Free Pattern Friday: Tunic Time!

For this week’s pattern, I had a tough time deciding between something versatile and wearable that’s faddish at the moment (a basic sweater with stripes on the sleeves and across the upper chest), or something sort of ridiculous that’s put together strangely and involves a bit of geometry (also sort of faddish at the moment). Then I remembered I post a pattern every week and would get to both. On with the ridiculous geometry!

The 1930s tunic pattern comes courtesy of Minerva Vol. 40. Its assembly involves points meeting at the neck and shaping comes courtesy of a belt. The sleeves, hem and belt stand out from the body using nubbly moss stitch. While it looks very classy in white, might I also suggest cardinal red, forest green, or perhaps a bright jewel blue?

(Seriously, just picture her with a feather in her cap.)

A black skirt pattern is included, but really, why put in all that effort when we’re moving towards a pantsless society? In about 5 years all anyone will wear bottomwise are tights, leggings, jeggings, and probably some new portmanteaus like sleggings and bleggings. I say beat the fashion industry to the punch, pop on some tights and prance around with your band of merry fellows (codpiece optional).

While they can be and often are made ridiculous, what with the fashion industry currently showcasing them with topknots and KISS boots, tunics are versatile, everyday wardrobe pieces that can be layered, dressed up, worn on their own or with some sort of soon-to-be-obsolete leg-covering called ‘pants’. The tiny gauge means it’ll take longer than the average sweater, but in a classic color it’s worth it. Or screaming orange, maybe that’ll work out too.

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  1. Your blog is what keeps me sane! seriously! this is the best place on earth.. keep posting.. just love the free patterns and the commentary is just the best. Had yet to find someone with the same sense of humor as me and then.. i found you! and all i can say is… You Rock!


    1. Aww, thank you. Your comment made the internet a little less cold and empty.


    2. Hi Rarer B,

      I couldn’t find a link to email you, so I hope you don’t mind me posting this question in the comments section of your site.

      But I was looking to post up a few vintage knitting patterns myself on my blog, and I was curious if you knew which patterns could or couldn’t be posted due to copyright laws. I couldn’t find anything on the web about the particular patterns I have (stitchcraft from the UK). This vintage stuff seems so fuzzy to me, and since you post stuff up patterns every friday, I figured what better person to ask.

      Thanks so much!

      P.S. I’m working on the Briar Rose pattern from your site, too. I love it and thanks for sharing it.


      1. Hey there. For future reference, and I should probably put this somewhere on the main site, the email is As to your question, there’s been a lot of digging around on Ravelry’s vintage knitting boards about Stitchcraft copyright, and we’re still a bit in the dark. Someone found this in the back of one of their 70′s Stitchcrafts:

        Hi! In my 1970s Stitchcrafts, the second from last page says:

        Made and printed in England by Lund Humphries of Bradford, and distributed for the proprietors, STITCHCRAFT LTD (controlled by Patons & Baldwins Ltd) by THE CONDÉ NAST PUBLICATIONS LTD, circulation division, Belmont Road, London, W.4.

        So maybe try Condé Nast? Here’s all the contact info from their UK site:

        Name Sharon Ireland
        Role Advertising and Promotions Project Manager

        Name Jessica Bumpus
        Role Production Assistant


        I attempted contacting them but was told their company doesn’t deal with the earlier Stitchcraft. Huh. As a general rule of thumb, I believe the UK has 70 years after the death of the author for a work to enter public domain, though again, everything’s on a case-by-case basis. My rule of thumb is, if it’s deteriorating and not widely accessible, I’d rather see it somewhere than have it disappear to nowhere. This, of course, is the stuff litigation is made of, but my poor reasoning is I’m sharing stuff for free instead of selling it for profit. Not that it’s any less ‘against the law’, but it does make me feel like an outlaw. Hope that helps?


      2. Bleggings just conjured up an image of tights/bloomers hybrid. Like the blousy shorts from a 50s playsuit, only cinching below the thighs and continuing like a a pair of leggings. I can almost see this catching on!

        Re: the earlier copyright comment, it’s probable that the Stitchcrafts aren’t under copyright protection, simply because no one seems interested in asserting the rights. At any rate, I think it’s admirable that you (rarerborealis blogger you, that is) made the effort to track down the info. Coming to a dead end & deciding to share long-lost patterns seems pretty mild on the list of ‘questionable/bad things people do’ … if it even belongs on the list at all.

        On the other hand, I know the old Vogue Knitting books are protected because I looked them up in the Library of Congress — I have a few issues from 40s/50s that I was interested in sharing. But, even though I do see plenty of Vogue pattern scans for sale on various websites & I don’t think anyone is cracking down, I’m not comfortable scanning them because I do know they’re under copyright. But that’s a conclusive answer; if I hadn’t been able to get an answer, I’d probably have shared them. (well, if I had a scanner, that is.)


      3. Thanks so much you guys! I think I may just become one of the ‘outlaws’ myself and post up some free patterns. :)

        I do have a few Vogue knitting mags. and fear that they could eventually crack down on people. But I haven’t heard anything about the stitchcrafts…