Designing a Crochet Garment from a Sewing Pattern, Part 1

I decided to start designing a garment today (it’s a long process, but if I don’t get started, it’ll never get done!). Last Fall, I took a class at the CGOA Conference in Greensboro, NC, taught by Joan Davis, called “Crochet Fabulous Fashions from Commercial Sewing Patterns”. In the class, I learned some things about designing a crochet garment and I’m ready to give it a try! Anyway, I’m going to design a garment using the sizes and shapes of the pieces in a particular sewing pattern and see how it works out (hopefully it will look great or it’ll be back to the drawing board for me!).

I decided I wanted stronger pattern pieces than the pattern has in it so they wouldn’t get torn too easily. I also wanted to keep an uncut original pattern with the 3 sizes that the pattern comes with intact (to make sizing the crochet garment pattern easier to do later on). So I got started with tracing the sewing pattern pieces for the garment I want to make.

Step 1

The first thing I needed to do was read the pattern, cut apart the pattern pieces and decide which size I wanted to make. Then I taped the pieces, one at a time, to my sliding glass door like this:




Step 2




After taping the pattern piece to the sliding glass door, I taped a big sheet of paper to the door on top of that. I used part of an “end roll” from my local newspaper printing facility. They sell the “end rolls” for a few dollars and they’re really handy for all types of crafts! Of course, I had to do this during the day because I’m using the sunshine outside to see through to the bottom layer of paper! Here’s what it looked like after taping the top layer onto the sliding glass door:

Step 3




After taping both of these pieces to the sliding glass door, I drew the cutting lines from the size of the pattern that I want to make onto the top layer of paper like this:






Step 4


These cutting lines on the pattern are for cutting out each piece of fabric to make the garment. Most people know that sewing patterns have a built in seam allowance (usually 5/8″) on each pattern piece. But for a crochet pattern, I want to remove the seam allowance because crochet seams aren’t that wide. So I drew lines 5/8″ in from the cutting lines that I traced from the pattern pieces (after verifying that there were 5/8″ seams around all edges of the pattern pieces per the instructions in the pattern). Here’s what the pattern piece looked like after drawing those new lines:


Step 5




After drawing the new cutting lines (5/8″ in from the sewing pattern cutting lines), I cut out the pattern pieces along my new cutting lines like this:






Step 6

And here’s how my new pattern piece looks after cutting it out:

I now have a new pattern piece for each of the pieces in this garment pattern with the seam allowances removed. I will use each of these pattern pieces to crochet a front, back and 2 sleeves for this garment that will be the size and shape of each pattern piece. Then I’ll sew the crocheted front, back and sleeve pieces together to form my crochet garment pattern. And I’ll be able to calculate the different numbers of stitches and rows for each size of the crochet pattern by using the original, uncut sewing pattern, which is sized already (I’m a visual person, so these pieces should help me tremendously!)! Since this particular sewing pattern comes in 3 sizes (XS, S and M) per pattern packet, I also bought the pattern packet with the larger 3 sizes (L, XL and XXL) to grade the pattern fully. I bought the 2 patterns when they were on sale for $1 each, so that didn’t break my bank account! I can’t believe how expensive sewing patterns are now. The retail price of each pattern says $17.95! I’d never pay that much for a sewing pattern, especially a pattern rated “easy”!

Now all I need to do is play around with some yarn, different sizes of crochet hooks and crochet stitch patterns to decide how this garment will be made. That may not be as easy as it sounds, but I’m up for the challenge!

I’ll post more as this garment progresses (unless it’s a total loss!). Wish me luck!

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