Book Review: Top-Down Crochet Sweaters


Top-Down Crochet Sweaters © 2016 by Dora Ohrenstein. Photography © Melinda DiMauro. Used with permission by Storey Publishing.

Today I am happy to review for you, Top-Down Crochet Sweaters, by Dora Ohrenstein. So let’s begin with the question, why make a top-down sweater? Why is that better than making a sweater bottom-up? From Dora’s Introduction in the book:

“In my travels as a teacher and designer, I’ve heard many crocheters voice one burning desire: to make beautiful garments that really fit. This book aims to provide the tools and knowledge to make that dream come true, with a focus on top-down, one-piece construction, a method that many favor.”

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I would also add, because top-down sweaters require very little seaming. So, if you enjoy a project with very little finishing, and fantastic drape, this technique is for you!

You can purchase this book here: Top-Down Crochet Sweaters.

Dora begins with a discussion about the right yarns to use for top-down sweaters with good drape. Imperative to a successful sweater project, is good yarn choice.

Next she covers techniques such as construction and shaping, measuring gauge and blocking, and of course fit.

Then come the patterns (we all know this is really the exciting part, but if you’re not familiar with sweater-making, the aforementioned sections will help you feel confident before taking hook to yarn). There are 14 sweater patterns in this book, but they are arranged in pairs that have very similar characteristics. All are pretty classic sweaters. When you finish your sweater, you’ll get to enjoy wearing it for years and years without being out of style, a big plus if you’re going to put the time and money into making it!

Here are some of my favorites:

Bettina looks comfy. I think this will be the first one that I make from this book. This looks like the kind of sweater I could enjoy having in multiple colors and wearing often. It’s made in Patons Lace, an acrylic/mohair/wool blend, with an F/5/3.75 mm crochet hook. Available sizes include 35, 40, 45, and 49 inch bust circumferences.

Isola strikes me as a nice dressy top. I could love wearing this over a camisole when going out on a date with my sweetheart! This one is written in sizes 34, 37, 42 1/2, and 48 inch bust circumferences. The yarn is Designing Vashti Lotus, a cotton/rayon blend yarn, and uses an E/4/3.5 mm crochet hook.

Janelle is another comfy sweater like Bettina. I would love having this in my wardrobe! I am always chilly when I go out to eat, or at church, or lots of other places, so this would be my sweater to take everywhere for when I need an extra layer. It is written in sizes 37 1/2, 41, 45, and 51 inch bust circumferences. The yarn is Debbie Bliss Juliet, a cotton/acrylic blend, and uses an I/9/5.5 mm crochet hook.

Also, in this book, you’re going to find stitch charts sprinkled throughout to show you visually how the stitches fit together. In the back you’ll find an abbreviation key and an index. There’s really lots to love in this book, especially if you’re looking to expand your crochet skills into garment making. These sweaters would make great options for your first sweater!

Looking for other sweater patterns? Look here:

Subtle texture in this marled yarn looks really great! Love that boat neck!

The textured edging is the highlight of this cardigan! It’s a stunner!

This color-blocked sweater is oversized and cozy. Perfect!

Need to warm your shoulders? Do it beautifully with this puff-stitch shrug!

Happy stitching!

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Top Down Crochet Sweaters by Dora Ohrenstein, review from Banana Moon Studio

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