When I was in school, we wore uniforms. Polo shirts were the typical uniform top, and in elementary school and middle school I was perfectly happy wearing large, comfortable, boxy boy’s shirts. By the time I got to high school, though, I was ready for shirts that I didn’t swim in. I invested in some junior women’s polos. And mostly hated them. They tended to be too short for my long torso, and paired with the fashionable-at-the-time low rider pants they were not only impossible to tuck in (which was, to be honest, a very loosely enforced part of the uniform policy by high school) but also revealed both muffin tops and butt cracks alike.
One day junior year I noticed one of my best friends had borrowed a guy friend’s shirt, gathered it in the back, and pinned it with a band button. This was an instant game changer for me. For the remainder of my high school days I emulated her style, never again to tug self-consciously at the hem of an ill-fitting baby-tee but instead to bask again in the glory of long, loose dude shirts made feminine and flattering by a simple safety pin. The holes that would inevitably appear and then gape in the back of all my shirts were all well worth it.
It was this shaping that came to mind when designing this sweater. The shaping is all done on the back piece, and the back piece only. This creates a wonderfully flattering shape. It also creates really nice looking lines on the back of the sweater, and leaves the front looking smooth and uninterrupted. Not to mention it’s just nice to be able to concentrate on one thing at a time—shaping while working on the back, all those intarsia ends while working on the front. Plus it’s nice and long—it will keep your butt cozy warm and your butt crack safely covered. (Which, I admit, is much less of a worry now that high-waisted jeans are blessedly in style.)
Sizes & Finished Measurements
s, m, l, xl, 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x, 6x
31, 35, 39, 43, 47, 51, 55, 59, 63 inches at chest after seaming
24.5, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 29.5, 30.5, 31 inches in length
shown in size large with ~2 inches of ease
Main Color (MC): Knit Picks Hawthorne in Slate - 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6 skeins
Contrast Color (CC): Knit Picks Hawthrone in Blackbird - 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2 skeins
Accent Color (AC): Knit Picks Stroll Brights in Highlighter Yellow - less than 1 skein
(all are fingering/sock weight)
Needles & Notions
Size 5 (3.75mm) straight or circular needles
Size 3 (3.25mm) 16” or 24” circular needles
Size E (3.5mm) crochet hook
Stitch markers & yarn needle
6 sts per inch, 9 sts per row in stockinette stitch with larger needles
The following techniques are used in the pattern, but not covered in the directions.
The chevrons are done with intarsia. This means that you’ll need to know how to twist your yarn for color changes, you need to know you shouldn’t carry your yarn across color changes, and you’ll need separate balls for each time there is a color change. In other words, each chevron isn’t just a single ball—when starting a new stripe you’ll need one ball for one leg of the previous stripe and one ball for the other. This makes more sense in practice than in description, but suffice it to say you shouldn’t be floating your yarn anywhere.
Here are some great tutorials on Intarsia, if you need to learn or just need a refresher.
M1 Increases that Lean Nicely
The increases on this sweater, particularly for the back, really work best if you make them ‘lean’ opposite of the the way they are headed. This is a great tutorial & explanation on this. This makes them look smoother and creates a nice line out of the stitches they sit next to.
You will be needing to make some increases on the wrong side of the fabric as well as the right, and it’s a good idea to keep them consistent. Here is a sort of useful little written guide on how to make M1R and M1L on both right and wrong sides of fabric:
M1R on RS: Insert needle from back to front, k this new st through the front loop
M1R on WS: Insert needle from back to front, p this new st through the front loop
M1L on RS: Insert needle from front to back, k this new st through the back loop
M1L on WS: Insert needle from front to back, p this new st through the back loop
But let’s get real. Keeping your left and rights straight when working backwards is way confusing. What you need to know about M1R and M1L increases is that the way that the ‘front leg’ leans is the way that the increase leans. In other words, when looking at the stitch you are making by twisting that strand from the right side of the work, the leg that is in front should lean right for a M1Right, and left for a M1Left. When you are working from the WS of the work, then this leg that is actually in the back, and it is the one that should lean right or left. Just make sure that this particular leg leans towards the outside when you are making the increases, and you don’t have to follow written instructions at all. You can just figure it out right there when you are making the stitch. It’s what I do basically every time I make an increase.
The accent color on this sweater is put in at the very end using surface crochet. Here are some nice tutorials for this technique.
There are more notes regarding tension and placement in the pattern.