I have had this set of instructions posted up on DS for quite a long time and have wanted to get this over here, but I haven't taken the time to edit it yet. It really needs to be updated and I know I need more pics. But for now, this is at least a start for those of you who need it. I will come back and edit it as I have time, and suggestions are always welcome! And please post pics of finished stuff, I love seeing it!
I am just copying and pasting at this time, so forgive me if smileys and such don't translate well...
OK, this pattern is turning out to be a work-in-progress. I am slowly adding pictures of the steps and editing it for typos and clarity as I have time between taking care of my girls. My thanks to those of you who have been peppering me with questions.
I have been making these for quite a while, so sometimes I don't think about what you really need to know when you are starting to do this for the first time.
I tend to crochet very tightly, so I use a size G hook for the waistband and then a size H hook for the body if I am using worsted or aran weight. If I am using DK weight I use a size F hook for the waistband and a size G hook for the rest. I usually prefer my woolies to be fairly thick, so I like to use worsted or aran weight for crochet. For knitted wool I like bulky weight yarn or heavy worsted like cestari superfine merino (my favorite kind of yarn, BTW), and for tunisian crochet I like light worsted or dk weight. But of course, these are my preferences, not a hard and fast rule.
This sticky has great lists of the different kinds of yarn available, how it feels, how it wears, and yardage needed. I believe Julie K posted once that you will need the amount listed in this chart plus about 25% for crocheted wool. I can easily make an x-large pair of shorties from one 3.5-4 oz cake of yarn plus trim and a pair of large longies (maybe even x-large longies) with trim plus two cakes of yarn. Good yarns to begin with are cascade, paton's merino, and lion's brand, unless you want to jump right in with some of the nicer more expensive wool.
For this pattern, you will need your crochet hooks, a flexible measuring tape, 4 pieces of scrap yarn (just an inch or two each), and your yarn.
Link to tutorial on how to add an elastic waistband to wool...
Here are some of the first shorties I made:
And more recent projects:
I have always said that this pattern is from the "voices in my head"
. But really, I just looked at some pictures and started crocheting. I kind of learned as I went. So now, my pattern is like this:
First I start with the ribbing. I chain 11 stitches (or however tall you want it to be), then turn it and skip the first hole & single crochet (sc) in each hole (in the back loop) until I get to the end. At the end I chain one and then turn and repeat it. I do this until I get the size waistband that I want (14", 15", etc.). I learned that I want the waistband to be a few inches shorter than her actual waist size since it will stretch out. You could probably even do 4 or 5 inches
shorter and still fit nicely. This way you won't need a drawstring for a while and it will fit nice & snug without gaping. After it is as long as I want it, I single crochet or slip stitch the short ends together to finish the waistband.
Pic showing how I crochet in the "back loop" to do the ribbing
Slip-stitching waistband together and do one extra chain stitch at the end. Turn waistband inside out so seam in on the inside before starting the first row of the body.
If you make sure the loose end of the yarn (where you started the waistband) is at the bottom of your waistband before you slip-stitch it together, you can easily crochet it into the first row of the body and then you will have one less end to weave in when you are done.
After finishing the waistband, I do the first row of the body along the bottom of the waistband. I've learned that this is the best place to increase for the hip measurement. If you are using a different trim and colorway, do the first row with the increases in the trim color so the increases will blend in and the colorway won't pool strangely on this first row compared to later rows.
If you think of the ribbing as hills (the part that is a ridge) & valleys (the part that goes down), it is easy to figure out where to put your hook and do increases. I will put one SC at the end of each valley and one SC at the end of each hill. I usually put my increases at the end of every other "valley", so I will do 3 SCs (one in each hill or valley) and then 2 SCs in the end of the next "valley".
The first crochet in the "valley"
The crochet at the end of the "hill"
Continue this all the way around the bottom of the waistband to make your first row and then do a slip-stitch to join with the first SC. Then change to your colorway if you are using a different color for the body than the waistband and continue crocheting in the round until you reach the place where your short rows need to go.
What it looks like after you do the first round of trim color and start the colorway. You can see the increases but they look normal there.
And what it looks like after I've gone a little further. See how that row of trim color blends in and the increases don't look out of place...
CALCULATING WHERE TO START THE SHORT ROWS:
When I get about halfway through the body of the piece I make my calculations to figure out where to start the short rows. Then I start my calculations from the bottom the body (including the crotch gusset) and work up.
Short rows are actually not meant to add to the WIDTH of the body, but they are meant to add to the rise in a certain spot. The best fitting stuff has a shorter rise in the front than in the back. If you look at your pants, that's how they are. And you want the rise in the back to be longer so that it covers not only the booty itself but the CD that sticks out.
