Fabulous You!

Earlier this week, we talked about how you can make a few simple alterations to your crochet garment patterns to achieve a better fit. Today we share a few tips on choosing the best garment shape or style to flatter your body type.

The abundance of patterns available can be mind boggling, but most fall into one of four basic garment styles; set-in sleeves, raglan, drop shoulder, or circular yoke. Each shape has distinctive characteristics that accentuate the body in different ways, and knowing a little bit about their construction will help you choose the style that is best for you.

Here are a few characteristics for each garment style.

 

Set-in Sleeves

Set In Sleeves

Garments with set-in sleeve shaping have a more defined silhouette. The garment is constructed to place the armhole seam at the shoulder which creates a vertical line that is flattering to all body types. Garments can be more fitted with negative or no ease, but can also include up to 2-4” of ease over your bust measurement. Remember a garment is more flattering if it skims the body and fits your curves, even if you are not “model thin.”

Garments constructed with set-in sleeves are perfect for tailored pullover sweaters, jackets, and cardigans which are body skimming and figure flattering.

 

Raglan

Raglan in Pieces

The raglan sleeve is a favorite choice among garment designers. It can be crocheted seamlessly when worked from the neckline continuing to the body and sleeves, or it can be constructed using more traditional methods, making separate front, back, and sleeves which are later seamed together. Its distinctive shape creates a visual line that begins in the neckline and extends to the underarm. Although currently popular, a garment with raglan sleeves is not always the best choice. The visual line narrows the shoulders and gives the illusion of a larger chest. This style is a good choice for women with larger shoulders and a smaller bust, as it gives a more balanced appearance to the body. That said, you may still find raglan patterns that will look beautiful on any body type – look for garments that have enough pattern to camouflage the seam line making the raglan shaping less noticeable.

Raglan shaping is used for all types of garments including sweaters, cardigans, and jackets and look best on women that are proportionally balanced between the shoulders and the chest.

 

Drop Shoulder

Drop Shoulder

Garments constructed with a drop shoulder sleeve are often rated as “easy to make.” The front and back pieces of the garment typically have no shaping except for the neckline, and the sleeves may have some shaping from wrist to upper arm. A sweater constructed in this style tends to be oversized (at least 4” over chest) as more room is needed to create a comfortable armhole. Because the armhole is deeper there is more bulk between the body and the upper arm which can add visual weight. Also the seam line between the body and the sleeve drops over the natural shoulder falling at the top of the upper arm creating a horizontal line which can visually accentuate the bust. While great for oversized outdoor garments, steer clear of this style if you are looking to create a slimmer silhouette.

The casual oversized look of the drop shoulder is a good choice for outdoor sweaters, both pullovers and cardigans.

 

Round Yoke

Round Yoke

Round yoke garments can be constructed from the top down or begun at the body hem making the sleeves separately, and then joining at the underarm completing the yoke in one piece. The round yoke provides a nice place for design elements which frame the face. This recognizable shaping was popular in the traditional sweaters from Iceland using a heavy bulky wool to create the patterned yoke. You may also see the round yoke used in the construction of baby sweaters too.

Round yoke shaping has become a popular design feature for lighter weight indoor sweaters and cardigans. This style looks wonderful on most women, but also works well for women with a larger bust or an hourglass shape.

Now that you have a few more tips on how to crochet the most flattering garment for yourself, take a field trip to your favorite clothing store and spend some time trying on different garments to determine which ones look best on you. Better yet, go with a friend and give each other feedback. Afterwards, treat yourself to a latte and some crochet time together!

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Finding a Fabulous Fit

Have you thought about crocheting one of the lovely fashion garments in Crochet World and wondered if you would be happy with the results? We realize that crocheting a garment is a big investment of time, and the last thing you want is to end up with a garment that doesn’t look fabulous on you.

In the October issue of Crochet World, there is a beautiful cardigan designed by Laura Gebhardt. The classic styling of the Baffin Bay Cardigan is a good choice for all body types, but taking time to check a few things before you start will help you achieve a great customized fit!

Baffin Bay Cardigan

Baffin Bay Cardigan

Here are a few pointers-

Before beginning your project, read over the pattern. Are there any terms or techniques that are unfamiliar to you? Take the time to familiarize yourself with terminology and practice any techniques that might be new to you.

