Crochet! - - Special Feature - BY D A R L A S I M S

How many times have you wanted to make a beau­ti­ful cro­chet jacket, top or sweater pat­tern you have seen in a book or mag­a­zine, only to dis­cover that the sizes given in the in­struc­tions do not in­clude yours? By fol­low­ing the four steps out­lined in this ar­ti­cle, you can suc­cess­fully en­large pat­terns for a per­fect, pro­fes­sional look and fit re­gard­less of your size or shape.

Un­less you are adept at pat­tern draft­ing and the math­e­mat­i­cal for­mu­las re­quired, avoid cap or raglan sleeves when en­larg­ing pat­tern sizes. The drop-shoul­der-style sweater is one of the eas­i­est to en­large be­cause the sleeves are straight across the top sleeve, and the length of the sleeve is sim­ply ex­tended to fit into the arm­hole open­ing.


Most women know their bust size and sleeve length, and all too of­ten use those mea­sure­ments when de­ter­min­ing the size of pat­tern to make.

The amount of ease al­lowed (the dif­fer­ence be­tween your ac­tual mea­sure­ments and the gar­ment’s fin­ished mea­sure­ments) is rarely given con­sid­er­a­tion when you de­cide which size to cro­chet, yet it is a crit­i­cal com­po­nent when it comes to how a gar­ment fits. It is not un­usual to dis­cover that the most com­fort­able fit for a jacket or other outer gar­ment has more ease than one ex­pects. To en­sure a com­fort­able fit, you may pre­fer 6 to 8 inches of ease, which will al­low enough room for com­fort­able, un­re­stricted move­ment.

Start by choos­ing a fa­vorite cardi­gan from your own closet with a rel­a­tively sim­ple struc­ture and, most im­por­tantly, that has a com­fort­able fit.

Mea­sure your cardi­gan (see Fig. 1) and write down the fol­low­ing:

1. Bust (around the fullest part of the chest)

2. Sleeve length (un­der­arm to wrist)

3. Arm­hole depth (un­der­arm to shoul­der seam on flat gar­ment)

4. Shoul­der to shoul­der (sharp bone on each side of body)

It’s no se­cret that women come in all sizes and shapes, yet many cro­chet gar­ment pat­terns are only writ­ten for spe­cific sizes and mea­sure­ments. If you are one of many who want to know how to en­large a pat­tern size, help is at hand.

Photo A


Be­fore mak­ing any changes to the pat­tern you wish to en­large, cro­chet a swatch at least 4 inches square us­ing the yarn and hook size re­quired to ob­tain the stated gauge in the pat­tern stitch used to make the orig­i­nal gauge swatch.

Re­mem­ber, when cro­chet­ing, you are cre­at­ing fab­ric. You need this first swatch to de­ter­mine the feel and look of the fab­ric in the orig­i­nal pat­tern. Your swatch will re­veal whether the fab­ric cre­ated is firm or soft, does or doesn’t have drape, and how close or far apart stitches are placed.


Gauge is the most crit­i­cal el­e­ment of any gar­ment be­cause it de­ter­mines not only the gar­ment’s mea­sure­ments, but also the ul­ti­mate out­come. Af­ter com­plet­ing a swatch, smooth it out gen­tly, and lay it flat. Do not touch or ad­just the swatch again be­fore mea­sur­ing.

Use a slot­ted gauge and lay it flat against the swatch (see Photo A), count­ing and writ­ing down the num­ber of stitches, in­clud­ing par­tial stitches, that show within the 2-inch hor­i­zon­tal slot. Then, mea­sure and record the num­ber of rows shown in the 2-inch ver­ti­cal slot.

If the stitches that show within the slot are not full stitches, then use the 6-inch side of the gauge to mea­sure over 4 inches or more un­til you have iso­lated only a spe­cific num­ber of full stitches. Mea­sur­ing a se­cond time, over a greater num­ber of inches, also serves to en­sure that your first 2-inch mea­sure­ment is ac­cu­rate.


Af­ter com­par­ing your own mea­sure­ments to those given in your pat­tern schematic, you may be able to en­large the pat­tern sim­ply by us­ing a larger hook. For ex­am­ple, try mak­ing an­other swatch with a hook one size larger than the size called for in the pat­tern us­ing the same num­ber of stitches spec­i­fied for the first swatch. Com­pare the two swatches, writ­ing down the dif­fer­ences.

