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Moderne Jacket Crochet-Along: Working the Front Panels

March 26th, 2009

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This weekend was a pretty productive time for me and my Moderne Jacket – and I found out that this is a very portable project. I’ve been a “swim mom” for more than a few years and this weekend found me on bleachers with my CAL jacket during a 3 day meet. I always like to look around and see what the other knitters and crocheters are working on – there was sock, poncho, afghan and a dog sweater in the making at that meet!

Even though I had finished the back and was starting work on the left front, I didn’t leave that jacket back piece out of my yarn bag. I’ve found that one of the worst mistakes I can make “on the road” (or on the bleachers) is to leave at home the rest of my project. Although I’ll follow the pattern of my project and take notes, it’s helpful and reassuring to have other pieces as reference for the piece I’m working on at that moment.

So, when I was working on the left front, I kept my back nearby to check measurements to the underarm, and the raglan shaping. In my last post I talked about “lining up” the stitch pattern while working the decreases in the pattern. Besides counting my stitches after those decrease rows, I laid the front on the back to make sure the shaping was going along well. The left front actually turned out nicely and so I used the left front as reference for the right front.

Many times the instructions for the second front says to work it the same as the first front, reversing shaping. I know as a teacher that the term “reverse shaping” can seem rather daunting – but here’s something that I always do to make sure the fronts are the same, but reversed. When I finish my first front, I lay it upside down while I am working the second front. Then as I work the second front, I lay it on top of the first and this helps to make a perfect “mirror image. So here are both fronts “reflecting” each other!

(Click the photo to see it enlarged.)

Oh, and here’s one more thing that makes this pattern easier to shape for the second front — the crochet stitch pattern that is used in this jacket is reversible. So, if you don’t mind the bottom edge of your fronts looking a little different you can actually make two left fronts and just turn one around for the right front! What’s not to love about reversible stitch patterns?

Now that I have started a sleeve, I’m making sure to keep one of the fronts in my yarn bag, and I will make sure the raglan sleeve shaping will be the same length as the fronts. I’m betting that you see where I’m going with this, because I will definitely keep that first sleeve around when I make the second! Doing all this will make sure I won’t have any unpleasant surprises when I go to sew all these pieces together.

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  • Nicole

    Making two left fronts??? Excellent idea! I will definately do that, just to give my brain a rest!

    I’m still working on my back, I’m not sure that I did but one side of my back shows the two decreases while the other side has not decreased at all, im feeling a little discouraged. I’m going to have to rip out my work to the 3 1/2inch mark and try my decreases again.

  • Diane

    I have finished my left front and almost done with right front. Thankfully I am one who can do the “reverse shaping” fairly easily in my head. One hint I do is to write out the directions for my self “reversed”. I also keep a marker on the front of the piece I have finished so I don’t get them confused. Just a big safety pin pinned to the left front helps me visually compair the two. I also keep the finished piece in front of me at all times. I twisted my back, and am taking muscle relaxants and tried to finish my right front this afternoon. I don’t know what I did, but the front shaping turned out to be about 4 inches too long!!!!So I ripped it out and will try tomorrow. Don’t try reverse shaping while on medication!

  • Laura

    Hi all,

    Ive been reading all of your posts and i would like to let you all know my progress. I’ve noticed that most are adjusting the pattern to line up the stitches. I done the jacket just as the pattern called for and it worked out perfect. The pattern actually makes three large stripes and a checkorboard pattern at the top. It works this way all around and with the sleeves also. I think thats what makes this pattern “modern”. Im waiting until the post on how to sew it together since i am fairly new to clothes making. I hope this helps for anyone who is tackling the project the way the instructions are laid out.

  • Janet

    I not only finished the back of my sweater when I was in Seattle, but because the pattern was so easy I also finished both fronts. I kept a tally of my rows on all three pieces so I was sure my decreases all lined up. I’m so excited to finish it! I would like to make the sleeves full length. Would that work if I just increased the length of the sleeve in the first 1-1/2″ [making that part say 4"(or however much longer I want the sleeve)] before I do my increases? I’m anxious to get going on them so any help would be appreciated.