For instance, if you want the rise to be 18":
1. I subtract the length my crotch gusset will be from the total rise, so for me, I usually make the gusset 3", so:
18 (total rise) - 3 (how long your crotch gusset will be) = 15
2. Then I subtract the amount I intend to crochet after the short rows, usually I shoot for 1" in the front and back after the short rows, so now:
15 - 2 (1" in front and 1" in back) = 13
I have gone through different ways to do this. For a while, I did 3 or 4 short rows spaced evenly across the back, then I came to realize that I liked the way it looked better when I did all the short rows in one place. After I started doing all my short rows in one place, I had a couple pairs where I started the crotch gusset right after the short rows and it looked really weird. So I have found that it looks best when I crochet for about an inch after I finish the short rows and before I begin the gusset. BUT when you are crocheting in the round on the body, you have to remember that when you add length on the back you also add length to the front. That is why I crochet in the round for an inch after I do the short rows but I account for 2 inches (one in the front, one in the back). It will make more sense to you when you actually do it.'
3. Then I calculate how long I want to make the actual short rows in the back. Say I'm wanting 1" in short rows, then I say:
13 - 1 (actual amount of short rows) = 12
As I said before, short rows allow the back of the body to be longer than the front, so it will cover the diaper completely without part of the diaper peeking out. And you also don't want your wool to be super high in the front so that the diaper is covered in the back. If you have a really bulky diaper you can add 1.5" or more to the back and for a super slim or no diaper (or a little booty) you can add .5" to the back. If you add 1" in short rows to the back, then your back will be 1" higher in the rise than the front will be.
So, this means I want to start the short rows in the back when the body is 12" total from the top (adding the front and back, so 6" in front and 6" in back).
To take all of what I just wrote and turn it around, it would be like this:
1. Start your short rows in the back when you measure 6" down from the top of the waistband.
2. Crochet back & forth in that one place until you have done 1" of short rows. You should now measure 7" down from the waistband.
3. Continue to crochet in the round for one more inch, so the back will measure 8" from the waistband and the front will measure 7" from the waistband.
HOW TO MAKE SHORT ROWS:
Short rows are really easy. I figure out where the back and front will be and put the seam in the waistband on the side. Then I work across the back until I am about 2" from the side. I don't do an extra chain stitch here, but I turn and crochet back to about 2" from the other side. Turn again and go back in the right direction. You crochet back & forth on the back like this until you reach the amount of short rows you need (1", 1.5", etc).
There are a couple of different ways to finish off the edge of the short rows. I have found that I prefer to finish them off as I go so that the last short row will be smooth and all my ends are already taken care of. To do this, when I get to the end of the short row I have just made, I crochet down off the "step", making sure my stitches are really nice & tight and do a couple of extra stitches past where the short row ends. Then I turn around and do another short row, going off the "step" and crocheting past for a couple of stitches at the other end. I still have to take pics of this exact step, but this is what it looks like when I am done with my short rows. I did 1" on this one.
And a bigger pic so you can see it in relation to the back.
After you are done with your short rows, crochet in the round for another inch (remember, that is an inch in the front AND an inch in the back) and then crochet half-way across the front and stop.
There are a lot of reasons why I do my crotch gusset the way I do. The first time I made a pair of capris was this pair. (it was my 2nd attempt after starting to crochet again.)
I did the body first, then one leg, then went back to do the crotch & the other leg. The crotch was a mess!
You can kind of see how it's not really very even in the pic. Of course it doesn't look as bad as I thought it did then. I really had no idea what I was doing!
After this I decided to do the crotch first (after finishing the body, of course) and then the legs so it would be nice & neat. This gives you extra wiggle room to increase the legs easily, especially if you want that "wide-leg" look that is popular now. Also, by doing a nice wide crotch gusset, I think that it makes the woolies work better. There is more actual wool against the diaper to absorb wetness instead of that wetness being up against skin.
When I get to the crotch, I take out my handy measuring tape, this is where I will do a little calculating again. I measure across the front of the body at the bottom. Like this:
I take that measurement, and divide it in three parts (not necessarily equal though, keep reading), keeping in mind how large the thighs need to be and how long my crotch gusset will be.
For instance, if I need the thighs to be 11" and I am planning to make my crotch gusset 3" long, I need to get 8" from the body to complete my thigh measurement. So the formula is like this:
11 (total width of the bottom of the body) - 3 (length of crotch gusset) = 8
Since I need 8" total for each thigh, I will measure 4" from each side of the body on the bottom row and mark that stitch with a piece of scrap yarn. Whatever is left over is how wide the crotch gusset will be. For instance if I measure 11" across the bottom of the body, I have 4" on each side for the legs & 3" in the middle for the crotch.
This is what it looks like after I measure the front and mark my stitches
To make sure I have marked stitches that are even, I fold it in half and compare them. In this picture, I had them one stitch off, so I had to adjust them.