When it comes to mea­sur­ing gauge, the num­ber of stitches per inch is more im­por­tant than the num­ber of rows per inch, as it is the num­ber of stitches per inch that de­ter­mines the width of the fab­ric you cro­chet. If your row count is a bit off, you can cro­chet to the lengths given on the schematic or to the de­sired length. A 1/4- or 1/2-inch dif­fer­ence in to­tal length doesn’t make a big dif­fer­ence in how a gar­ment fits, but a dif­fer­ence of 1/4- or 1/2-stitch per inch makes a great dif­fer­ence in the width of a gar­ment.

Shown below are ex­am­ples of how gauge af­fects the width of the back of a jacket with a re­quired 20-inch width and 50 stitches (see Fig. 2). As you can see, when you smooth out a swatch and al­ter the true gauge by as lit­tle as 1/4 inch, the true dif­fer­ence in width makes a sig­nif­i­cant and usu­ally un­ex­pected al­ter­ation!

I do not rec­om­mend in­creas­ing the hook size by more than one or two sizes be­cause do­ing so causes dis­tinct changes in the fab­ric it­self. The larger the hook size, the looser and more stretchy the fab­ric be­comes, re­sult­ing in the loss of the in­tegrity of the fab­ric it­self. Chang­ing hook sizes by more than one size works best for lacy fab­rics, granny squares or mo­tifs.

This tech­nique is best used for items other than gar­ments such as afghans, hand­bags, pil­lows or other items where spe­cific mea­sure­ments are not as crit­i­cal as those needed for well-fit­ting gar­ments.

Us­ing your swatch and gauge, you can now cal­cu­late the num­ber of stitches re­quired for the width of the fin­ished size you de­sire. The fol­low­ing ex­am­ple ex­plains this process.


De­ter­mine how much you want to en­large your pro­ject and write that down. The back will be half that amount. Then mul­ti­ply the num­ber of stitches per inch by the back mea­sure­ment to get the to­tal of stitches needed for the back. Write this num­ber down at the bot­tom of the schematic for the back. Re­mem­ber to ad­just this num­ber to ac­count for mul­ti­ples in your stitch pat­tern. Work the back to the de­sired length or num­ber of rows to arm­hole. Fas­ten off and fol­low in­struc­tions below.

Be­fore de­duct­ing stitches for the arm­hole open­ing, check the width of the up­per sleeve, which must equal the to­tal of the front and back arm­hole depths. If you have slim arms, you may wish to make your sleeves nar­rower. If you have full arms, you may wish to widen the up­per sleeve, re­mem­ber­ing to al­ter the arm­hole depth ac­cord­ingly. For ex­am­ple, if you need an up­per arm width of 22 inches (half this num­ber re­sults in an arm­hole depth of 11 inches), mul­ti­ply 22 by your gauge to get the to­tal num­ber of stitches needed for the up­per sleeve.

Next, deduct your shoul­der-toshoul­der mea­sure­ment from the to­tal back width. Mul­ti­ply this num­ber by your gauge. Di­vide that num­ber in half to de­ter­mine the num­ber of stitches that must be skipped at both the be­gin­ning and end of the next row of the back to shape the arm­hole. Skip­ping the re­quired stitches at both the be­gin­ning and end of the next row, work even to within two rows less than de­sired length.

To de­ter­mine the num­ber of stitches for each shoul­der, you must first de­ter­mine the back neck width times the gauge. For ex­am­ple, if you wish for a back neck width of 8 inches, mul­ti­ply 8 x your gauge to de­ter­mine the num­ber of stitches.

Sub­tract the back neck stitches from the num­ber of stitches needed for the shoul­der-to-shoul­der mea­sure­ment and di­vide that an­swer in half. The an­swer is the num­ber of stitches needed for each shoul­der. Work across this same num­ber of stitches for the first shoul­der, work­ing re­main­ing rows in­di­cated in your pat­tern or un­til de­sired depth needed. Fas­ten off. Skip the back neck stitches. At­tach yarn to next stitch, and work the same to­tal num­ber of stitches as were worked for the first shoul­der. Fas­ten off.


Each front re­quires half the num­ber of stitches of the to­tal back. Di­vide the num­ber of stitches used for the back in half to de­ter­mine the num­ber of stitches re­quired for the lower width of the jacket, re­mem­ber­ing to ad­just this num­ber to ac­com­mo­date the stitch mul­ti­ple used in the pat­tern. No changes are re­quired for the arm­hole depth or for the shoul­ders as they will re­main the same as the back.

