as knitting patterns are also brilliant source material for fashion history. Obviously, people wanted to knit fashionable garments so knitting patterns followed the variations in fashions. So in these knitting patterns you can see many 1930's traits: big sleeves, bows, interesting necklines, geometry, chevrons, colour blocking, yokes.

Knitting patterns are also a good way to see how clothing was styled,  to see what normal people rather than film stars wore and to see glimpses of skirts, accessories etc. They are also a good source of hairstyle inspiration!

A pretty button shoulder feather and fan jerkin. Notice the chevron yoke on the skirt.

Patons and Baldwins was formed in 1920 by the merger of two wool companies, John Paton, Son and Company from Alloa, Scotland and J&J Baldwin and Partners from Halifax, West Yorkshire. They focused on producing wool for home knitters and knitting pattern support to go with it.

Cute lace short sleeved jumper with a integral neck tie.

By the 1930's the company had factories and buildings across Scotland and the North of England and also in Canada and New Zealand!

A deep V neck cardigan with a lace stitch and lovely square buttons.

Look at this glamorous evening dress bedecked with bows! The pattern is for an angora evening jacket and a waistcoat.

I have read somewhere that P&B owned an angora rabbit farm which would explain why they produced many angora patterns between the 1930's and 1950's.

There is a lot going on in this jumper. Epaulettes, a chevron yoke and either beads or some kind of metallic thread embellishment.

There is nothing new about colour blocking! This has a lovely ribbed body that continues up the front of the jumper with a striped yoke, a belt and colour block sleeves.

Lovely chevron striped jumper with a high tied neck.

I do like an all over cable cardigan and this one has a lovely pointy collar.

After the Second World War P&B decided to build a new, modern and efficient factory in Darlington. It even had it's own railway siding for speedy transport. The factory was complete by 1951 and was the largest wool factory in the world! It became a tourist attraction, I would have loved to have looked around. Find out more here and here and here.

I like this with the large stripes on the sleeves and the asymmetric front.

Gorgeous voluminous sleeved jumper with an integral bow at the neckline.

This one also has amazing sleeves and a beautiful stitch pattern. The bell type flowers remind me of the pattern on this 1950's cardigan that I knitted.

Patons and Baldwins merged with Coats in 1961. Patons wool is still available to buy.

Such a smart long line cardigan, belted at the waist. It has a lovely stitch pattern.

I want nearly all of these marvellous knits! The 1930's is not the period that I am first drawn to fashion wise, though it is growing on me now that I look into the fashions more and more. I think I was maybe put off by all the slinky, bias cut evening gowns which I would look a total horror in but when looking at everyday clothes I see fashions that I would like to try.

Luckily, this is not the end of the 1930's knitted gorgeousness as part two is on it's way!

19 comments:

  1. Whoa that first one is the pick of the bunch for me! The butterfly design is so lovely!

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  2. Oh my god, I want them all!! The one with the zigzag front and stripe sleeves is my absolute favourite, it's so gorgeous. I adore 1930s knitwear, it's just so experimental, you don't see anything quite like it from any other era. Fab post, can't wait for part 2! xx

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    1. I hoped that you might enjoy these! That zigzag one is pretty fabulous!

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  3. Oh wow Katie, what z super post. I will be coming back to this many times. This is my favourite knitwear era. It was so creative and fun. Rx

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    1. It was so very creative! Looking forward to seeing you knitting some of these!

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  4. That lace jumper with neck tie is just beautiful

    British Pathé has a few newsreels of angora farms - you can see how they brushed the bunnies and clipped them (they didn't rip the fur out, which hit the news fairly recently as a practice in industrial angora farms in China and is really horrifying. Moral? Buy angora yarn from reputable producers like Silkwood!). http://www.britishpathe.com/search/query/Angora/search-field/record_keywords

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    1. Thanks so much for the link Mim. I hate the thought of harmed bunnies.

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  5. I love the butterfly ensemble, the stripde chevron juper and the last cardigan is also one of my favourites!

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  6. What lovely patterns! I completely agree with you that knitting patterns are a great way to see how things were really worn back then - I'm always looking at them on Pinterest!

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    1. I have loads of patterns on Pinterest if you ever need more to look at! I love to see what normal, everyday people used to wear.

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  7. Ooh I'll take one of each please! They are fabulous I especially like the chevron jumper with neck tie, it looks very smart and actually not too dissimilar to some patterns I have seen from the 50's! I am certainly looking forward to part 2! x

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    1. Thanks Wendy. If only the knitting gods would send us a few ready knitted ones to increase our wardrobes overnight!

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  8. I love them all honestly I could never pick a favorite

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    1. It is really tough isn't it Kate?!

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  9. Such lovely, elegant designs. I really like the appreciation for form that existed in 30s garments. They were understated at times, but never boring and the quality of even most basic pieces really hits one when we see now some 80+ years later.

    Thank you for sharing these fashion gems with us, dear Kate.

    Tons of hugs,
    ♥ Jessica

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    1. I agree, all the little details on the knits make them far from boring even when at first glance they may see quite simple. I am liking 1930's fashions more and more!

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  10. Lovely post! I love 30s knitwear, so pretty.

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