A ballet-style sweater wrap is a soft, waist-length sweater in which the front side panels angle off from each shoulder to the opposite hip, where they are fastened with a ribbon tie or a button. Making one requires only basic knitting stitches, including the ability to increase or decrease stitches. A ballet sweater wrap can be made of almost any yarn, but is especially attractive in a mohair-like acrylic, and can be part of a either a casual or dressy look.
Items you will need
- Large newsprint paper
- Old sheet or muslin
- Sharp needle
- Size 9 knitting needles
- Mohair-like acrylic yarn
- 18 inches of wide ribbon
Make the PatternStep 1
Knit a square of knitting 4 inches long by 4 inches high. Count the number of stitches per inch as well as the number of rows per inch; this is your knitting gauge, and it will be used to determine the number of stitches to be cast onto your knitting needles. Measure the wearer or a garment that is a good fit for that person; you will need the waist, shoulder breadth, neck-to-waist in back, arm circumference at the shoulder, arm length and width of one hand from side to side across the palm.
Prepare a paper pattern from the measurements you took in Step 1. Take the bottom measurement for the back, divide the waist measurement by two, then add 2 inches. Divide the shoulder circumference by two, and subtract that amount from the neck-to-waist measurement to get the side seam measurement. Divide the shoulder width by three; use one third for the neck space, then subtract one hand width from one-third of the shoulder width to get the length of the shoulder seam.
Draw a horizontal line near the edge of a page of newsprint paper for the bottom of the sweater's back. Draw a vertical line from the center of the horizontal one that is the length of the neck-to-waist back measurement. Draw vertical lines on each end of the horizontal line to serve as the side seam indicators. Center a short horizontal line of the length calculated for the neck 2 inches from the top of the tallest vertical line. Draw 2-inch vertical lines on each end of the short horizontal line.
Connect horizontal lines the length of the shoulder pattern lines to the 2-inch vertical lines to form the shoulders of the pattern. Draw vertical lines, each three hand spans wide, down from the ends of the horizontal shoulder lines. Draw a sloping line from the ends of these vertical lines to the tops of the side seam lines.
Cut out the back pattern and trace around it to make a second copy. Fold the copy in half along the center and cut it in half. Place the half on a larger piece of paper; measure one hand span from the shoulder seam down the front and mark the spot.
Draw a line (on the half you just made in Step 5) starting from the shoulder seam's bottom that is as long as the back plus 1 inch. Draw a 2-inch vertical line up from the free end of the bottom line. Draw a line from the mark at the top front to the top of the 2-inch line. This is the front pattern; you will need two copies of this piece.
Place the back pattern and one front pattern on a piece of newsprint paper so that the shoulder seam matches. Tape the pieces in a few spots to keep them from moving around; use the tape sparingly, as you will want to remove it later. Draw a line around the inside of the shoulder space. Draw a line the length of the arm measurement straight out from the shoulder top as if it were a continuation of the shoulder seam.
Center a line that is one hand span wide on the end of the line last drawn in Step 7; this is the width of the end of the sleeve. Draw a 3-inch line at right angles to it, pointing back toward the sweater body, on each end to indicate the cuff space. Draw an angled line from the top of the cuff to the bottom of the shoulder seam; this is the sleeve pattern, of which you will need to make two pieces.
Pin the paper pattern to an old sheet or piece of muslin and cut out the parts. Baste them together, and use the cloth pattern to check to see if it will fit correctly. Adjust the pattern as needed.
Knitting the Sweater.Step 1
Calculate the number of stitches for the bottom of the sweater, and cast on that number of stitches. Knit in garter stitch, which means knitting all rows. Knit until you have a block of knitting that matches the size of the back pattern from bottom line to arm holes.
Decrease by knitting two stitches together at the beginning and end of alternate rows until the vertical part of the arm hole is reached, then knit even rows to the bottom of the neck. Place the first shoulder stitches on a holder -- use the pattern and knitting gauge to determine the number of stitches -- and bind off the neck stitches. Knit the other shoulder section and bind it off. Pick up the stitches from the holder and knit that shoulder section.
Cast on the stitches for the left front. Knit two rows; on the third row, knit three stitches, bind off two stitches and knit the rest across. Turn the work, knit back across to the bound off stitches, cast on two new stitches and knit to the end. The buttonhole is now formed.
Turn the work and make one decrease by knitting two stitches together, then knit across. Turn the work and knit back to end. Continue to make decrease stitches on the button hole side at a rate that will match the slope of the sweater pattern.
Shape the armhole as you did for the back when your knitting reaches that size. Continue the decreases on the buttonhole side until the shoulder shaping is reached, then knit the rows from neck to shoulder seam even. Make the right front using the same steps as for the left side, except do not make a button hole.
Knit the cuff of the sweater even, still in garter stitch. At the top of the cuff, begin increasing at each end of every other row or in a pattern that will match the slope of the sleeve, Make the increases by picking up a stitch from the previous row and knitting it.
Knit even for four rows when you have reached the widest part of the sleeve pattern, then begin decreasing for the shoulder shaping. Decrease by knitting two stitches together at each end of a row, then knitting a plain row (or in a pattern that makes the knitting match the paper pattern). Bind off across the flat top of the sleeve. Make a second sleeve.
Putting it All TogetherStep 1
Pin the sweater pieces together, then crochet the seams together. Sew a button on the inside of the right side seam at the very bottom.
Cut the ribbon into two 9-inch pieces. Pin the end of one ribbon piece to the bottom corner of the front right part of the sweater. Pin the other piece to the left side seam.
Try the finished sweater on the intended wearer. Adjust the fit by moving the button or ribbon placement. When satisfied, stitch the ribbon in place. Make angle cuts on the ends of the ribbon to prevent raveling.
Tips & Warnings
- To calculate the number of stitches to cast on, multiply the number of stitches per inch by the linear inches on the edge to be knitted.
- Lion Brand Yarn; Free Patterns; Ballet Style Sweater Pattern #50282
- "Knitting for Dummies"; Pam Allen; 2002
- "The Ladies Work-Book; published by John Cassell
- Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images