I’ve never been a great fan of ponchos, (mostly because if I’m cold, I want good coverage, not the open bottom). Recently however, I saw one in the mall that looked so pretty, I wanted to make it. It was something like this, with the flowy cable part of the pattern running around the neck and down the front and back:
I haven’t even started on one yet, (I currently have 5 other projects going on), but I did make my plan. Here is how you design your own poncho.
A common way to make one is to make two identical rectangles and seam them together, like so:
You attach the two rectangles together with a seam, then you fold it over and seam the other edge, attaching blue star to blue star, white star to white star. This is great, nothing could be easier than two rectangles – you can make them however you want -crochet, knit, or weave.
To make the appropriate size rectangles
-width of the rectangles
To get the width of your rectangles, (their width is the length of the poncho), put a tape measure on your shoulder where you want the neckline to be, and measure over the top of the shoulder and down your arm to where you want the end to stop near the wrist (or your length of choice). You will have a longer point hanging in the front, but the length over the arm is probably more critical.
-length of the rectangles
The length of your rectangles will be determined by what size you want the neckline. You can tape measure the point in the front where the neckline is lowest, over one shoulder to the same point in the back. (See the red line on the drawing below, this is where you measure). This will give you half the amount of the neckline, so then double it. When I measure I get 17 inches, (neckline a little lower down), so I will make my rectangles (17+17=) 34 inches long. I have seen patterns suggest 32 inches as a “large”, so try it and see what looks good for you. You just need it big enough to stick your head through it without having it so big it falls off the shoulders, or leaves too much neck area exposed to the cold.
Here is another method I used just to double check the size, (though the measuring tape is probably simpler than this one).
Clip two towels together in the same way you would make the poncho, (following the drawing above). You can use binder clips, hair clips, clothes pins, whatever you have. Wide hair clips like I used will add more variation, narrower items are better. (This is really a ballpark measurement in my case because I used 3 inch hair clips.) Put it on. The long point will hang in the middle of the front and the middle of the back, so arrange your towels on you this way. Adjust the two clips at the neck to the size you want the neckline to be, and move the adjacent two clips so your towel is pinned flat, like shown. You can also add a clip near the wrist at one edge to mark the length you want the poncho to be (which is rectangle width).
Take it off and lay it out on a flat surface. Unhook clips from one seam only, but hook the clips back on to one towel if they weren’t on a corner on that towel. Lay both towels flat like the drawing. This will let the clips mark your new size. Measure from corners (or towel edges) to clips as shown, or if both of your end clips moved, measure from clip to clip. The area outside of where you moved the clips shows length that you don’t want on the poncho.
Measure from any clips that were moved inward to the farthest clip. You should still be getting rectangles in the general shape of a towel.
Measuring this way, I get 35 inches on both towels, so I know my earlier 34″ measurement was probably fine. This is rectangle length.
If you want, you can fold the towels to your appropriate rectangle length, re-clip, and try it on again. (Clip white to white, blue to blue.)
Now you’re ready to begin making two rectangles.
If you crochet, you may get a fairly thick poncho, unless you use skinny yarn. This drawing shows one way you can do it, but you can get creative and make your rectangles in any direction you like. Make two identical rectangles for the flowy neck pattern like the top drawing.
If you knit, you can cast on either direction here too, the drawings are just ideas. Cast on the number of stitches you need to get your appropriate inches on the width or length. (For help with getting from number of inches to number of stitches, see this post.) To get one like the drawing I put at the top, cast on the width and work up the length like this drawing, doing a cable on one side to get a flowy neckline, and make two identical rectangles. If instead, you cast on your length, your stitches will be right side up when you wear it, (going up and down). You can take advantage of this to do flowers or leaves growing upright at the bottom, or whatever you choose. Whichever way you do it, plan your design carefully to avoid any curling at the bottom.
Attach and seam your two pieces like this, and seam following the stars on the drawing above. Make sure to seam on the insides and safety pin it first to check orientation before starting seaming. (Probably sounds silly me saying that, but when I sew I’ll put one piece on backwards every time if I don’t pin and check first, so with no obvious sleeve holes, I know I’d do the same here.)
Hey, I started! I realized one of my sweaters already-in-progress is a piece exactly 34 1/2 inches long, so that one is now going to turn into this poncho. Due to the length it already is, I can’t run a longways cable around the neck, but I think what I’ve done already will make a nice neckline, and now I can maybe do some kind of flower pattern growing upwards from the bottom edge or something. (It will need some kind of design to prevent the stockinette rolling up at the bottom as you see it doing here). This design edge is just random made up cables on a garter background with a square of seed stitch at the corners. When I finish this I will come back and add the completed photo to this post.