Sweater Dressing, 1930s

Women had been wearing sweaters for sport since before the turn of the 20th century.  The Met has several wonderful examples they got when the Brooklyn Museum transferred their collection over.  These are very, very rare.  Actually, sweaters made anytime before the 1940s are pretty hard to come by.  Could it be that many were unraveled and reknit during WWII?  Or maybe because they were not so fashion-forward, they were simply worn longer, and so, worn out.  And then there is the problem of moths.

Pre-1940 sweaters belong in the category of “It’s easier to find a 1930s evening gown than a 1930s…”  You can fill in that blank with many things that were worn and worn and worn.

So I was pretty happy to recently run across these two 1930s examples of pullover sweaters.  By the 30s sweaters had morphed from being strictly worn for sports into being suitable for casual wear and for campus wear.  A look through magazines and catalogs of the period show just how popular they were.


Filed under Collecting, Vintage Clothing

13 responses to “Sweater Dressing, 1930s

  1. I’m a big fan of vintage knitwear (especially sweater dresses for winter!). thanks for sharing this information.


  2. Thanks !!! I checked the link and I just loved what I saw ! I have wonderful 1930s French knitting patterns I’d love to try !!


  3. Oooh, drooling!!! I’m lucky enough to own several mid-1930s knitted sweater-skirt sets and a 30s crocheted evening gown. I’ve alsogot a couple listed in my etsy shop,too. However, with the exception of one cotton knit sailor themed resort knit and the evening gown, I usually only come across garments from this era knitted out of rayon yarn; your woolen beauties are especially hard to find glories!!!


  4. I simply adore that first one! It’s fantastic! Sadly, I haven’t come across many sweaters. I know there are some on Etsy, but I just have a hard time buying online…


  5. KeLLy Ann

    Great post! I’ve loved sweaters since forever, really gaining a love for them as a teenager in the 80s…need I say more?
    I have two of my dad’s sweaters from when he was a young man {and they fit!} which are great for a cold night.
    I also have his Letter Sweater from high school, but alas it’s in bad shape. I just keep it tucked away to hold on as long as possible.
    That green sweater is just the bee’s knees!


  6. Oh my! I can honestly say I’d rather find 1930s knitwear than evening gowns. Love your two–and the ones on the women in the photos. I’ll be perusing that Met link.


  7. “I can honestly say I’d rather find 1930s knitwear than evening gowns. ”

    Once again we are in agreement!


  8. Lovely! I love the vintage photo.


  9. i guess it makes sense that people probably spent more money on their evening gowns, wore them infrequently and then kept them, much like we keep our prom dresses. while the darling sweaters just got worn out. so sad–they are so amazing!


  10. Lisa Benshop

    Speaking of sweaters….I have two Helen Bond Carruthers sweaters that I am going to sell. My great aunt was a good friend of Frances Brewster and bought them in her store. Is Ebay my best option?


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