Recently, had a poll regarding favored methods of crocheting sweaters – bottom up, side to side, and top down. My favored method, top down, came in a very scraggly third in the poll. I was amazed. I know that the vast majority of sweater patterns are written to be made from the bottom up. I don’t get it…….

Either of the two other construction methods gives a far better chance of a good fit on the first try. When a sweater is crocheted from the bottom up, the only thing you know that will fit before completing the body of the sweater is the bottom circumference. With top down construction, you can tell almost immediately if the pattern is designed for your body. You can make suitable alterations in the pattern to fit your own neck opening, armholes, shoulder width, etc very early on. Even side to side construction seems better than bottom up to me. With side to side, you’ll know fairly soon if the sweater dimensions will work for you. I have yet to crochet a side to side sweater. My humble opinion comes from my conversation with others on this subject.
But, am I crazy (when it comes to this)?

Now, I’ve never designed a sweater pattern much less written one down. But, I have made a few sweaters. Typically, baby sweaters are constructed from the top down. This is one of the least important fittings of all time! Baby sweaters fit only briefly, no matter what size they are. Not so (we hope) for adult sweaters. After hours of crocheting in, it’s disheartening to discover that the armholes are too small, the sleeves too long, and the neck opening gaping!

So, after a couple of encouraging emails from other crocheters of like mind, I set out to find some top down (neck down) sweater patterns online.

They are conspicuously absent! I only found a few references to my favored method of construction. There are far more patterns available for knitted sweaters in top down – but not crochet.

So, help me out here! If you know of a good top down sweater pattern – online or in a book or magazine – PLEASE share its location with us. Here are the few I could find…

(not free, but some nice sweaters)

And, here’s another idea that will allow the same kind of fitting. It’s kinda cheating with the whole top down thing – but it would work with other motifs too.



I know of one top-down sweater leaflet, and the only reason I know
about it is that I had a customer ask very carefully about the
leaflet wanting to make sure it was top-down. So I got one out and
looked, and sure enough…..! It’s volume one of the Alice’s
Wonderland of Crochet Fashion, on this page of my web site

The colors are very dated because she wrote it a long time ago. I’d
have to re-read the intro, but I’m thinking she wrote these patterns
in conjunction with teaching crochet to teenagers. So you know the
instructions have to be clear, to get through to newbie crocheters!


Suzabella”s Crochet Creations has a plus size tank/chemise.

I recently made this top and it turned out very nicely. I found an
error for Round 21 in the instructions
It should read: Skip 1 stitch, V-st in next st., *(Skip stitch, DC in
next stitch, Skip stitch, V-st in next stitch)* Repeat 56 more times
Join with a slip st. to 3rd chain of beg. Total of 43 V-st’s, 43
DC’s and 86 skipped spaces.

I also did some modification at the sleeves but the basic pattern is

Ruth in PA

JULY 6, 2007 UPDATE:

Last night, while browsing through some of my magazine stash, I ran across a cute ‘top down’ pattern.  It’s in the June 2004 issue of Crochet Fantasy #175.  The pattern is on page 22-23 and has a good picture of the ‘Peasant Blouse’.  Peasant inspired tops are in the malls right now.  Not my cup of tea, but they look great on some. This one is shown in a pink Brown Sheep ‘Cotton Fine’ yarn (80%cotton/20%merino wool) which would have a lovely hand.  The neck and shoulder construction is very like many baby sweaters, so should be easy to make.  It has long sleeves with a very attractive border on the sleeves and hem.  jd

By jd wolfe


11 Comments so far

  1. TOP DOWN CONSTRUCTION (SWEATERS) · Craft Gossip :: Craft Blog Network on June 29, 2007 8:35 pm

    [...] Read the full post: TOP DOWN CONSTRUCTION (SWEATERS) [...]

  2. Barbara Greenwald on June 30, 2007 2:46 pm

    This crochet pattern looks very interesting and adaptable to various ages and sizes.
    “Sweet” by Amy O’Neill Houck
    Pattern at

  3. jd wolfe on June 30, 2007 10:18 pm

    Thanks for sharing this pattern with us. I had seen it before and forgotten about it. It DOES look adaptable to a lot of different needs.

  4. Karen Stuckey on July 16, 2008 5:44 am

    I prefer the top down construction for the same reasons. There’s a cute sweater in the 2006 Better Homes and Gardens issue of Simply Creative Crochet dated Jan. 9, 2007, page 23. I’ve made it without the bell sleeves and the body to waist length.

  5. Beverly Simone on August 28, 2008 3:36 pm

    I also like to make sweaters top down have knitted quite a few. Just saw a book in Annies new catalog that is top down crochet. I’m going to order it

  6. Alida on September 1, 2008 1:51 pm

    I am also looking for a top down sweater/ jacket
    I am short waisted and have a hard time with the math to adjust a sweater.

    ALIDA – (or it may be has a pretty good sweater calculator that should work for you. Also, the book Adventurous Crochet which is readily available at many libraries or used book vendors spends a lot of time explaining how to custom design a simple sweater to fit your own dimensions (or those of another). The other books and articles mentioned in the Addendum above should be helpful too. jd

  7. Carol Wolf on January 2, 2009 2:22 am

    JD, Doris Chan does almost all of her patterns top-down. They are not free and can be a bit challenging at first but once you decipher the instructions, you are good to go. I’ve made several of her designs and they always fit well. Look for them in any of the crochet magazines and for her books at Amazon.

    Yep! I’m familiar with Doris Chan and own several of her books. I have also made Kim Guzman’s Jiffy Jacket which is a top down cardigan. It works up very nicely.

  8. SylvChezPlum on May 4, 2009 2:16 am

    hey, I found your post via a search on “top down crochet sweaters”… I know it’s an old post but I’ll still add my 2-cents.. ;-)

    I also love top-down construction, which is the reason why I designed the violaine top (for ladies) and the Roselette top (for babies and little girls). (both patterns available via my website at :-) )


  9. GAIL DROOPING FEATHER on May 27, 2011 4:19 am

    MY E IS

  10. Cynthia Nettles on August 12, 2012 10:39 pm

    Please help – I am having the worst time in interpreting instructions for the large increase at the armhole – is it done on two different rows? then juxtaposition the front and back together? heeeelllllppp

  11. jd wolfe on August 13, 2012 9:37 pm

    Not sure I can help you as I don’t know which pattern you are using. If you post on under the project or post a query to crochetpartners on yahoogroups, I bet you’ll get some help.

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