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Pearl’s Cardigan Crochet-Along, Part 4: Bodice and Modifications

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Pearl’s Cardigan Crochet-Along, Part 4: Bodice and Modifications

Before we begin with today’s blog post, I want to share a video with you. There have been a lot of questions about how to work the clusters, so I decided to make a video demonstrating how to work the clusters sideways by working them into the side of the previous single crochet. In the video, I crochet a dc-cluster, tr-cluster and dtr-cluster.

In the video, the sweater on the dressform beside me is my work-in-progress Mocha Microspun cardigan. My Pearl’s Cardigan is coming along nicely! How is yours? I finished the yoke, separated for front, sleeves and back, and crocheted the body down to the point where you split ‘right and left fronts’ from ‘back’ to incorporate side vents into the sweater. Here are a few images of the front, side and back of the Mocha Pearl’s Cardigan at my current progress level:

Kristin's Current Progress on Pearl's Cardigan

If you are making a custom sweater, please note that when we separate for fronts, sleeves and back, the yoke is evenly divided into six parts (1 part for each front, 1 part for each sleeve and 2 parts for the back). Then we add enough underarm chains to add enough circumference for the right side bust of the sweater and keep in mind that the amount of chains worked must equal a multiple of the stitch pattern. Some participants desire a wider armhole opening. There are a couple of ways this can be achieved:

  1. You can replace the underarm chains with foundation single crochet stitches instead. Foundation Single Crochet (FSC) stitches are much stretchier than chains and this can give you a little more ease.
  2. You can add more chains (or foundation single crochets) to your underarm stitches. Please keep in mind that you should add them in increments of the stitch pattern (+4, +8, +12, etc…)

Another modification to consider is that you can control the length of the sweater at this point.

  1. If you desire a cropped cardigan, I think you could stop after the belt-loop row and skip to the edging. Weave a belt or sash though the waist and you are done! I would style this with a fit and flare dress, or with a longer tunic and cute jeans.
  2. For an empire waist, you could work the belt-loop row a few inches above where the pattern suggests you add it (a few inches below the armhole opening). The beauty of a top-down sweater is you can try it on as you go, and decide where the waist works best on you! I would still work this empire-waist-modified sweater to the original length in the pattern.
  3. If you prefer to omit the belt-loop row, that is OK, too! Perhaps you would prefer buttons, securing with a shawl pin, or wearing the sweater casually worn open. Simply skip the belt-loop row, but add enough repeats of the body stitch pattern to achieve the desired finished length.

Next week, we will further discuss modifications. If you don’t like the side vents, you could add increases at this point to create a fuller hip width. I will crochet mine both ways to show you the difference. I am considering a sleeveless vest modification, adding the hip increases instead of side vents, and increasing the length by a few inches (using up the yarn that should have been used for the sleeves). I will show you the original sweater in close-up and compare it closely with any modifications I end up using.

Happy crocheting! I’ll be looking for your questions and comments in the coming week!

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  • Thank you for the video! Very helpful!

  • I am working on row 1 of the cardigan body. I don’t understand the instructions for the underarm chain and what do I do to skip 12 ch-5 sps. Please help me understand the pattern instructions.

    I am loving this. Can’t wait to finish my sweater so I can show it off.



  • I had a very busy week so I am just starting. I am using Patons Silk Bamboo yarn; it’s the right weight and feesl just wonderful!I can’t wait to wear my sweater to school and tell everyone I made it! Thank you Kristen and Lion Brand!

  • I was so surprised when I tuned in this week to find that we went from “let’s get started” last week and that you’re almost finished with the body this week! I hope you’ll go back and show some of us how you did some of the complicated parts like “divide for body and sleeves”. This is really my first garment and I’m looking forward to a lot of guidance!

  • Henrietta – in answer to your question about row 1 of the body. When you start row one you will complete 9 5dc sets in the chain 5 spaces of the previous row. Then chain 11 and skip the next 11 chain 5 spaces that are on the previous row and single crochet in the chain space after the 11th chain 5. The chain 5 spaces that you have skipped will make the top cap of your sleeve. It looks like it is not going to work, but it does.
    Hope this is a little clearer.

  • Carla,
    Kristen is going to show how you divide for the fronts and back in this week’s post. There isn’t really any dividing for the sleeves, just chaining and continuing in the stitch pattern after skipping ch-5 spaces.

  • Thank you Joyce. That’s where I am now. I’ll keep going and look forward to Wednesday’s post to see if I’m on the right track. 🙂

    Terri, Since this is where I am too, I’m wondering if you mean that you dc in the 12th chain 5 space? The way I read it, you do the chain 11 (or 11 foundation sc, which is what I chose to do) and then do 5 dc in the ch 5 space indicated for the size you’re making. Is that how you read it?

  • […] Pearl’s Cardigan Crochet-Along, Part 4: Bodice and Modifications […]

  • For those who didn’t make Pearl’s Cardigan because of the limited size range, there is a similar cardigan designed by Doris Chan you can see at
    The neckline and stitch pattern are not the same, but it’s lacy and has waistline detail and most important to me, it goes up to a bust measurement of 54″.
    I’m not trying to be mean, but I don’t feel my math or design skills are up to using the designer’s tips on customizing the size of her beautiful garment and wanted to share this alternative with others in the same boat.
    Dear Lion Brand, you provide so many lovely free patterns in a full range of sizes, please consider this the next time you choose a pattern for a CAL or KAL. In this case, there has been plenty of time for the designer + Lion Brand staff to come up with an extended size range for Pearl’s Cardigan, but you chose not to. Snap! to your larger customers. Ouch!

  • CarlaG asked:
    “I’m wondering if you mean that you dc in the 12th chain 5 space? The way I read it, you do the chain 11 (or 11 foundation sc, which is what I chose to do) and then do 5 dc in the ch 5 space indicated for the size you’re making. Is that how you read it?”
    Carla – once you skip the required chain 5 spaces, just pick up with the pattern stitch and continue. So,yes, you would 5dc in the next chain 5 space.

  • […] Pearl’s Cardigan Crochet-Along, Part 4: Bodice and Modifications […]

  • Most lefties avoid crocheting because most patterns are written for righties. I am a leftie and have been able to reverse patterns on-the-go so to speak, allowing me to create wonderful items. It would be a great gift to us lefties if the crochet (and knitting) world would offer reverse instructions. This is not criticism, just a left-handed request!

  • Is there an error on the pattern? I finished the left front which has a total of 12 rows but the back and right front are for a total of 14 rows. Did I miss something?

    • did you ever fix this problem or figure it out. I am working on the yoke now and got to the underarm spot and realized that the right side (where I start the 5-dcs) has the correct bumber before the 10-dc increases but the left side ends with 2 short…help.

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