Thursday, 24 April 2014

Beautiful 1940’s Bolero – Bestway 900

Until a few months ago, I’d never considered knitting a bolero.  I know boleros were worn during the ‘40s, but the only ones I’ve ever seen in pictures, or have seen for sale anywhere, are evening boleros, made out of fabric. 

I have quite a few bolero patterns in my collection.  Some are just simple stocking stitch, others look seriously complicated, and what put me off tackling a number of them, was the fact that the edging was knitted separately and then sewn onto the finished garment.   Realistically, asking me to knit a strip 8 stitches wide and over 20 inches in length just isn’t going to happen.

Eventually, I happened across a pattern that made me think that knitting a bolero wasn’t going to be that bad after all.  The pattern claimed to be the perfect pattern for beginners.  A neat little bolero knitted almost entirely in rib, by one of my most favourite pattern producers, Bestway.

Like so many patterns of the era, the original called for 4 ply, but I had some Stylecraft DK meadow that I wanted to use up.  Using DK wool on a 4 ply pattern creates a bigger finished item.  Sometimes that can cause problems in a garment, especially on the shoulders, but because my knitting tension is very tight, and because of the slender design of the bolero, I didn’t have to adapt the pattern at all, I just stuck to using smaller needles. 

Sometimes I don’t always like what I’m knitting, but I am so pleased with how the bolero turned out.  I like the simplicity of the design and the square shoulders, and the tiny bit of cable is the perfect finishing touch.

The bolero was finished back in January, and sold on Etsy within 10 minutes of it being listed.  It was sold to the lovely Fleur De Guerre, and you can see a picture of her wearing the bolero here.

It is a great pattern to work from, easy enough to pick up and knit just a few rows at a time, and knitted in DK, it grows really quickly.  Because it is such a popular design, I have already made a second one, in plum, which was snapped up by a lovely lady in London.  A third, again in plum, went off to New Zealand at the beginning of this month, and just today, a fourth, this time in a vibrant blue called aster, was packed off to London.  And yes, yes I am already knitting another one, another green one, using beautiful Stylecraft meadow.  I’m beginning to think I could knit this bolero in my sleep ;-) 

The pattern really is perfect for the beginner.  If you can knit rib, then you can knit this bolero.  The tiny bit of cable on the front is only worked across 2 rows, and the back is simply rib.  If you fancy giving it a go, I have the pattern for sale in my Etsy shop as an instantly downloadable PDF, which you can find here.


  1. Hi and I grabbed a copy of this pattern from you a couple of weeks ago. I knitted it up in bright red and every time I wear it I get loads of compliments. It is very easy to knit and grows very quickly especially if you use double knit wool. It goes with so many of my outfits dress, jeans, skirts etc. I will be knitting it again in a different colour. Thanks for offering this pattern.

  2. Love it! I like a bolero for the summer, it hides my chubby arms :)

  3. It says all sold on Etsy. Do you still have a copy for sale please

    1. I have just updated the listing so the pattern is now available again :-)

  4. This is a lovely pattern, I like the array of colours that you have made it in. I like boleros for evenings and for the summer, especially with dresses with nice fabric as not too much of it gets covered up. What size does it come up if you knit it in dk?

  5. I always love the patterns you choose to knit. I must knit this super cute bolero! :-)