I do the same on the back, but since there are more stitches on the back (because of the short rows, the back is bigger), the number of stitches I have for the crotch is usually greater in the back than the front. For example, on the rainbow fish shorties I had 10 stitches for the front crotch and 14 stitches for the back crotch. Just make sure the measurement for the thigh is correct (4" in the example above) and then whatever you have leftover is for the crotch.
Measuring and marking the back
It will look like this after I get both the back & front marked
And a close-up
After I mark all my spots, I do count my stitchs (most of the time
) to make sure I have it all even, and I also fold it in half with my waistband seam on the side and my short rows evenly matched up to make sure I have the marks in the same spot on each side. Make sure that both legs have the same amount of stitches and if you have an extra one put that in the back of the crotch. I usually make the back part of the crotch 2 or 4 stitches bigger than the front so my crotch is contoured. So most of the time, I have 10 stitches in front and 14 in the back, or 7 stitches in front and 11 stitches in the back.
Once I have all my spots marked, I crochet to the stitch before the spot I marked with the scrap yarn, do a chain stitch, and turn and go the other way to the stitch before the other piece of scrap yarn.
This pic shows the first two rows of the crotch gusset
After the first two rows, I add an extra sc in the last hole until the number of stitches I have matches what I will need for the back of the crotch (for example, in the rainbow fish shorties I had 10 stitches in the front crotch and 14 in the back, so I increased one stitch at the end of each row after row 2 until I had 14 stitches). You continue on until you have the length you need for the crotch gusset (above I had planned for 3"). You will want to end your work at what would be the left leg instead of the right.
Pic of the completed crotch gusset
And a close-up
Turn your shorties inside out, and put your working yarn through the right leg, since this is where you will end up. Do a slip stitch through the crotch gusset you just made & the back of the crotch gusset in between the scrap yarn markings (hopefully the number of stitches you have should match up). Do an extra chain at the end and turn it right side out. You now essentially have a soaker!
Turned inside out, notice the yarn is pulled out of the right leg (they are backwards right now, so the right leg hole is on the left in this picture) and I am going to start slip-stitching the crotch together from the right
Pulled together and starting to slip-stitch it together
And the finished seam
The finished product so far, turned right-side out. If you followed the tip about putting the yarn through the right leg above, your yarn will be in the right spot and you won't have to pull your whole skein of yarn through again.
After finishing the crotch, I start on the right leg. I crochet around the leg from the back to the front. The first row of stitches through the crotch gusset is the hardest since you are figuring out where to put your stitches so you will leave the smallest, tightest holes possible. This is also where you can put some increases to get a larger thigh measurement and it won't be very noticeable. Then you crochet however many rows you need to get your inseam.
This is what my crotch looks like after I do the first row
And a little better pic of it
If you want to do a ruffle at the bottom of the leg, it is easy too. I do 2 or 3 single or double crochets in each stitch and do this for 2 rows. Voila. Ruffleuppagus.
When you start the left leg, make sure you do an extra row
(if you are counting your rows instead of just measuring them) because when you started the crotch you stopped just before you got to the left leg, so the right leg started out 1 row longer than the left did. I also start the left leg at the point where I left off, just after the crotch gusset ends on the front.
After you finish the first leg, cut your yarn, make a slip-knot like you are starting again, and begin crocheting in the stitch on the front where you had your yarn marked.
So, that's pretty much it in a nutshell. I just keep experimenting as I go.
Comments/suggestions/constructive criticism welcome!
Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, the yarn I used to make the pair above (the pink/peach/silver colorway in the majority of the pics) is from Bohemia Yarn Co. on HC, and it is cestari superfine merino. The trim is "Blush" superfine merino from cestari as well. It's probably not the best colorway to take pics of, but it was what I was working on!
To make shorties into longies:
Most of the conversions that I did last fall were much easier than the pair I have pictured below. That darn learning curve, once again.
When I do it now, I just find the end and take off the trim at the bottom of the leg, and then I just continue on with them until I get to the new inseam measurement I need. However, you can still do what I did with this pink pair.
What I did was to crochet around the inside of the leg above the ruffle (this was the hardest part because I had to find places to insert my hook & it didn't seem really obvious at first where the best place would be) and do two rows. Tie off your thread. Start again (just make another slipknot on your hook and start crocheting it in there!) and keep going until you have your leg length & finish it up with another ruffle (can't have enough ruffles here
). When it warms up & you need them to be shorties again, you can find the two rows you did at the beginning of the leg & clip that thread (it might help to leave those ends loose instead of weaving them in so you can find them later), and you don't have to pull out the whole leg or cut the yarn up too much. If you want to make leg-warmers or something else with the extra "leg" you can!