    Heather says: “Hi, Janet: You could do the sleeves as you describe, but it may make them wider than you would like at the bottom. You might want to start with less stitches and then increase maybe every 1.5″ from there. It’s always good to draw out what you did for the first sleeve to do the second exactly the same.

  • Kathie

    Laura (#3)

    I too stayed right with the pattern, and I think it looks really good.

    For great sewing instructions, go to the homepage for Lion Brand and search “sewing pieces together”. It will bring to instructions on how to sew your jacket together. I used these instructions and they are simple and the jacket looks great. Hope this helps.

  • Mary O

    I’ve finished my jacket and I’m very pleased with the fit and the style. I used cotton and bamboo yarn and made the 3/4 length sleeves for a spring coat. I thought I would only use it as outerwear but have kept it on all day so far and it is very comfortable. I made the crocheted buttons and love the look although they are hard to fit through any spaces of the crocheted fabric, so I might keep them for looks but add snaps for actual fastening. This was a great project, and I will keep reading the blog to see how everyone is doing!

  • Cynthia

    Hi Janet and Heather,

    Loved the comments on full length sleeves. I like the 3/4 sleeves, but my daughter does not. I was thinking like Janet on making her sleeves longer. I will now take Heather’s advice and watch the width at the beginning of the sleeve. I am currently working on the right front and trying to finish so I can work on the second sweather. This does seem like a great pattern that works up fast!

  • Beth

    I was lucky I was also carrying around my back while working on my front. When I finished my left front piece I checked it against my back. Unfortunatley, my back was 2″ too long. I do not know how I did it. I took my back apart again, for the fourth time. I think it is right this time though. I am now working on my right front and hoping for the best.

  • http://www.christianhomeplace.com Shannon Wells

    Mary O I had thought about using cotton bamboo, but having never felt it, I was leary. Maybe, if this first one works out, I’ll have the courage to do it again and use it. Right now, after taking out the left front 3 times and after finally getting my yarn untangled, I have gotten to the first dec row on the left front, but the way the bottom row or first row is shaping up, might use it as the right front, depending on how I feel; might not wanna think that hard, you know. I like quarter length sleeves, but was wondering about longer ones. I know it’s too early, seeing as how I’m only on the first front, but I’ve been worried about the buttons and how they are actually supposed to look; I’m blind and wish I had a model here to feel as I go. Oh well, maybe it’s good there isn’t. Well, hope to crochet a bit before the hubby comes home and wants supper. Glad to hear that some have finished and are liking it.

  • http://www.christianhomeplace.com Shannon Wells

    Heather, I now have a question. When the pattern says left front, does it mean the left front when I am wearing it or the left front when I am facing the front of the garment? Thanks a bunch!

    Heather says: “Hi, Shannon: The left front means as you are wearing it, so sometimes I put it up to my left side to make sure the shaping is going well.”

  • anne

    I want to thank Heather and all who have posted. I read all posting at least once a day to help me through this project (this is my first garment-and it’s not as easy as I thought it would be). I’ve redone my back several times and all the advise and practice has help me get comfortable with the stitch and the pattern (practice makes perfect-lol). I listed what I did in each row and use this to help me map out the next step and it keeps me in line with how many rows I should have and stitches. It help me with my front. The first time I did the left panel I was short my 2 inches-ughghh. That’s when I decided to redo the back with “my list”. This has help me breeze through the left panel and it lines up with the back perfectly (my measurements are off-I made some adjustment in sizing-I hope it’ll all comes together at the end). I just started the right panel and I’m going to do the left panel and reverse it (I don’t think I’m going to be able to reverse it without making me crazy). Thanks again.

  • http://www.christianhomeplace.com Shannon Wells

    Thanks, Heather. After I posted, I remembered that the fronts are reversable, but I want my bottom edges to line up and look the same. I have been holding it up to myself and so far so good. Have also been holding the front up to the back to make sure it is lining up. Need to just work on it and see how it turns out. Thanks for all the encouragement from everyone; I don’t think I’d have put this much effort into it, if I couldn’t have shared it.