The only other change left to make is to cal­cu­late any ad­just­ments that need to be made to the front neck shap­ing, re­sult­ing in the same num­ber of stitches re­main­ing for the shoul­der as for the back. Sim­ply work even un­til it is time to work the neck shap­ing. Stop and take time to read over your pat­tern to see how many stitches you will need to ad­just to end up with the same num­ber of stitches on each shoul­der as the back. Di­vide that num­ber in half and be­gin by ini­tially in­creas­ing the num­ber of stitches at the base of the neck to skip when be­gin­ning the neck. The re­main­ing stitches can be de­creased by work­ing ad­di­tional de­crease rows. If you need to de­crease a large num­ber of stitches, you may have to be­gin your neck shap­ing a few rows sooner in the fronts. When all de­creases are com­pleted, work even un­til the front length and num­ber of rows equals that of the back.


Be­gin by de­ter­min­ing the length de­sired for the sleeves. Deduct the length of any edg­ing that is worked af­ter the sleeve is com­pleted. Write this length on the schematic. Write down (across up­per sleeve on

schematic) the to­tal num­ber of stitches re­quired to fit the arm­hole (as pre­vi­ously de­scribed). Us­ing a tape mea­sure held in a cir­cle, de­ter­mine what width is re­quired to com­fort­ably insert one hand. Use this mea­sure­ment and mul­ti­ply it by your gauge to de­ter­mine the num­ber of stitches needed for the first row of a sleeve. Deduct the num­ber of stitches in the first row (wrist) from the num­ber re­quired for the last row (up­per sleeve). Di­vide this num­ber by two—this is the num­ber of stitches that must be in­creased, at each edge of the sleeve, to achieve the to­tal needed num­ber of stitches at up­per sleeve. For ex­am­ple, if 28 stitches are re­quired for the first row, end­ing with 48 stitches across the top of the sleeve; 48 mi­nus 28 equals 20 stitches. Di­vide 20 in half, which means 10 stitches must be in­creased on each edge of the sleeve. Mul­ti­ply your row gauge by the de­sired sleeve length. As an ex­am­ple, a sleeve length of 161/2 inches times a gauge of 2 rows per inch equals 33 rows. Di­vide 33 rows by 10 (num­ber of stitches to be in­creased) to de­ter­mine how of­ten to work the in­creases. Us­ing our ex­am­ple, you would in­crease one stitch at each end of ev­ery third row 10 times to equal the needed to­tal of 20 stitches to be in­creased, and then work the re­main­ing three rows even.

The sleeve ex­ten­sion (be­yond de­sired sleeve length) is re­quired to fit into the arm­hole and must match the mea­sure­ment of the skipped stitches as closely as pos­si­ble. Mea­sure the arm­hole open­ing and work evenly in the pat­tern on the sleeve for the to­tal num­ber of inches needed and fas­ten off.

The four steps de­tailed above can be used for most gar­ments us­ing sim­ple stitch pat­terns. Re­gard­less of your size or shape, you, too, can now have com­fort­able, per­fect-fit­ting cro­cheted gar­ments. C!




An­niesYarnShop.com 5 sc = 1 inch; rows 1– 10 = 3 inches Take time to check gauge. Re­peat or delete rows 4– 7 as needed to lengthen or shorten Bracelet. Weave in loose ends as work pro­gresses. Chain- 5 at be­gin­ning of row counts as first dou­ble tre­ble cro­chet and chain- 1 un­less oth­er­wise stated. Row 1 (RS): Ch 12, sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across, turn. ( 11 sc) Rows 2 & 3: Ch 1, sc in each sc across, turn. Row 4: Ch 5 ( see Pat­tern Notes), sk next sc, dtr ( see Stitch Guide) in next sc, [ch 1, sk next sc, dtr in next sc] 4 times, turn. ( 6 tr, 5 chs)


In­struc­tions given fit size small; changes for medium, large, X- large, 2X- large and 3X- large are in [ ].


Bust ( closed): 34 inches ( small) [ 38 inches ( medium), 411/2 inches ( large), 461/2 inches ( X- large), 50 inches ( 2X- large), 54 inches ( 3X- large)]


• Ply­mouth Yarn Linen Con­certo light ( DK) weight rayon/ linen/ cot­ton yarn ( 13/4 oz/ 101 yds/ 50g per ball): 8 [ 9, 10, 11, 12, 13] balls # 0006 cham­bray • Sizes C/ 2/ 2.75mm and D/ 3/ 3.25mm cro­chet hooks or size needed to ob­tain gauge • Tapestry nee­dle • Stitch marker • 1- inch but­tons: 3


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