Lladybird Lauren shows off! A Modern Sweater With A Vintage Look

Boy do I have something special for you today! The multi-talented LLADYBIRD Lauren is here with a stylish guest post for us as we wind down Knit for Victory!

Lauren’s sharing a modern pattern with a vintage look.  And she turns the tables, too—if vintage style everyday isn’t your thing, and you’re looking for ways to wear your vintage sweater with a modern flair too, look no further than this post! Ppssst, pay special attention to her comments on ease, swatching and details to get just the right fit and really make your knit your own!

By the way, if you love the cardigan Lauren is wearing in this post, be sure to hop over to her blog where she’s hosting a fantastic giveaway! You can win 3 patterns by knitwear designer Andi Satterlund, designer of the cardi pattern Lauren knit. It ends TODAY at 8PM CST, so get your comments in!

Okay, I’ll stop talking, read on. 🙂

Sweater Knit Lola Dress

Hi everyone! My name is Lauren and I blog over at LLADYBIRD. I love love love the look of vintage knitting patterns, but I’m not really a fan of the tiny yarn and needle sizes, the zillions of pieces that need to be seamed together at the end, and the restrictive sizing that needs maths if you aren’t lucky enough to have a body that fits into it. Which means I’ve never actually knit a vintage pattern – but I have a lot of gorgeous handknit sweaters that look like they could have been pulled straight out of a knitting catalog from 50 years ago.

In this post, I’m wearing my very first handknit sweater – the Agatha by Andi Satterlund. What I love about this pattern is that it is thoroughly modern – knit in-the-round, top-down (so you can try it on as you knit it!), and everything is done in one piece so there is no seaming at the end (which means the quicker you get to wearing it – yeehaw!). The sweater is knit up in worsted weight yarn – which makes for a faster knit – plus the suggested Cascade 220 is a very affordable 100% wool yarn. Another really great thing about this pattern? It fits all the way up to a 53″ bust!

Agatha Sweater + Vintage D

Interested in modern patterns with a vintage look? Here are a few key things to keep an eye out for:

  • Length: Lots of vintage sweaters are cropped, which makes them perfect for wearing with high-waisted pants or layering over dresses in the winter (my favorite way to winterize a summer dress – throw a sweater over it!). Look for patterns that are already cropped, or crop it yourself by binding off when you hit the desired length. For a true vintage look (and, in my opinion, the most flattering), try to end your sweater hem at the smallest part of your waist, or a couple of inches lower.
  • Fit: One thing that separates a vintage look from a modern look is the fit – no comfy, slouchy sweatshirts allowed! You want the fit to be as close and streamlined to your body as possible. Since knitwear is stretchy thanks to the nature of the stitches, this means the sweater must be sized to include negative ease. Ease is the difference between your body measurement and the measurement of your intended garment; so negative ease just means the sweater will be smaller than your body – it will stretch to fit, giving you a lovely, fitted shape. Everyone’s negative ease preferences are different, but 2″-4″ is generally the standard. Measure an existing sweater that you like the fit of and compare the sizing to your schematic on the pattern if you are unsure how much ease (or lack thereof) you need! Then knit a gauge swatch (yes, that means you!) so you can be sure that the size you’re knitting actually ends up being the size you were intending.
  • Details: What makes vintage clothing so special and unique are all the fun details included in the garment. Look for patterns that incorporate designs in with the knitting, which will really pump up the vintage factor. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated – simple lacework, cables, or even just alternating knits and purls to create a design will give your sweater a little bit of uniqueness that can’t be found at your local mall. And don’t forget your finishing details – special buttons and grosgrain ribbon sewn on the button band are my favorite ways to add a little extra sass to my knits.

Of course, you’ll want to consider the overall look of the rest of your outfit as well – even the most gorgeous vintage sweater is going to look at least a little modern when worn with something super trendy and current! In these photos, I’m wearing my cardigan with a lovely 1960s vintage shirtwaist which gives a perfect backdrop to the delicate detailing in the lacework. That being said, I love the versatility of this particular pattern because I think it looks right at home regardless of what decade I’m channeling. Since there clearly aren’t enough pictures of me already in this post, here are a few other ways that I have styled the sweater with my outfits in the past:

Vintage Floral Sheath

Worn over a vintage-styled, handmade floral sheath dress, these two pieces look right at home together.

eShakti dress

Worn over a modern eShakti dress, which still gives it a little bit of a vintage look without being overly in-your-face HAY GUYS IT’S THE 1950S OVER HERE, kwim? 🙂


This one is fun – worn with entirely modern/thrifted clothing. There is nothing really vintage about this outfit, but the cardigan doesn’t look the least out of place. In fact, it looks pretty happy here if I do say so myself!

Agatha Sweater + Vintage D

There are lots and lots of modern knitting patterns that can easily be vintage-ify’d with a little tweaking – either during the knitting, or while assembling your outfit. Hopefully this will help you get a jump start on your ideas, so you never have to worry again about knitting a vintage pattern on little fiddly needles if that’s not your jam! If it is your jam… hey, share some of that enthusiasm with me, yeah? 🙂

I think it really helps to see there are LOTS of ways you can wear your vintage knits, and lots of ways to make your modern knit a little more vintage! Agatha (the Andi Satterlund pattern Lauren is wearing in this post) has long been on my queue to knit… that’s it. I must knit one this year. No two ways around it!

Now be sure to enter Lauren’s Andi Satterlund pattern giveaway, ending TODAY at 8pm CST!

Thanks so much for the great post, Lauren!!



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