RECIPE: Patchwork Jumper

At the end of last year I was lucky enough to win a box of Durable Yarn Cosy Fine Faded. 1200g of yarn that I had no plans for!! It has sat waiting for the perfect project to show off the wonderful colours…

Then I saw Zeens and Rogers amazing version of the JW Anderson cardi and I was inspired!

My inspiration 😍

If you’re thinking of crocheting a patchwork garment I’d definitely recommend checking out Zeens and Rogers pattern notes. She’s included lots of really useful tips on how to create your own.

If you want to make your own jumper then you’ll need:

  • Yarn! I used 630g of DK
  • Crochet hook – I used a 3mm hook for the body and a 2.5mm hook for the ribbing
  • A measuring tape
  • An existing jumper to base your measurements on
  • A darning needle to sew in allll the ends 🤪
  • A week of annual leave – you won’t be able to put this project down once you start!

This post isn’t a pattern – it’s a recipe that gives you all the info about how I made mine so you are able to make a similar jumper, if you fancy.

How to crochet a jumper!

At the beginning of my jumper journey I thought I was making a cardigan!

I started by measuring my favourite jumper to have an idea of size. I then divided the measurements into squares. My jumper is 24inches wide and I wanted my finished garment to be cropped so I reduced the length to 20inches.

I drew a rough guide of how I planned to construct my jumper

I went for four inch squares as this was the easiest fit, mathematically, and I liked the idea of having lots of small squares rather than just a few large ones.

Then, I swatched with my chosen yarn and some different size hooks until I hit on what worked for me – a TC square of 15 stitches across and 6 rows using a 3mm hook. My tension is very loose and this hook size gave me the drape I wanted, whilst also creating a tight fabric that means I won’t have to wear another layer underneath for modesty!!

How I joined the squares

I used a chainless TC foundation to start the jumper using Cherry Hearts tutorial. It’s a really quick method of working a foundation and gives the stretch you need for the bottom of a garment.

I could have made a foundation chain in the colour I would use for the ribbing but I honestly hadn’t thought that far ahead!

I joined each square with a slip stitch on every right sided row as I went along. This means the jumper was constructed from the bottom left hand square working across with front side facing.

Hopefully you can understand the join as you go method from these pictures!!

How I chose my colours 🌈🌈🌈

There were 24 colours in the yarn pack I won and I wanted to feature them all. I wanted a random colour order for my jumper but I’m absolutely rubbish at being random ~ there’s always method in there somewhere!! ~ So I used my children as yarn choosers and just went with whatever they gave me from the big box of yarn. {I can totally recommend this method!}

I tried to use each colour once on each section before moving on to any duplication needed. I think the colour order has worked really well although there are some areas where two similar colours, or even the same colours, meet I think this adds to the authenticity.

When I finished the back piece I decided that I actually wanted to make a jumper, rather than the cardi I had originally planned!! It seemed easier to me than fussing with two front pieces and a button band etc and I used the same calculations for the front and back of my jumper, with a few alterations on the neck so it is slightly lower on the front.

Scribbled notes on the front piece!

The evolution of the sleeves!

I love slouchy, oversized clothes and knitwear. I knew that I didn’t want a straight or skinny sleeve that would sit close to my skin. I always push my sleeves up my arm of pull them down over my hand, rather than how they are designed to sit on the wrist! I toyed with the idea of a full batwing but wasn’t sure I’d have enough yarn.

The original sleeve

I started with the sleeve above – a wide sleeve that narrowed sharply to a wrist hugging section. However I soon realised that this would not give space for the chunky ribbing I envisaged for the cuff.

The sleeve!

So I took out the two top squares and added another row of squares to the arm end.

It created what I’m lovingly referring to as a bingo wing ~ not quite a batwing but not a balloon sleeve either.

This is how it looks on

It has all the movement that I like and a lovely slouchy fit.

I formed the cuff using a foundation of DC before adding ribbing – this tutorial I wrote for a ribbed border gives a good idea of how to do this if you’ve not given it a go before. I always finish with a row of DC for a crisper look but you can go straight into TC if you prefer.

Seaming

The jumper was made in four pieces – a back, a front and two sleeves – meaning there is minimal construction and seaming needed!

Once I had finished the body pieces I sewed them together across the shoulders until I reached the points where I had reduced the stitches for the neck. Then I folded the sleeve in half and stitched it up from the wrist to arm. I sewed on the sleeves, matching up the squares on the sleeve and body, before closing the sides of the body.

Stretchy, chunky ribbing!

I had decided before I started that the garment had to have a thick ribbing on the cuffs and neck. I kept two balls of yarn back as I knew I wanted them to be mismatched. However when I came to adding the neck ribbing I realised I didn’t want any of the ribbing to match ~ so the neck, body and each cuff are done in different colours. I added the ribbing for the neck and body using the same technique as for the cuff.

I considered making a separate rib and then sewing it on for the body, however I felt this may have ended up too tight and may have made the bottom fit of the jumper too gathered.

Instead I reduced the stitches at the sides of the body and randomly across the front and back until I achieved the shape I wanted.

Ta-dah ~ the finished jumper of patchwork dreams

I can’t tell you how pleased I am with this jumper. To think I have created it entirely from an idea in my head and that it has ended up looking even better than I hoped has made me so proud.

This is the first time I’ve “winged it” with a crochet garment and I’m already planning my next.

Honestly, if I have managed this so can you and I can’t wait to hear if you’ve been inspired to start your own jumper journey!!

What to remember when making your own jumper:

  • Measure your own existing garment – use something that you enjoy wearing and that fits you well
  • Use a pen and paper to draw a basic sketch of your jumper and do look some simple maths to work out how many squares will fit best
  • You don’t have to do squares – stripes or a single colour will work too and be much quicker and simpler to crochet
  • Make a gauge swatch!!! I cannot stress the importance of this enough. This is how you will make sure that your garment fits as you want it to. Use the yarn that you plan on making your garment with and try different hook sizes until you make the square exactly the size you need.
  • Measure your garment throughout to ensure your gauge hasn’t changed and that you’re still on track to make the right size
  • Start at the bottom left using a foundation less TC then join each square as you go. I suggest starting on the back as then any mistakes you make won’t be noticeable and you’ll be well in your stride by the time you make your front piece.
  • If you want your colours to be random then find a method of choosing them completely randomly! Otherwise relax into the idea that you are curating a colour order
  • play around with the sleeves to get exactly what you want – bingo wings can be cool haha.
  • Go where the garment takes you and don’t be afraid if your inspiration and ideas change halfway through. This is the creative process, go with it!
  • Consider what you will use for the ribbing – do you plan on contrasting? How thick will you want it? Do you need to order more yarn or keep a colour back?
  • Have fun!!!

As always, if you want to see what I’m working on now I’m @Cozamundo on Instagram. You can press the icon below to follow the blog so you don’t miss out on any future posts!

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