Check the sizing in the pattern. Although we use the industry specifications from the Craft Yarn Council when sizing our patterns, always check the Finished Measurements section of the pattern. Assuming a ‘medium’ is the right size just because you always wear that size can lead to disappointing results. I am sure you have experienced buying garments from different clothing manufacturers discovering a ‘medium’ from one manufacturer fits great, while another is just too small. The best way to decide what size will give you the best fit, is to measure a favorite sweater in a style similar to the one you are planning to crochet. Lay your favorite sweater flat and measure across the chest just below the underarm. Once you have that measurement find the closest size in the Finished Measurements section of the pattern and make that size.

Avoid mistakes. Simple mistakes can go unnoticed until you are well into your pattern, so once you determine the correct size to crochet, go through the pattern and circle or highlight all corresponding info for that size.

Measure yourself and make adjustments as needed. People come in all shapes and sizes, so not every pattern will give a custom fit without making a few changes. For example, you can lengthen or shorten the body of the garment by adding or deleting the desired number of even-stitch rows. You can also shorten or lengthen sleeves after all the sleeve shaping has been completed.

Keep notes. Record any changes you make to the pattern so you can repeat the same adjustments throughout the pattern.

Block your finished garment. Take the time to wash (according to the yarn label) and lay your garment flat, shaping it to your finished measurements when you have completed your project. This step is crucial for professional results!

Following these few simple suggestions will help improve the fit of your garments and win you the compliments you deserve!

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The Blessing in a Blanket

Earlier this week I talked about how things we crochet for others can often make such a difference in their lives. So often we never know the end results of how our charitable crochet acts really can affect a change in someone’s life. Sometimes, it’s in miraculous ways we can’t even imagine. I think you’ll agree that is the case in this amazing story of a crocheted baby blanket that I came across online.

If this story has inspired you to crochet a sweet baby blanket for someone special or for charity, you can find a variety of free baby blanket patterns like these at FreePatterns.com.

Cuddly Confections

Cuddly Confections

Lace-Up Baby Blanket & Chick

Lace-Up Baby Blanket & Chick

Zig-Zag Shells

Zigzag Shells

Have you experienced something amazing or unusually rewarding because of a crochet act of kindness that you either gave or received? I’d love to hear your story!

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Cute Gift Idea for Boys!

Here at Crochet World, our readers often tell us that it’s not always easy to find items to crochet for little boys, especially toys. We think we found a great answer to that dilemma with the fun and colorful Jake the Snake, featured in the new Crochet World special issue Best Crochet Animals, Toys & Dolls, available here as a quick and easy download.

Jake the Snake

Jake the Snake

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Also on this same page be sure and check out the cool video that shows you how to make smooth, almost imperceptible color changes with the concealed color change technique used in Jake the Snake.

Christmas will be here before you know it and Jake would make a super-cute holiday gift for your favorite little boy (or girl, too!). You could make Jake in your child’s favorite colors, favorite team colors, or wouldn’t he be really cool crocheted in camouflage yarn? Jake is long enough to wrap around a child’s neck for a soft and cushy little pillow.

You can get started making Jake the Snake right away with a fun CAL (crochet-a-long) being hosted by Jake’s designer, Debra Arch, on the Crochet World Ravelry group page (if you aren’t already logged in to Ravelry, you’ll need to sign in first). In the CAL you can show off your own colorful, creative version of Jake and see what others are doing. If you’re not already a member of Ravelry, be sure and join!

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Big or Small, It All Makes a Difference

Now that we’re heading into fall and the upcoming holiday season, it’s the time of year when many crocheters turn their thoughts and talents to crocheting items for people in need. Without a doubt, the benefits of their dedicated efforts are immeasurable in helping to improve the lives of their less fortunate neighbors.

At Crochet-World.com you’ll find a list of national and world-wide charities that Annie’s (publisher of Crochet World) supports – all of which make an invaluable difference for people in need. Please be sure and check them out.

Keep in mind, too, that every day, dedicated people are also making big differences in smaller ways right in their own local areas. There are untold numbers of caring crocheters who are changing lives every day in their communities, whether individually or in groups. These dedicated stitchers are helping brighten the lives and ease the daily existence of their neighbors in need with the warm garments, blankets and baby and household items they make and donate for them.

If there’s not already a charity crochet group in your area, why not start one? Simply gathering a few crochet friends together who also want to help is a great way to begin. Before you know it, through word of mouth, you might be surprised to find your group has grown to include many hands making a lot of items! But whether you can make only a few crochet donations on your own, or many with a group, every single one is important and can change a life.

If you need some great project ideas that are ideally suited for charitable giving, be sure and check out these patterns available for quick download at E-PatternsCentral.com.

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