Pattern puzzle: Vintage WW1 pattern

pattern_puzzle_vintage_ls_ww1Here’s a fun pattern I found today. Can you guess what this is? The only hints I will give you is that it is from a vintage sewing book circa WW1. Its author wrote instructions for 70 or so most needed and appreciated items one could knit or sew for soldiers in the war. I could tell you the material of which it is made but frankly, I think this would be a disservice in that it would lead you on the wrong track. I will put that information in comments but my suggestion is to not read it.

In part two I will include all source information, there are interesting things in this book and the link where I found it.

It’s your turn to guess away!


  1. Kathleen says:

    Wow! I run off to serve my husband dinner (lest he beat me) and totally forgot to post the suggested material -leather- and I already have responses! I’ll stay mum for now.

    Funny how I think some challenges are hard while others easy and invariably, everyone always surprises me.Report

  2. coco says:

    Hi Kathleen,

    It looks like a boot similar to the one they wear in Laponie and made out of Reindeer.
    the sole is in between and seams in front and back of the stem.
    Something to keep the feet warm or dry. I can imagine soldiers in trenches would need those.



  3. Michele says:

    I would say that iit is a pattern for gaiters (particularly since made of leather) – and I wish I had had this pattern when I costumed a WW 1 theatre production a few years ago!Report

  4. Katherine says:

    I’m thinking that there will be a pleat in that middle bit. I’m trying to think where you would benefit from a pleat. I’m wondering if it is knee protector for crawling along the ground. The pleats would allow the extra room required when you bent your legs. The leather would be hardy and protective.Report

  5. Michele says:

    Technically, I guess, while gaiters and spats are similar, spats are more a fashion garment and gaiters are protective wear. Also, I see in this pattern that it seems to enclose the foot, while spats as I know them tend to just go over the instep and are fastened underneath.Report

  6. dosfashionistas says:

    It looks to me as though each of the center pieces sew to the short pieces next to them, which suggests a head covering to me. Leather would not be out of place here, as WW1 soldiers are often shown wearing leather hoods or helmets. I am looking forward to the answer.Report

  7. Sabine says:

    Until I read the other comments, I was thinking maybe a cover for the gun…..
    Now, after reading the comments, Kevin’s suggestion makes the most sense to me.

    Depending on the size, it could also be something like a sleeping bag…one you can walk in, if it stays open on the bottom.

  8. Leanne Scollay says:

    Maybe boots or socks. It looks a bit like some patterns I have seen for simple toddlers boots. It appears to have has stitching lines all the way around it though, so maybe not a boot. I am puzzled.Report

  9. Marie-Christine says:

    I like the gaiter theory.
    Leather kind of blows my other guess, which would be some sort of face mask, like those great neoprene ones that keep you breathing in very cold air. But the shape would be more accentuated I think, and this one doesn’t include much space for nose. And the proportions are wrong for a surgical mask (not to mention the material!). Kevin wins :-).Report

  10. Quincunx says:

    Without looking at the comments (thank you ‘end’ button for taking me to the bottom of the page), I cast a vote for chaps, or some other sort of leg protector that throws the single seam to the outside of the leg. Something suitable for protecting the legs while on a motorcycle or a horse. . .probably a horse, then, I don’t know how much was mechanized during WWI.Report

  11. Mary in FL says:

    My first inclination was that this was a sock for people who did not know how to knit. My maternal grandfather was a teenager during that war, and he taught himself to knit so he could make socks for the troops. He told us that helping the “war effort” in many small ways was a “really big deal.”

    Since I did not read the comments until after I had written the above, and now I have read them, the two rows of stitching make more sense for leather than for fabric. In that case, I would call it a boot.Report

  12. Liz C says:

    I am going off my experience as a knitting designer here and was going to say it’s a hood/helmet of some sort, that extends into a scarf.

    But then you said leather … now I think it’s the base for a gas mask. The top, when sewn will cover the nose, and the bottom is chin-shaped.Report

  13. Gretchen says:

    I’m thinking some sort of oddball boots, with a seam up the center front. Boot covers? There seems to be a sole, so to me that means technically they’re not gaiters, although I like that theory too.Report

  14. Helen Smullen says:

    My guess is it’s a type of sock, perhaps a bootliner, obviously designed to be knit with straight needles. That would also make it easier to construct a pair at the same time, using a mirror image technique.Report

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