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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  1. Sarah at 00:49

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

  2. Holly at 22:11

    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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