Have you been on a mission to crochet your own clothing only to feel let down when you finish your crochet wearables? Maybe you are finding it difficult to adjust crochet patterns to your size or fit needs… maybe the finished items look nothing like the garment in the photos… maybe you struggle to style the items in a way that you feel you will actually wear out of the house… maybe you are feeling ready to give up on crocheted garments altogether…. I am here to tell you NOT to give up!!!
Everyone should feel confident and empowered to crochet their own clothing but I will admit it can be intimidating. I learned to crochet in high school (circa ~2004 ish…) and didn’t try to tackle my first wearable until 2013 or so (which was a complete disaster of a knit cocoon sweater 🤣) and then tried another knit sweater around 2015 that I wanted SO badly to love but hated the way it fit me–despite me making the correct size. I feel like there are SO many patterns out there and SO many designers it can be overwhelming for people looking to make their first garment, to find the RIGHT pattern to fit their needs. I wanted to share a few tips to help you navigate the options that are out there and avoid being let down after hours, weeks or even months of work!
Feel free to watch the live chat on this topic in the video below OR you can scroll down to read through the full post! 🙂
Be sure the pattern has instructions for YOUR size & measurements!
This is extremely important because the last thing you want to have to do when you are new to crocheting clothing is to have to play the guessing game with fit! I was also quite intimidated by “made to measure” style patterns and find that for newbies, a pattern with specific stitch counts for each size makes it feel less overwhelming and less like guess work. Steer clear of one size fits all style patterns–at least until you have a few successful garments under your belt and feel confident in making changes and adjustments as you go. Look for size inclusive patterns that say they are written with instructions for multiple sizes (example: “written for XS,S,M,L,XL,2X,3X,4X,5X” or “written for sizes XS-5X”). You may also find bust measurements available for your size which can be even more helpful when you are between sizes are aren’t 100% sure that your tried and true size will work for the garment in question!
Keep in mind, if you are looking on sites like Etsy or Ravelry, some patterns will not have ALL of this information listed in the description of the pattern. You may have to purchase the pattern to view a measurement or sizing chart but you can always try reaching out to the designer for those measurements before purchasing the pattern if you are concerned.
Look for patterns with photos of more than one body type wearing the garment!
This is something I have started to see more and more as the crochet community has pushed for designers to be more size inclusive and to showcase and credit their pattern testers more. When I post a pattern on Etsy or Ravelry, I try to include photos of every single one of my testers wearing their final garments. Not only does this showcase their hard work, it also allows people to truly see what the garment looks like on all different types of bodies. This makes it easier for people to feel confident that the design will look great on them no matter their size!
Read the Reviews!
If in doubt, be sure to look at the reviews on the designers’ shop! Etsy makes this pretty easy and although Ravelry doesn’t have a place for “reviews” it does have a place for finished projects so you may be able to see how other people’s garments turned out and see their notes about the project! If there are no reviews or projects you can find on the pattern, another option would be to check out the designers social media accounts–which leads me to my next tip!
Check out the designer’s social media accounts!
Sometimes newer designers don’t have as many sales (meaning less reviews) so it might be MORE helpful to check out their social media page! See if you can find the designer on Instagram or Facebook and see if they have posted photos of their testers’ finished projects for the pattern in question! If you don’t see anyone other than them wearing the design on their feed, you can also look at photos they have been tagged in to see if you can find anyone else who has completed the garment you are interested in making.
Do a Gauge Swatch…. Stop Laughing… I’m serious! 🤣
No matter how much research you do before purchasing a pattern, it won’t matter if you don’t take the time to make sure your tension is the same as the designer. This is where gauge comes in! We all crochet with different tensions and the person who designed the pattern you are eyeing, might crochet super tight and you might crochet very loosely, this means your project could end up WAY bigger than it is supposed to unless you make adjustments (like using a smaller hook than the designer recommends). If the idea of making a gauge swatch feel overwhelming, don’t fret!!! Just like everything else it takes practice!! The more you try it the easier it will get. If you decide to say “F*ck it!”, and skip the gauge swatch anyway, at least be sure to use the yarn weight and hook recommended by the designer!
If you are new to gauge and swatching, I have an entire blog post and YouTube video dedicated to it!!! I also sell tools that make checking your gauge easier here in our Etsy shop!
Check to see how responsive the designer is!
This is a tip from one of my testers (and fiber bffs!) who likes to check and see how responsive a designer is before purchasing a pattern from them. This way, Dif they have questions about the pattern, they know whether or not the designer will be willing to take the time to respond and help them out. The easiest way to do this it to send the designer a message with a question about the pattern to see how long it takes them to respond (if they respond at all). This is a great option if it is a new (to you) designer who may not have a ton of reviews or who you are a little iffy about whether you want to invest in the pattern.