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Sleeveless Pullover for the Navy, Army and Air Force

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Cover of a world war two knitting booklet

from Guide to Knitting for the Services by the Australian Comforts Fund, 1940

Materials and Size

For the Army: About 9 oz of 4-ply wool (fingering weight), any color, to be knitted with round neck as in pattern.

For the Navy and Air Force: Navy blue only

1 pair UK No. 12/2.75mm/US 2 needles, 1 pair UK No. 9/3.75mm/US 5 needles,

4 UK No. 12/2.75mm/US 2 needles pointed at each end.

Note from Sarah: Whilst this pattern does not state what the two sizes available are, the previous pattern in the booklet had sizes 38″ and 40″ for the chest measurement of the garment. It is safe to assume the sizes for this garment are the same.


Gauge was not stated in the original pattern, however using the size information and number of stitches after the ribbing, it should be 28sts to 4″ on larger needles in the pattern stitch


For Round Neck (see below for the v-neck)

Instructions are written for the smaller size. Instructions for larger size are written in brackets: ( )


Use smaller needles, and cast on 128 (140) stitches loosely.

Work K1, P1 rib for 7½ inches

Change to larger needles, and cast on 1 extra stitch, making 129 (141) stitches. Knit 2, purl 2, all along row, ending with 1 plain.

Repeat this row for 9 (10) inches.

Cast off 16 stitches at the beginning of each of the next 2 rows for armholes

Continue pattern for 9 (10) inches without alteration.

Work shoulder and neck as follows, working in pattern throughout

Knit 33 (37), cast off 31 (35), knit 33 (37).

Leave first 33 (37) stitches on spare needle.

Work second 33 (37) stitches for 1 inch and cast off.

Break off wool.

Finish other shoulder in similar manner.


Round Neck: Knit front exactly as back, till 4 (5) inches above the armholes.

Knit 37 (41), put next 23 (27) on a stitch holder, Knit 37 (41).

Knit back to neck, turn, knit 2 together, knit to end of row

Repeat these 2 rows 3 times.

Knit 33 stitches (37) for 3½ inches. Cast off.

Knit other shoulder in similar manner.

Sew shoulder and underarm seams.


With double pointed needles in smaller size, pick up 23 (27) stitches from your stitch holder, 43 on first side, 31 (35) on back, and 43 on second side.

Work k1, p1 rib for 1½ inches. Cast off loosely.


Pick up 140 (150) stitches evenly round each armhole with double pointed needles in smaller size.

Work k1, p1 rib for 1¼ inches.

Cast off loosely.

*** V-Neck Front

Knit exactly as back up to armhole.

Keeping stitch pattern correct throughout, cast off 16 stitches at the beginning of each of the next two rows.

Knit 47, turn. Knit to the end of the row.

Next 2 rows without decreasing.

Knit 45, work 2 together. Turn.

Knit to the end of the row.

Next 2 rows without decreasing.

Knit 44, work 2 together.

Decrease in similar way at neck every 2nd row till 33 stitches remain and continue until work measures 9 inches from armhole.

Cast off.

Other side of the neck

Cast off 3 stitches, knit to the end of row. Turn.

Knit 45, 2 together. Turn.

Knit to the end of the row.

Next rows without decreasing.

Finish in similar way to other shoulder.

Sew shoulder and under arm seams.

Neck Band

Start at V of neck. Pick up 67 stitches on 1st side of V, 31 on back, 67 on second side.

Knit round in 1 plain 1 purl rib for 1¼ inches.

Cast off loosely. Mitre V neatly.

The original publication of this pattern is in the public domain, however this modernised version for today’s knitter with added clarifications is copyright Sarah Bradberry, May 30th 2012. All rights reserved.

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