How to choose a sweater or cardigan pattern that you'll actually wear

How to choose a sweater or cardigan pattern that you'll actually wear

There are over 11,000 crochet sweater patterns listed as available on the Ravelry database with more being released every month so how on earth do you go about picking one to make?

It’s very easy to be seduced by the latest hot patterns but a jumper or cardigan is a major investment in both yarn and time so it's important to make sure that the pattern you choose is going to turn into something you will wear time and time again. Here are three questions to ask yourself before you begin.

1/ Is it something you'll wear?

I tend to look first at the style. Is it a shape and style that you would normally pick up in a high street shop? Think about what you normally feel suits you when choosing the design. If its a sweater based on a current trend that’s perhaps a new shape you haven’t tried before consider trying a similar shape on in a store before committing to making the pattern. Having a similar favourite item to compare to helps as you can base some of your measurement decisions on it too.

For me, a lot of the decision comes from the yoke style (pictured above) and whether they are what I want from that style. The way the shoulders are constructed tends to make a big difference to the fit. For example raglan styles tend to be seen on sportier fits (think baseball tops with the contrast colour shoulders) because their constructions mean they are less restrictive around the shoulder joint. A set-in sleeve gives a classically tailored look and reduced bulk at the underarm. A drop shoulder is a classic comfort fit style. Circular yokes have no seaming at all in the yoke or shoulder area creating a smooth silhouette. Take a look at styles you like to wear from your wardrobe. You’ve probably barely considered how the shoulder is constructed before.

2/ Is the pattern good?

Next up, once I’ve established that I like and would wear the style I need to find out if I trust the designer. Not all patterns are created equally but a little homework should help you check, ideally before you buy, but at least before you launch in and spend a lot of money on yarn and time on the pattern.

Does the pattern look like its well thought through? Can you see all features of the fit from the photos? Does it look like the sweater fits the model well or are there elements like a drooping neckline that would annoy you? Unfortunately a lot of crochet patterns are based on ease of writing or making not on good fit, that’s particularly true of many that use motifs.

3/ Is it something you can make?

Next use the pattern listing to check whether it’s suitable for you. Does the size range include your size? Do you have some or all of the skills needed to make it (a good pattern should list these upfront so you can make a judgement as beginner/intermediate/advanced on its own is a bit too subjective.) If you don’t already have the skills are you willing to learn them?

What’s the cost of the suggested yarn and how many balls will your size need? If that’s out of your price range do you think you can find and afford an alternative?

If you’ve been able to answer all these questions then you’ve found the pattern for you!

You can begin your search here with our collection of trusted and true size-inclusive garment patterns


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