The Monarch Sweater: Crochet Pattern Review and Designer Feature

I am SO excited to show you my latest make…the Monarch Sweater!

Oh my gosh you guys…this is probably my favorite thing out of everything I have EVER crocheted.

Now before you all ask me for the pattern, I want you to know right now that I did not design this. Actually, I tested the pattern for a very talented designer, who I will tell you about soon. 🙂

One quick note: I used Lion Brand Jeans yarn to make my sweater…and oh my goodness, this yarn!!! My sweater is soo soft and cozy. Get this yarn for yourself HERE.

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Sooo…I’ll just say it now. When I first volunteered to test this crochet pattern, I felt CRAZY. I was seriously in the process of designing at least 5 other crochet patterns, plus writing up lots of stitch patterns for the Desert Blossom Stitch Along.

And I thought: how in the world could I fit a sweater in my schedule…for myself?

However, when I saw this sweater, I fell in love. I wanted to make it SO BAD! You guys have felt me, right?!

I talked to my mom and she told me to go for it. So I DID.

Before I even realized it, I had submitted my application, and the next day, I was accepted to test!

I will say…it WAS a crazy few weeks. But not as crazy as I’d expected. And I did manage to finish on time—woo hoo!

And let me tell you…making this sweater was so worth it. Not only did it end up beautiful, but I also learned some valuable lessons about crochet colorwork and pattern design!

Which is why today, I want to feature the lovely designer of this sweater, Hailey Bailey!

Before we go any further, let me show you where to get this pattern.

I’ll tell you right away: it is NOT a free pattern. However, it is WORTH the fee. Trust me. You will not find a more worth-it pattern buy.

  • Click HERE to buy the Monarch Sweater Pattern! (P.S. It’s on SALE right now!!!)
  • Click HERE to view Hailey Bailey’s Etsy Shop (she has tons of awesome patterns!)
  • Click HERE to buy the yarn used for this sweater, Lion Brand Jeans!

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Designer Feature

Now, may I introduce to you…Hailey Bailey!

I asked Hailey some questions about her pattern design process, and she shared some awesome tips! Be sure to read on below.

1. How did you first start designing crochet patterns?

I thought about designing patterns for a while before I felt brave enough to write my first one. I participated in a CAL for a sweater by Sierra’s Crochet Crafts, which was my first ever attempt at a crochet sweater (and it was a huge success!)

I was so excited that I could make a great-looking garment that I actually wanted to wear. I felt so inspired and had a million ideas, but I didn’t think I could ever be a crochet designer or write a pattern anyone would actually want to make. I shared these feelings with Sierra and she encouraged me to go for it.

I then went on to write not one, but THREE patterns and released them all at once. I’ve never looked back since!

2. How did you get the original idea for the monarch? What inspired you?

Often with my colorwork patterns, I’m inspired by the animal or image itself and then the pattern design follows suit. I had created this drawing of a Monarch on a grid with the intention of using it for something.

At first, I thought I would make it into a shawl, but that idea turned out to be a total disaster. I almost scrapped the design entirely out of frustration! It was then that I had the idea to turn the design into a pullover — my first ever, as I have always designed cardigans. I was worried this version wouldn’t turn out well, either, but I tried it anyway.

I’m so happy that I kept going and didn’t give up on this idea because now it’s probably my favorite design yet.

3. What was the biggest challenge you faced in designing the Monarch? 

Besides the challenges I faced in finding the right pattern for my monarch image, I struggled with a lot of worries about sizing with this sweater.

I write my patterns in a non-traditional way, where each piece of the garment is based on measurements rather than a strict number of stitches based on gauge — I find that this helps not only for those like me who struggle to reach the correct gauge, but it helps the makers who use my patterns to have the freedom to customize their fit. Size inclusivity is hugely important to me as a designer and as a person, and people come in so many more shapes and sizes than even the most seasoned designer can accommodate with typical size ranges. I also love how it allows makers to make choices about their preferred fit and create a sweater they will feel excited and confident to wear.

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Testing is an essential phase of the process of writing any pattern, but it was even more vital for the Monarch to ensure that the pattern was adaptable to many sizes and customizations. Seeing all of my testers successfully complete their beautiful sweaters (each one completely unique!) I felt so excited and my worries faded away!

4. What are your tips for beginners wanting to crocheting colorwork like the Monarch uses?

My first tip is to BREATHE! Crochet colorwork looks super complicated and can be fiddly when you first start, but once you get your rhythm and technique down it will be a breeze. This colorwork is done with simple stitches and color changes.

The hardest part may be choosing how you want to carry your yarn across the colorwork, whether you use the “tapestry method” or the “fair isle method.” Both of these methods are illustrated in the pattern and there is even a link to a great video resource to help you get the basics.

I highly recommend searching around on Youtube for crochet colorwork tutorials if you are a visual learner like me. Also, when you start creating the colorwork in this pattern, in particular, IT WILL LOOK MESSY. Just like in life, everything will come together in the big picture.

The Moral of the Story

Isn’t Hailey awesome? Be sure to check out here entire Etsy shop HERE!

What’s amazing to me is how many different challenges had to be overcome for Hailey to get to where she is now.

And yet, here she is! Just think if she had never taken that first step and designed a pattern. Just think if she had never tried turning the Monarch into a sweater after its disaster as a shawl.

What if she hadn’t pushed through? Then we would never have seen this beautiful and inspiring crochet pattern.

That’s why I encourage ALL of you…push through your fears. Push through the challenges. Don’t give up. If you want to design a pattern, go for it!

You never know…you might just come up with something as big of a hit as this Monarch.

Happy Crocheting everyone!

—Rachel 🙂