As you can see, I’ve made a fair bit of progress on my 1941 man’s vest. Here is the completed back:


The color is a bit darker and more heathered with a touch of gray than is the virulent cranberry reported in the photo.

Now to go from the original size 30 to my customized 46, I did a couple of things. First I measured The Resident Male and one of his favorite store-bought vests. Then we sat down and discussed what he liked and didn’t like about the historical vest. We came to this set of observations

  • He liked the ultra simple garter stitch texture
  • He liked the wide waist ribbing in contrast with the narrow armhole edge and neckline ribbing
  • He liked the K2 P2 ribbing texture
  • He liked the close fit
  • He wanted a deeper V because he’d be wearing the thing over golf shirts, and not over dress shirts with ties.
  • A closer look at the dimensions of the original rather than the photo revealed that the piece was longer than we originally thought, so no adjustments there were necessary.
  • He didn’t like the straight edge at the back of the neck, and preferred a tiny bit of contour there

So comparing his measurements and the original I come up with

Original Custom size
Length 25″ 25″
Chest width 30″ 46″
Bottom rib 3″ 3″
Other ribs 0.75″ 0.75″
Depth of V 9″ 10″
Armhole depth 12″ 10″ (from fave vest)
Back neck depth 0″ 0.75″
Shoulder width 3.5″ 5.25″

So I plugged my measurements into the original pattern, multiplying by the original gauge (which I achieved), and came up with the piece above. I knit the back first so I could become familiar with the armhole and shoulder shaping before adding the complication of the vee neckline. I also knew that because it has no vee, the back would take more yarn. If I consumed more than half of my yarn while knitting it, I’d know that I needed to buy another skein. As it was, I used two and a quarter skeins out of five, so I should have enough to finish.

To confirm my noodling (and because I had the tool at hand), I pulled out Sweater Wizard and typed my measurements into that, too. I came up with a pattern that was very close to my own hand-tinkered one – minus the erasures and bogus false starts. If I end up sharing the redaction, I’ll use the Sweater Wizard product for clarity and ease of use.

One lingering worry – the shoulders. They seem wide although they are comparable to the target store bought favorite vest’s measurements. I may go back and rip them out, increasing the width of the back neck and decreasing the width of the shoulders to about 4.5 inches. More thought here is required.

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