The Poncho Vest solves a few problems I have with just a poncho or just a vest. A poncho tends to pull back on my neck, and it gets in the way when I need to pick something up. A vest is normally more form fitting and I was looking for something that was warm, while still being loose and airy.
This pattern explains the basics so you can design what works best for you. From floor length and eloquent, to a short shrug (or bed jacket) this pattern works wonderfully. The best part about this pattern is you CAN make it as long or short, as loose or form fitting as you want.
Yarn: Picking your yarn for the Poncho Vest is the first fun part of this pattern. If you're going for long and eloquent try Caron's Simply Soft Party. Sturdy and warm can be done with any Red Heart Super Saver yarn. If you're looking for wonderfully soft and snuggly try Lion Brand's Angora Merino. I used Red Heart Super Saver Seagrass (color is now discontinued) for the bulk of my project, and Country Blue for the edging.
Because your width, length, hook size, and yarn type will all be your choice, giving you exact amounts of yarn is difficult to impossible. A good basic guide is to buy about 240 yards per 1 foot of length. HOWEVER, be sure you can buy more of the same yarn as your calculations will NOT be exact.
Crochet Hook: Pick the best and easiest size hook that works with the yarn you choose. I used an I/9 - 5.5 MM hook.
Other: Flexible measuring tape, Scissors, and Yarn Needle, several Bobby Pins. A calculator might also be helpful while doing your measuring.
The Breezy Blocks stitch pattern is the best for this project (and the stitch pattern I used), it makes the project go fast. However, you can actually pick any stitch pattern that you love. You'll see why you have so much choice in just a moment.
Length: This is the easy one. Decide how long you want your Poncho Vest. Measure from the center of your shoulder to the length you want. Write that number down.
Width: Do you want big and loose or do you want more form fitting?
For every length except waist long or shrug, find the largest part of your body; bust, waist, or hips. Put on the clothing you will most likely wear under your Poncho Vest and then take your measurement. Write that number down.
For waist length, which is larger your waist or bust? Write down the number of the largest.
For a Shrug, measure your bust and write down that number.
Remember - VERY IMPORTANT - take your measurements WITH the clothing on that you will most likely be wearing. DO NOT PULL THE TAPE MEASURE TIGHT.
Gauge: After you have your measurements CHECK YOUR GAUGE. Use what ever stitch pattern (or stitch) you are going to use for the project. Crochet a piece that's at least 5 inches wide by 5 inches tall. Measure, in the center, an area that's 4 inches wide by 4 inches tall and write down your rows and stitches. Or your stitch pattern measurements. For example: If you are using Breezy Blocks measure what one completed pattern is. And what 4 inches of the stitches are.
This part is no different than making 2 large scarves. Each piece will drape over one shoulder and accounts for both front and back.
Take your width measurement and divide it by 4. Add 1 inch to this number. You now have your crochet measurement for width. For extra loose add 1.5 inches. For more form fitting add .5 inches.
Take your length measurement and multiply it by 2. This is your total crochet length.
Here you see my two pieces, folded over.
There is one variation that you could do.
Closed Back: Take your width measurement and divide it by 2. Add (3=extra loose, 2=standard, 1=more form fitted) inches to this number. Crochet the full length of the back, and stop 2 inches from the base of the back of your neck, find the center point and continue to crochet each side separately. Remember that part of the separate crochet work will be going over your shoulders.
You may need some help to set your markers. VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure both sides are right side facing out, and that they are both in the same direction you crocheted them.
Place both sides over your shoulders and make sure the front and back meet up nicely. At the back of your neck go down about two inches from the base of the back of your neck, mark both sides with a Bobby Pin.
Find the closest single crochet row and move your Bobby Pins to that row.
Mark the opening of your sleeves (keeping them large and roomy) with Bobby Pins as well. Set your two sides out and adjust your Bobby Pins so they match.
Use Bobby Pins, all the way up the seams, to keep your sewing straight.
Place your Bobby Pins through the Triple Crochet Stitches.
Set your work on a table, with the right side facing you. Use the Mattress Stitch to do your sewing. Finish the back and the two sides.
The only part of the edging that is necessary is one single crochet round, around all open edges (both sleeves, and the full bottom, front and neck area). At 'sharp' corners (ie: at the bottom before it goes up the front), Single Crochet 3 stitches into the corner. On areas that the pattern stitch is visible, Single Crochet 1 stitch in each single crochet row, 1 stitch around the post and 1 stitch in the top of each double crochet row, and 2 stitches around the post and 1 stitch in the top of each triple crochet row.
Doing an edging design is optional. I simply did 1 round of the full Breezy Blocks pattern stitch. You can however do any edging that you like.