  • penny robinson

    Id love the pattern as well,can you tell me where you found it please

    Zontee says: Hi Penny, the Moderne Jacket is available on LionBrand.com.

  • http://www.christianhomeplace.com Shannon Wells

    WooHoo! Finished the left front. It looks right, too. Hope to start on the right front this evening some time. I’m so excited; I’ve never gotten this far, making something I could actually wear!

  • Janet

    Thanks, Heather, for your tip on the sleeves. So far they are working out just right. I should finish the first one today. Everything is going so well; it’s a wonderful feeling. Of course, I have ripped out a few rows when I lost track of where I was or got distracted with TV or phone calls. But its all worth it to finally hve something for myself that I crocheted!

  • Tobi

    Heather, I am stuck! I’m having problems decreasing the neck edge of the front. I’ve tried it a few ways and it’s not making a smooth curve. Can you tell me the best way to decrease at the end of a row and a way to get a smooth curve?

    Heather says: “Hi, Tobi: On the decrease rows, the pattern calls for you to skip that ch1 after the 1st sc2tog and again before the last stitch. This should “pull in” those edges – make sure to count those stitches every row. Also the collar will hide your neck edge – so don’t worry too much if the edges aren’t perfect!”

  • Kathie

    I just finished my jacket, and I just love it. It is too big for my daughter and a wee bit small on me, but once it loosens up it will be fine. For now, I am going to wear it open.

    Making this jacket was a great accomplishment for me and the CAL community is something I will keep joining as long as there is one. I only wish I had a website so that I could show it off.

    Thanks to all of you for your help in making this jacket.

    Zontee says: Hi Kathie, why not post your pictures to the Lion Brand Customer Gallery? Click here to post. We’d love to see it!

  • http://www.rabbiwendy.com Rabbi Wendy

    Oh, dear! My fronts don’t have that lovely curve at the neck like your photo. My neckline has a straight piece, then a stair-step up, then the diagonal for the decreases. What did I do wrong?

    Heather says: “Hi, Wendy: Make sure you have the correct number of stitches every row and when you decrease, make sure to skip that ch1 after the first sc2tog on the first row. Also remember that if there is any uneven edges at the neck, the collar is worked along the edge and should cover it. I hope this will help you!”

  • Diane

    I have been persevering with the sleeves. I don’t know why I am having so much trouble, but I have had to rip out both sleeves several times. The curve of the raglan just won’t keep even. I hope this last time is the charm. I am keeping the one sleeve that fits the diagram right on my lap and compairing the fit. I have never had luck making crocheted clothing before, but am excited that many of youare done and are liking the finished product. I hope to be finishing mine this week so I can wear it for Easter. (even though I used the charcoal/chocolate combination).

  • Rhelly

    i’ve finished all the sections and about to seam up. but since this is my first crochet project more than a dishcloth, i am wondering what the best way to seam is to ccreate the least amount of bulk?
    i’m liking it so far!

  • http://www.christianhomeplace.com Shannon Wells

    Rhelly 19, I too have ben wondering about sewing it up. I don’t know if this will work, but here’s what I’m thinking. Sew sleeves on to the back using the same type of sewing stitch as if you were using regular fabric, the in and out, you know what I mean? Anyway, I’m going to follow that as much as I can. After I sew on the sleeves, I’m going to sew the fronts on to the sleeves. All this making sure the bottoms of my pieces line up correctly. Then, I’m thinking I will turn it over and sew it up inside out. Then, turn it right side out. Not sure if this is correct, so don’t take my word for it. I finished the right front Saturday night, well early Sunday morning, and I crocheted one sleeve yesterday evening. Don’t know if I will get to the other sleeve today or not. Now that I’m getting close to the end, i’m getting worried about those buttons. How are they supposed to look, and how do you sew them on?

