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Since I was about knee-high, I have always had a passion for fashion. It was only in my teens that I really found my true identity and loved to dress in anything that was considered "fashionable" at the time. Fashion fads:- Soul Girl; Trendabilly; Psychobilly; Rockabilly; 1950s style; 1940s style.

Monday, 30 June 2014

The Truth about Vintage Knitting Patterns and Copyright

Time for another blogpost, as I promised I would be blogging more often....

I became a member of the Knitting and Crochet Guild (KCG) since June last year and to be honest, apart from receiving their interesting and informative monthly newsletters and my membership card have not made proper use of my membership to actually feel part of this wonderful community.

For my £25 yearly membership I thought I should at least make good use of their huge library of vintage patterns – yippee, I was so excited and although I have amassed a huge collection of patterns myself, I thought it would be really great to have copies of patterns I don't have in my collection, thus avoiding having to purchase a copy from the various ebay and etsy sellers out there on the world-wide web, I really do hate buying copies but sometimes I see a copy of a pattern that I really want and I just have to buy it.  Any knitter with a passion for their handy artwork will agree and we have all bought copies at some time or other.

The Knitting and Crochet Guild are reputable so they would not breach copyright in providing me with copies from certain brands/names. Fair enough and to be frank and honest with you, it is the availability of copies of knitting patterns that is making it all so diluted and commercial and really does spoil the exclusivity for collectors, thus bringing down the value of original patterns. Why buy an original if you can get a copy at a fraction of the price?

I thought it would be good to share their response with my fellow knitters:- 

Patterns that are less than 70 years old are still in copyright.  KCG have permission from Coats and Thomas B Ramsden to copy their vintage leaflets which covers Patons, Scotch Wool shops, Copley, Coats, Bellmans, Wendy, Robin, Emu and Twilleys.  

Sirdar is a separate company still and Bestway are owned by IPC magazines. 

With regards to Bairnswear and Golden Eagle, they do not know who owns copyright so it would be difficult to get permission.  Does anyone out there know who owns copyright – seems a complete mystery….surely if no one claims copyright there can be no breach of copyright to sell or to photocopy them?

With respect to IPC magazines, they are not generous giving permission for copies to be available – so beware all you ebay and etsy sellers selling copies of Bestway and any other patterns, you are apparently breaching copyright if you are selling copies of patterns less than 70 years old.  Unless of course you have asked permission to do so and we all know the answer to that question don't we?  

KCG advised that anyone selling Bestway and Sirdar knitting pattern copies in particular, should not sell them unless they have the permission from IPC Media and Sirdar to sell them.

Well that certainly cleared up a bit of the myth, so basically 1930s patterns are already out of copyright.  1940-June 1944 patterns will be out of copyright by tomorrow, July 1st and so on…

Happy Knitting one and all, I hope this information was useful!


  1. Share this with all your knitting friends

  2. Your date span is off ... most patterns into the early 1960's, unless copyrights have been renewed, are in the public domain.

  3. Your date span is off ... most patterns into the early 1960's, unless copyrights have been renewed, are in the public domain.