Making Darts

I really enjoy crocheting garments in one piece from side to side (where each row has one end at the hem of the garment and the other end at the shoulder or neck). I find it convenient, in that it's really easy to avoid seams. Many crochet stitches have a very nice drape when turned sideways (shell stitch and "single crochet lite"--described below--are two of my favorites). Since many crochet stitches have a strong horizontal line, side to side garment construction can produce flattering results by creating vertical lines. It also allows for vertical stripes.

However, shaping can be problematic. Regardless of how a garment is constructed, doing shaping in crochet looks different from shaping in knitting. It doesn't have the same directionality and can look odd if done incorrectly or with certain pattern stitches. With side to side construction, this is even more the case. In knitting, side to side garments can be fitted with short rows (in which the knitter works only part of a row before turning her work, thus adding more fabric to one area and less to another). In crochet, because the stitches are self contained and bigger, short rows are difficult to accomplish in such a way that they do not create a hole in the fabric.

At the same time, making part of a row shorter than the rest of the row is also difficult. But one of the main flaws of side to side construction in crochet is that the row ends tend to get wider over time. If you don't do something to bring them in, they will fan out with wear. And attaching crocheted ribbing around the bottom edge of the garment does not help, because it lacks elasticity.

My solution has been to add crocheted "darts." I identify a few places around the garment where it would be attractive, and create little areas in which I use a shorter pattern stitch than the rest of the garment to bring in the waist. In the photo below, the garment is made from shell stitch and the darts from single crochet lite (*sc1, ch1, sk1, rep from * Single crochets go in single crochets of previous row, and chains go over chains of previous row). The darts are located directly below the shoulders on the back.

In garments where I didn't want the appearance of darts, I've used a shorter stitch for occasional row ends throughout the garment (every fifth row, for example).

It takes a little experimentation and a little extra work with gauge, but I'm very pleased with the results.


Ariellah said…
Where can I find a pattern using this technique to try it out? _Ari
Harper said…

I don't know of any patterns that use this technique, and I haven't written any either. However, you can try it in any garment pattern that is worked side-to-side. I would recommend swatching first to become comfortable with your gauge and how frequently to use the shorter pattern stitch for the desired effect.