Vintage pattern books: Monarch 93, Styles for Teenagers

I’ve been in a bit of a knitting funk of late… I cannot get any motivation to work on my sweater, and even my socks languish in a ziploc bag somewhere… a combination of nasty, weird weather and a longing for spring, combined with a truly busy schedule.  So what better to cheer me up than a trip through this book?

I remember my teenaged years.  I was not unpopular, but neither did I exactly fit in with the A crowd.  This may have been caused in part by my clothes – to put it simply, I dressed as though this pattern book were au courant.  And while in today’s vintage friendly culture this might be tolerated, let us do keep in mind that I went to high school at the height of the grunge period of fashion.  Something about traipsing about wearing a pencil skirt and pearls while all your peers are wearing couderoys and boiled wool clogs does not get you asked to the homecoming dance, is all I’m saying.  I, of course, only listened to classical music and musical theater of an earlier vintage, so I had no idea what this “grunge rock” thing was all about.  Needless to say, I wished I could have found a nice boy, willing to wear oddly patterned cardigans like the one above.

And perhaps take me out for a coke, where we would wear our coordinating argyle sweaters (and I would ignore the faux pas of his plaid pants!)  Of course, the next thing you know, the other girls have noticed his style!

The caption over this photo reads “IT’S SMART!… So Hand Knits Go Formal!”  I actually had to check, but the blouses are knitted, at about 8 st/in.  I love the gloves… it is impossible to wear gloves like that now without looking like you are just trying too hard, but oh how I wish we could!

I believe this book was published in the mid-late 1940s, though I cannot say for certain as it is not dated.  The book does have the dedication below:

An Inspiration: We are indebted to Brigadier W.W. Southam, DSO, ED, who, as a Canadian Prisoner of War in Germany following Dieppe, designed and knitted for his wife, the sleeveless pullover illustrated below, No 960.  The Monarch designer knit this garment in Monarch Speedway and wrote the directions appearing on page 4…

Really, isn’t that a lovely inscription?  Click here to read about the battle mentioned above.

One thing I love about these old books are the vintage fair isle and intarsia patterns… they are always charming and different (one day I will get to the book containing the “camel sweater” – just wait!)

There is also a fair amount of skiing going on usually, something you don’t see in modern books.  I do not ski, as I am very risk averse, but I’m sure many people still do!  The slippers, by the way, are called “After ski socks,” which I love.  I would like a pair, I think, though I would wear mine instead in our sub-arctic kitchen, where it is always cold.

Being a book about knitting for teenagers, naturally some accessory patterns are included.

Often vintage patterns still look fresh, but I cannot recommend making a “Knob pattern beanie.”  Was there a trend for this sort of hat, or was it a crazy invention of a Monarch designer?  I fancy that I have seen one before, but I could be wrong…

There is something sinister about the one on the left, don’t you think?

The back of the book.  Somehow I have a hard time imagining the knits from the book in colors, but look what a lovely range of shades Monarch carried in their “Dove” yarn!  This book is not my favorite, stylewise, but I think it is notable that books like this – aimed at teenagers – existed.  I own others aimed specifically at preteens.  I also enjoy the wholesome look at teenagers, whether true to life or not.

I leave you with this… off to school in a grand pullover, knit in the smart new shades of Monarch Yarns. We should all use the words “smart” and “grand” more often, don’t you think?

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18 thoughts on “Vintage pattern books: Monarch 93, Styles for Teenagers

  1. dale says:

    I don’t think there is one Canadian that knows the battle of Dieppe(part of the curriculum at school). There was a innocents that shows thought out your magazines.I wish I keep some of those vintage magazine. I think they were cute!
    Dale

  2. Thank you for sharing this book. My neighbor who is from Scotland likes to say that stay-at-home moms like us still like to look smart and that is why we sew. I love that!

  3. Red Sometimes says:

    I disagree with Dale. Canadians are proud of our heritage and are especially proud of the often overlooked contribution we made to the World Wars. Our current peace keeping engagements go unnoticed and are deemed unworthy of note by the international media. Clearly, we’re not in it for the notoriety.

    Regardless, as always, I like your book reviews! Hope your funk works its way out soon!

  4. mick says:

    The one on the left is, without doubt, evil. An evil twin? Evil cousin? Evil cyborg? We may never know. It’s the fake smile and dead eyes.

    I really love the pattern book, though. My grandmother would say that the patterns look “sharp.”

  5. Great books! I feel bad for you that you had to go to High School during the grunge rock period…..yuck! I was lucky to go to High School in the late 80′s when wearing chords, sweaters and penny loafers was popular. :)

    Thanks for sharing those fun pictures and thoughts! You make me smile about the guy with an argyle sweater! :)

    Have a great day! Love reading your blog!

  6. Trine says:

    My grandma uses the word “smart”. :) It sounds much cooler in English, though – Danes still use “smart” but mostly in the same way as “clever”.

    Anyway, great post! Love the coordinating sets – I wish my boy would wear matching argyle and/or Norwegian skiing sweaters with me. ;)

  7. I love vintage pattern books! That guy’s sweater and pant combo could have been acceptable in a Weezer sort of way in the grunge days.

    I went to high school in the grunge period, too, but I went to a private school, so we had our grey plaid skirts and button-down shirts. I always wore a blazer with mine, not the icky acrylic sweater most girls wore.

  8. dale says:

    Hi
    I meant to say That Canadian know and are proud of what our troops accomplished at Dieppe and feel for the ones that did not return home. … My fingers where a little to light on the keyboard.
    I am from Ottawa and is very proud do be a Canadian.
    I have been reading your blog for the last year and a half. Checking it out daily. This is the first time I have comment and had a blooper!:(
    Take care Dale

  9. Marie says:

    Oh how I do wish those styles were popular now. Being the mother of a 15yo girl and 14yo boy, I’m just happy that “belly shirts” have gone the way of all past fashions even if some people-especially those that should never indulge-haven’t gotten that fashion memo. But, alas, we must now be subjected to lycra-infused pants (oh when will bad fashion end?)
    Seems like you found a boy with very classy taste who appreciates you for your keen sense of timeless style.

  10. Caroline says:

    I, too, love “smart” and “grand”. From old movies, though, I’ve learned my favorite of the time: “swell”.

    Your blog is “real swell”. Thank you!

  11. oh i cannot tell you how much I love this post. and that book! you’re right – and coming from a 17 yr old – today’s climate really is very vintage-styling friendly! although dressing Up on a dull day still brings stares and looks (from the unenlightened, of course) from those teenagers who live in jeans, converse and t-shirts. (yuk!)
    hoorah for that book! (even though I agree with you that the sweaters are not the most interesting out there – but I’d still love a boy like that haha!)
    -Anushka

    • Jo Ann says:

      I’ve recently been given Monarch Baby Hand Knits, No. 90 and it was printed in 1946. Would assume that your Teenagers book was printed in 1946-1947.

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