    Heather says: “Hi, Shannon and Rhelly: My post this week will talk about sewing up the seams, but I found the best way to get a flat seam was to have the right sides facing me and just catching the edge stitches on each side of the seam with a tapestry needle. As for those buttons, I haven’t made mine yet;-) I think I’m just going to work them in the Vanna’s Glamour so they will be “gold” in tone. Good luck with your finishing!”

  • Rhonda

    I was also waiting to seam. I tried laying a front and a sleeve along side one another (not on top of one another) and catching stitches with one of my 2 colors of yarn. It was flat, but didn’t look so nice. I was next going to put RS together (on top of one another) and try seaming that way. This may be a bulkier seam but does anyone know if it will look better?

  • Tobi

    Thanks, Heather! I’ll try that and do what I have been to keep the pattern lining up. I am doing my jacket in very similar colors to yours, and the pattern is very obvious. Hopefully the collar really will cover all my decreasing issues!

  • Judi Johnson

    Looks like everyone’s project is coming right along – I’m excited to see the results. I love the knitting and crocheting part but have always hated the finishing part. So either to get past that or just be a rebel I am working fronts and back all in one piece with markers where seams would go and shaping done either side of markers. Working sleeves in the round and will work body and sleeves up to underarm then join all together – not sure how that is going to work but keeps the brain busy figuring it out. WTG CAL gang.

  • Sharon

    I’ve read everyone comments and progress. No one has had my problem. In making the left front, after the first decrease you have 28 stitches. Ok,but how do you keep 28 stitches to next decrease? Help. Thanks to everyones suggestions.

    Heather says: “Hi, Sharon: Make sure to keep in pattern on that next row and that should keep the pattern correct for that “even” row. I don’t know if you are increasing or decreasing on that row, but if you are short, then you may want to work a sc in each of the last 2 stitches instead of the sc2tog. Just keep counting those stitches and I hope this will work out for you!”

  • http://www.notionsandnonsense.blogspot.com Nana

    OK – so I finished the jacket!! WOOHOO! The finishing wasn’t too bad – I only had to rip and redo once or twice until I got the hang of it. I did what Heather said replying to Post 20 and lined up the right sides – if you pull the seem taught it’s not bulky at all, and what may seem a bit messy while you are doing it, when complete you don’t really even notice the seams. I posted my picin the gallery and on my blog (click on my name to link to it).

    I had such a great time with this CAL – can’t wait to see what the next in store is – meanwhile – trying to decide which colors to use to tackle the next Moderne Jacket I crochet!!

  • Rhelly

    great, thanks heather!
    nana-i did see your jacket and it looks great, way to go!
    it sounds like seaming up a knit garment (which i’ve done many times) and so i will try that…
    blocking tonight, and hopefully will seam up tomorrow!

  • Rhonda

    I decided to seam with RS facing each other, one on top of the other, and was pleased with the neatness of the seam. It was, however, far from invisible. I had done all 4 raglan seams. Then, after reading Nana’s post who reiterated Heather’s explanation, I tried a side seam with RS up, side by side. It took me a couple of tries but I think I finally got it. The trick, in my mind, is instead of stitching from side to side as usual, to concentrate on moving the needle upward and, as Heather said, to catch the stitches on the way. I do like how this looked and ripped out all the raglan seams and redid them.

  • http://www.christianhomeplace.com Shannon Wells

    Well, I got it sewed up and it looks pretty good. So I put it on, but it is way too big for me! LOL I know I sewed it right. The seams look great and I couldn’t even feel where one seam ended and the other began, but it’s just so big around the neck. I’m either going to find someone who can wear it and finish it for them, or take it out and make a smaller one. The sleeves fit perfectly around and are the length I wanted. It even fits around me, but not up top. Oh well. It does look nice and I will try again.

  • Kathie

    Zontee–Thank you for the suggestion. I did submit my jacket, and it is posted this morning. Thanks again, this is the best pick-me-up!

    Zontee says: Hi Kathie, I just went to the gallery to check out your jacket. It looks great — what a nice color! For others who want to check out the gallery or post their own project, click here.

