Pattern of
the Month

On the Needles
(...and Off the Needles)



Vintage Patterns

About the
Idle Hands

Archive entry for September 2013

« August 2013 | Main | October 2013 »

September 2013

Chic Beret and Outsize Bag


Elegantly modelled on location in the Boulevard des Capucines for Paris in Focus showing "hand knits from Paris: top fashion to knit in bulky wool"


The bag is knitted in a variation on fisherman's rib, or brioche stitch, while the beret is plain.


Cast on 72 stitches and work 2½ ins. k1, p1 rib, working into the back of every stitch to give a twisted rib.

Shape crown as follows:

1st row: * k8, increase 1 by picking up horizontal thread lying before next stitch and knitting into back of it; repeat from * last 8 stitches, k8. [80 sts]
2nd row: (k1, p15) 5 times.
3rd row: (k15, p1) 5 times.
Repeat 2nd and 3rd rows twice more.

8th row: (k1, p1, increase 1 by picking up horizontal thread lying before next stitch and purling into back of it, p13, increase 1 as before, p1) 5 times: 90 stitches
9th row: (k17, p1) 5 times.
10th row: (K1, p17) 5 times.
Repeat the last 2 rows twice more.

15th row: (k2togtbl, k13, k2tog, p1) 5 times.
16th row: (k1, p15) 5 times.
17th row: (k15, p1) 5 times.
Repeat the last 2 rows once more.

20th row: (k1, p15) 5 times.
21st row: (k2togtbl, k11, k2tog, p1) 5 times.
22nd row: (k1, p13) 5 times.
23rd row: (k13, p1) 5 times.
24th row: (k1, p13) 5 times.
25th row: (k2togtbl, k9, k2tog, p1) 5 times.
26th row: (k1, p11) 5 times.
27th row: (k2togtbl, k7, k2tog, p1) 5 times.
28th row: (k1, p9) 5 times.
29th row: (k2togtbl, k5, k2tog, p1)5 times.
30th row: (k1, p7)5 times.

Continue decreasing 2 stitches thus in each stocking-stitch panel until 20 stitches remain.
Next Row: (k2tog) 10 times.
Next Row: (p2 tog.) 5 times.

Break wool, thread through remaining stitches, draw up and fasten off.

Stalk: Cast on 7 stitches and work 4 rows stocking-stitch; cast off.

Making up - beret

Press beret lightly on wrong side under a damp cloth, avoiding ribbing.
Roll stalk lengthways and stitch down, then sew firmly to top of beret.

Bag Sides (make two)

Starting at base edge, cast on 60 stitches and work 1 row k1, p1 rib.

Change to fancy rib pattern as follows:-

Next Row: slip 1 knitwise, * p1, knit into next stitch but through loop of row below at the same time slipping stitch above off needle; repeat from * to last stitch, p1.

Repeat this row until piece measures 10 ins.
Continue in pattern casting off 7 stitches at the beginning of the next 2 rows.
Work 4 rows straight.
Cast off in pattern.

Make another piece the same.


Cast on 14 stitches and work in rib pattern exactly as for main part until piece measures 12 ins, slightly stretched.
Cast off in pattern.

Making up - bag

Make a hem across each piece of main part by folding over narrow piece at top to wrong side.
Cut lining to match front, back and base allowing a little extra for seams.
Join side seams of main part of bag with a flat seam (cast off stitches between hems form sides of bag).
Cover one side of cardboard strip by sticking down lining material for inside of bag. Now cover other side of cardboard base with knitted strip and stitch firmly to lining material all round edge.
Join side edges of lining material but do not turn to right side. Now fold back ½ an inch to the wrong side all round one edge of lining; sew this edge in position to base lining, pleating it at corners, so that right side of lining will be facing when you look into bag.
Place lining inside main part of bag, then join main part to knitted part of base very firmly all round edge.
Stitch top of lining in position ¾ inch down from top edge.
Unscrew ends of bars on frame, then slip each bar through hems. Place ends of bars into holes on frame bringing sides of bag inside ends of frame; screw knobs into position.
[Editor's note: The instructions in italics refer to a specific sort of frame - you will need to fit the handle according to the type you purchase.]


Beret: 2 hanks Patons Big Ben Knitting.
Bag: 7 hanks.
(Original colour: Black Watch 6141)

One pair of number 4 (6mm) needles.

Lining material for bag approximately 21 inches square.

Cardboard or stiffening for base 12x3½ inches;

9½ inch bag frame.
[Editor's note: Since you will be using a substitute yarn, I would wait until you have finished the bag and measure the opening before buying the handle.]


Equivalent to a basic tension of 15 stitches to 4 inches in stocking-stitch on No 4 needles.

Size matters

Beret: average size.
Bag: width at widest part: 13 ins; depth: 10 ins; width of base: 4 ins.


k2tog: decrease by knitting 2 sts together.

k2togtbl: decrease by knitting 2 sts together through back loops, sometimes called ssk (slip 1 knitwise, slip 1 knitwise, place 2 sts back on left needle and knit 2 slipped sts together through back loops).

A Word on the Wool

I don't know the size of the Big Ben hanks, but I am guessing they were at least 2oz (around 50g). My experience with chunky weight yarn bags leads me to guess that at least 6 50g balls might be required.


In transposing any pattern it is always a risk that errors will be introduced, in spite of dedicated proof reading.
If you have any problems with this pattern, please and I will try and assist.




© Christina Coutts 2007

Helpful Stuff

Pattern Archive


Yarn Links

Fabric etc

Stuff to do

  • Little rabbits
  • V&A 1940s Patterns
  • Monkey Socks
  • Necktie Bag
  • Posh Gloves
  • Criss-cross coasters