Thursday, January 30, 2014

Vintage Thursday: The Little Princess Baby Bootees

Don't let the name dissuade you; the Little Princess Baby Bootees are great unisex baby booties. There's none of the funky feminine frills found in some of the other vintage booklets I have. (And believe me, there is quite a bit in those. I may have to work some them up to prove it.) I knit a lot of bootees when I was expecting V., and these became my favorite. They are now invariably my go-to gifted bootees - virtually everyone I know who has had new baby around me has a pair of these from me. The perks to this pattern, aside from it's comparative readability, is the simplicity of the design and the fact that V. could not wiggle or kick them off. (That in itself was worth any amount of knitting fuss.)

Knit with Regia sock yarn on US #1 (2.25 mm) dpns
I love these bootees SO much, I am passing the pattern on to you. It is from Bear Brand-Bucilla Baby Book Volume 328, last copyrighted in 1944, so it is now in the public domain. I could just scan the pattern and try to sell it to you, but that somehow feels cheap to me. No offense to those who have done just that - I am grateful to you, since I use those patterns! But being the perfectionist I am, I don't feel like I'm working for it enough if I do that. However, in future I will offer for sale vintage patterns, with the catch that I will also include my interpretation of the pattern and knit a sample up myself, if possible. That seems far more appropriate.

The much loved (a.k.a. falling apart) cover of my copy.
And now, on to the pattern!

Little Princess Baby Bootees #1874

The Little Princess Baby Bootees are part of a set, but I've only included the bootees here.

I find that just about any fingering weight yarn will do. I've knit these bootees in everything from the coarser sock yarn like Regia or Jawoll to very soft, all merino yarn that has no added nylon. I used US #1 (2.25 mm) dpns, and found that the the sizing is pretty much correct: sometimes the bootees fit an infant, and sometimes a 3 month old, sometimes older. Kids vary.

As far as working the actual pattern is concerned, when it came to decreasing the sole I worked "k2tog, ssk" rather than "k2 tog twice," simply because it's more symmetrical, and I used the three needle bind off inside of a conventionally bound off and sewn seam. I also didn't make tassels; those instructions were not included anywhere in the booklet. I suppose knitters in 1944 just knew how to make tassels. (Along with argyle socks.)

I hope you enjoyed these bootees! Please feel free to comment with any questions or remarks.


Anonymous said...

I have had this pattern since I inherited it from my grandmother. I started making the booties at around age 13. I've made so many that I have the pattern memorized, but I have lost the directions for the sweater and bonnet. I would love, love ,love to have the complete pattern. I'm now 55 and starting to make things for future grandchildren. This would be a great connection to my grandmother. She died when I was a baby.

Christine Jewett said...


I'll see what I can do about that. :)