Sock Hop Cardigan Sweater: How To Make A 50’s Style Sweater

sock hop cardigan sweater - knitpicks-brava-cotton-candy
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Sock Hop Cardigan Sweater!  It’s what you need if you’re ready to rock around the clock.

For Halloween 2016 why not dress like a 1950’s glamour girl or maybe the cutest girl at the sock hop?  The sweater has been a favorite of mine since it was made popular in the 1950s.

Take a gray circle skirt with a cinch belt, a white shirt with a pink cardigan, a pair of saddle shoes, bobby socks and you have a classic sock hop costume!

Sock Hop Cardigan Sweater Styles!

I still love the dusty rose color of the cropped cardigan trimmed with white angora and embellished with a poodle design.

However, the sweater comes in many shades of pink from the dusty rose to cotton candy and pink ice.

Don’t have time to knit? ==> Go retro and pick one of these 50’s vintage sweaters and accessories.  Our sample cardigan coming shortly – we’re studying the different “fit” of 1950’s style knitwear.  Make your 1950’s costume as authentic as possible with the best selection of accessories! Hip Hop 50s Shop Adult 4 Piece Poodle Skirt Costume Set Hot Pink XSmall/Small

Need a sparkly finishing touch for your cardigan? Here’s a huge selection of beautiful vintage 1950’s sweater clips. Which one is my favorite? This one!

The waist-length cardigan comes in several different styles:

  • Buttoned from neck to waist with pearl buttons,
  • As part of a twin set in a pastel color, with Mom’s rhinestone brooch,
  • Bolero style with a curved front edging and a minimum of embellishment,
  • Totally unadorned in fine gauge knit (wear that statement sweater clip) or
  • Embellished and embroidered to the point of qualifying as formal wear!

Check out this floral embroidered cardigan with rhinestone buttons.  Look through this collection of sock hop cardigan sweaters!  You’ll find the cardigan of your dreams – the one Mom wore when she went to the Hop or Grandma’s 1940’s pin up girl sweater (that’s the next pattern!).

If the cardigan sweater is not your style, consider a tight, off the shoulder look as worn by Sandy in Grease.

sock hop cardigan sweaters

Copyright 1953 – First Edition. Cover cardigan knit in fingering weight 100% virgin wool – Color is Opal Pink.

Deconstructing A Vintage Knitting Pattern

Wondering about the yarns used to knit the above pattern? The cardigan featured on the cover of the pattern booklet is knit in fingering weight 100% virgin wool yarn called Opal Pink.


Patterns in the booklet are knit in 100% Orlon, Orlon with non-tarnishing metallic threads, wool and nylon, and virgin wool.


Popular colors for these glamour sweaters?

  • Pink and Silver
  • Baby Blue
  • White and Gold
  • Opal Pink
  • Pearl and Silver
  • Hyacinth and Silver
  • Champagne

50s Sizing & Cardigan Measurements:

These cardigan sweaters were drafted and designed to have zero wearing ease.  Very fitted is the style of the 1050’s but when it comes to sizing, it is obvious we would all have to rethink the size we wear today.

I do remember when the sewing patterns made an abrupt change in sizing but I can’t imagine how we went from the adult sizes in this booklet [listed below] to our current “standard” sizing chart.  My pattern will follow current adult sizing and measurements in a fitted or very fitted style.

Size Bust Waist Hips
12 30″ 25″ 33″
14 32″ 26 1/2″ 35″
16 34″ 28″ 37″
18 36″ 30″ 39″
20 38″ 32″ 41″

At The Sock Hop Sweater: A Guide To Finding The Best Knitting Yarns

A lovely shade of pink is my color choice for this very feminine cardigan.

I’ve seen the sweater in red and gray but accessories come in a rainbow of colors including bright yellow, turquoise and black.

The choice of color for the cardigan depends entirely on the color of the skirt.

Pinks are absent from the color range we normally order from for our custom made knitwear products.

It was fun to research and compare shades of rose in wool and acrylic.

Wool fibers always offer a richer selection of shades than acrylic yarns.  However,  there are nice colors in premium synthetic fibers.

So look at the knitting project from this angle – Is this a costume prop or a keeper – as in “I’ll wear this sweater again” ?

sock hop cardigan sweater - knitpicks-brava-cotton-candy

Brava(TM) Worsted Weight 100% Acrylic in Cotton Candy Pink

Top Pink Yarns For A Quick Knitting Project!

We need some knit-along music for this project! Bill’s little tune is just what the doctor ordered.


Now that we have a knitting pattern in mind for our sock hop cardigan sweater, let’s find the perfect yarn.

It’s hard to narrow it down to a single style so we’ll be knitting more than one sock hop sweater – acrylic for a costume prop with appliqués and wool for an embroidered cardigan.

Am suddenly feeling quite nostalgic and missing my Pringle of Scotland jade-colored twin set. 🙂


I ordered  Brava© Worsted from KnitPicks in Cotton Candy to knit the costume prop version of the sock hop cardigan sweater.

Brava© offers a huge selection of beautiful colors in an affordable and quality premium acrylic!  When knitting with acrylic,  buy the best synthetic fibers.   Shhhh… I also ordered some for another new pullover sweater.

One of the main reasons I love Brava(TM) is the incredible yardage per skein!  It’s economical at 218 yards per 100 gram ball and, as a worsted weight yarn, knits up quickly.

The stitch gauge is 4 1/2 to 5 stitches to an inch on U.S. size #7 or size #8 knitting needles.

Oh…did I mention that it is machine wash and dry on low?  Yes. 🙂  It’s a win-win yarn for a host of knitting projects.

We’re writing out the pattern to match our stitch and row gauge as we knit the cardigan.  Stay tuned…

Cascade© Yarns:

Cascade 220 in #24 – Candy Pink is the perfect color – in my opinion.   It’s a sportweight superwash wool yarn that knits up smoothly on U.S. size #5 or #6 needles with a gauge of 5 1/2 to 6 stitches to the inch.   Yardage is just a wee bit over 136 yards in a 50 gram ball. You can select a solid color or a heather.

Although my first choice is a classic solid pink, “Peony Pink” would make a spectacula vintage styled cardigan.  If pink is you favorite color and worsted is the weight, be sure to look at the Strawberry Cream color.   You’ll be happy to know that it also comes in sports weight!

Red Heart© Soft:

Acrylic yarns like  Red Heart© yarns are readily available in local crafts stores.  They are often on sale in stores like Joann, Michael’s and A.C.Moore.

If you are going to knit with Red Heart©, pick the “Soft®” over the worsted weight super saver, especially for this cardigan.  Super Saver® yarns scream synthetic fibers to the touch.  Soft® knits up smoothly and is much more confortable to wear!  The only way to soften worsted weight Red Heart© is to steam block it – very carefully!

 Coats Yarn Red Heart Soft Yarn, Pink Red Heart Jumbo Yarn, Pretty N Pink RED HEART Super Saver Yarn, Perfect Pink RED HEART Super Saver Yarn, Petal Pink

Here are three very different looks to create a 1950’s Sock Hop costume.  If you prefer not to wear a sock hop cardigan sweater, a clingy jersey knit top will work well too.

 California Costumes Child’s 50’s Sweetheart Costume, Pink/Black, Medium Rubie’s Fabulous 50’s Polka Dot Sock Hop Girl, Multicolored, One Size Costume Adult Poodle Skirt with Musical Note printed Scarf Hot Pink by Kidcostumes

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