Crocheting Sweaters from the Top Down

Jan 23, 2012

Stepping Stones Cardigan by Kristin Omdahl

The best thing about shopping off the rack is that you can try on multiple sizes to find the best fit. The worst thing is that frequently none of the sizes really give you that perfect fit.

That perfectly tailored fit is the reason I love to make my own crocheted sweaters. You can modify the pattern to highlight your figure, adding extra coverage at the bust or a nip at the waistline. And when it comes to modifying a sweater, the easiest design to alter is a garment crocheted from the top down.

Sera Lace Top by Doris Cha

Top-down sweaters begin with the neckline and are crocheted in one piece from the neckline to the hem. The yoke is worked down from the neckline foundation with increases at the front and back of each shoulder (use stitch markers to mark the increases as you go). The shoulder increases are beautifully defined in Doris Chan's Sera Lace Top. Lace, colorwork, and textured patterning are all easily adapted to top-down crochet.

This construction method lets you try the sweater on as you go, allowing you to determine if you need to add short-row shaping at the bust or move the waistline shaping. I always have to move the waist shaping up to fit my short torso, so I especially love this feature.

Kristi Cardigan by Dora Ohrenstein

After the yoke has been worked, the garment is separated for the front, back, and sleeves. As you work the front, back, and sides of the sweater, you can try it on frequently to check the fit. Sleeves are worked by joining the yarn at the armhole and working in rounds.

Northern Dreams Pullover by
Julia Vaconsin

For a perfect fit, download a great top-down sweater pattern today and check out the great sale going on this weekend in the Crochet Me Shop.


Best wishes,


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NorahW wrote
on Jan 23, 2012 8:29 PM

Northern Dreams isn't top-down though.  The bottom part and sleeves are crocheted from the bottom up in the round.   Then they're joined for the yoke, which is then crocheted in the round.