  • Linda

    Is there somewhere that I can get the pattern for the Moderne Jacket? Thank you.

    Zontee says: Hi Linda, just go to LionBrand.com and search for “Moderne Jacket“.

  • Rhelly

    Hey guys,
    i’m blocking right now and seaming this week. take a look at my photos to see it so far…
    http://photogcomposition.blogspot.com

    i’m excited to finish it!

  • http://www.christianhomeplace.com Shannon Wells

    Ok, so what is blocking?

    Zontee says: Hi Shannon, click here to check out the FAQ about blocking on LionBrand.com — hope that helps!

  • http://www.christianhomeplace.com Shannon Wells

    Zontee, thank you.

  • http://karmicraft.blogspot.com Karol Beaufore

    The Moderne Jacket Pattern is one of the nicest patterns I have seen offered for free. I love the lines and that it is suited to any size. I am a small but think it would make a nice jacket for even an x-large.

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  • tibulette

    Hello,
    I’m a french girl and I’ve just seen a moderne jacket by the free pattern can be reach until 23th march …. so I can’t download it now ?
    I want to know if someone can help me by sending me the free pattern of this moderne jacket and help me for translating it in French after …
    Sincerely yours

    tibulette
    tibulette@free.fr

  • Judith DeGonda

    Any plans to offer this jacket as a knit pattern?

    Zontee says: Hi Judith, each of our patterns is designed for a specific look and texture. Since knitting and crochet produce different kinds of stitches, we are unable to just “convert” a pattern from one to the other — but that’s not to say that we won’t ever design a similar-style jacket for knitting. In the meantime, there are some great knit jacket/cardigan options available on our website, such as the Shawl Collared Cardigan, Stefanie Japel’s Mini Cardi, the Jacket Deconstructed, and the Flattering Sweater.

  • Dorothy

    I am behind because I was out of town for a week. My back is just slightly small (size is medium), trying as hard as I could to keep it sized right, but to no avail. And with larger hook, it is too big and I don’t want to redo it again. My question: can I make the front panels in a size large, hoping to gain just that little extra room? I noticed that the sleeves are the same for both sizes. Hope to hear from you soon since I want to get started on the front panels.

    Heather says: “Hi, Dorothy – You can add a couple of stitches on to each side and then you can just slip st a couple more stitches at the beginning of the neckline. This part of the fronts serves as the button band, so that would probably be the best place to increase. Hope this helps you get the size you would like!”

  • Liane Wobito

    well, i am done the jacket. It’s ok, but I am not “thrilled” with it. I didn’t like the sleeves, way too short. somehow the measurements takes them only to my elbows! So after I had sewn the darn thing all together, I added some length to the sleeves and made them a “true” 3/4. I will post some photos on ravelry. also I don’t like the home made buttons, so I think I will just go and buy some and sew them on. Hopefully then I will be satisfied with it..lol. all I can tell you is that the sleeves were a heck of a lot easier to make than the fronts. And of course picky as I am, I couldn’t just two lefts. The bottoms had to match :)

  • emma

    Hello,
    How long will the posts for the CAL be online. Have been away and am starting at the beginning. Thanks

    Zontee says: Hi Emma, the CAL posts will stay online, so don’t worry. Click on “Crochet-along” under “Categories” in the right-hand bar to find the posts anytime.

  • Sue S.

    This was my first time crocheting a garment..my A D D kicked in when I had to reverse the instructions to crochet the right front. Not sure what you all did, but I had several false starts on the right front until I discovered, DUH, that AFTER crocheting my foundation chain, all I had to do then … was exchange RS for WS and vice versa in the instructions and not reverse every line which was impossible for me…and voila, I had the 2nd side without any more problems. Hope this helps someone else….

  • Arnel

    This jacket is beautiful, and wish to have a free copy of the pattern.

    I am a left-hand crocheter. Any suggestion on how to crochet this pattern for one side so it matches precisely with the other side?

    I am a amateur crocheter.

    arnel