Bentley (J.Crew Inspired) Sweater

A few years back, I was shopping in J.Crew looking for fun summer clothing since school was out and I HAD to have new swimsuits and cover-ups for my many summer vacations. I did some browsing in the clearance section when I came across a cotton stripped sweater that had buttons along the raglan sleeve edging. I tried it on and I loved it! I liked the style of it unbuttoned leaving an asymmetric flap hanging down. After looking at the price tag, although it was on clearance, I still had to put it back. From that moment on, I wanted to have a sweater just like that for upcoming fall. I looked everywhere and could not find anything like it, so my mother suggested that I just knit one for myself. Perfect! Now to find a pattern … not so easy... We tried searching through all my mother’s old pattern books and magazines and the only thing close was a simple raglan sweater, but I wasn’t sure how to do the buttonhole closure so it was real (not just buttons sewed on along the sleeve). We made some phone calls to local yarn shops and finally had a breakthrough! A Berroco pattern book #237 “Cold Comfort” from ’05 was used to create my dream sweater. I made changes due to the gage and changed the edging and height of the collar, but most of it I kept as it was.

The yarn I decided to use was a baby alpaca from Knit Picks because of the softness and warmth. The yarn was a worsted weight so it knit up fairly quickly. I loved the color as well, a light green with splashes of gold and turquoise fibers twisted in to liven it up. I found some gold vintage buttons with a lion on them from a local craft store that accentuated the gold in the sweater. I love how the sweater turned out! I wear it often in the fall over a t-shirt or an oxford button-down, under my puffy down vest it is so warm and comfortable.

Some problems that I faced while working on the sweater were the buttonholes (of course). I actually looked through some reference books on different options for buttonholes until I found the ones I liked. Also, because I used such a soft yarn (baby alpaca is not very sturdy) The flap that holds the buttons is very flimsy and has curled up around the edges. I may try to fix that by finding a sturdy ribbon to sew up behind it as reinforcement. The same is true for the flap with the buttonholes as well. If someone were to do the same sweater pattern again, I would suggest a wool blend of some kind to give the sweater some stiffness and strength around the button flap and buttonholes of the sweater. A cotton yarn could also be used (washable!!) for strength as well.

I hope this pattern inspires you to think outside the box by taking a simple sweater, such as a raglan pattern, and adding detail to it to make it your own style, either by adding a colorful edging or using a textured yarn, anything you can think of, I know its possible! And take inspiration from knits you see in your favorite clothing stores. Next time you are shopping, ask yourself “can I make this sweater for myself?” With a little bit of time and effort, you can have a unique sweater that’s better than any you could find in a store.


Bentley Buttonhole Sweater

A crew neck, raglan sleeve sweater with buttonholes along sleeve

Materials:
• 10 - 50 g/110 yards balls Knit Picks Andean Treasure 100% Baby Alpaca in Lagoon
• straight knitting needles size US 8 and 9
• 4 half inch buttons

Gauge:
16 sts and 20 rows = 4” in st st on size 9 needles
Size Small


Back:

With size 8 needles, CO 80 sts.
Back edging
Row 1 (RS): K2, * p2, k2, rep from * across.
Row 2: P2, *k2, p2, rep from * across.
Rep these 2 rows until piece measures 6” from beg, end on WS. Switch to size 9 needles. Work even in st st until piece measures 14.5” from beg, end on WS. Mark beg and end of last row for beg of armholes.

Armholes
Dec Row 1 (RS): K2, k3tog, k to last 5 sts, sl 1, k2tog, psso, k2 – 76 sts
Rep this dec every RS row one more time, end on WS – 72 sts
Dec Row 2 (RS): K2, k2tog, k to last 4 sts, SSK, k2 – 70 sts
Rep this dec every RS row 20 more times, while every fourth row, decrease a stitch in middle – 25 sts
Bind off all sts.

Front:
Work same as for back.

Sleeves (make two):

With size 8 needles, CO 32 sts.
Row 1(RS): K2, *p2, k2, rep from * across.
Row 2: P2, *k2, p2, rep from * across.
Rep these two rows until piece measures 2” from beg, end on WS. Switch to size 9 needles.
Inc row (RS): k1, m1k, k to last st, m1k, k1 – 34 sts. St st for 11 rows.
Rep this inc 6 more times – 46 sts. Cont in st st evenly until piece measures about 18” from beg, end on WS row. Mark beg and end of last row for beg of raglan cap.

Shape Raglan Cap
Dec Row (RS): k2, k2tog, k to last 4 sts, ssk, k2 – 44 sts. Rep this dec every RS row 9 times more, then every other RS row 5 times, ending on a WS – 16 sts. Bind off all sts.

Finishing:

Right Back Raglan Edging
With RS facing, using smaller needles, beg at armhole marker, pick up and k48 sts evenly spaced along right raglan armhole. Work rows 2-5 same as for back edging, end on RS. Bind off all sts purlwise.

Left Back Raglan Edging
Beg at bound-off sts of neck, work same as for right back raglan edging.

Left Front Raglan Edging
Work same as for right back raglan edging, binding off sts knitwise instead of purlwise.

Right Front Raglan Edging
Work same as for left back raglan edging. Sew raglan sleeve cap of right sleeve to right back and front raglan edgings. Sew right edge of raglan sleeve cap on left sleeve to left back raglan edging.

Buttonhole band
With RS facing, using smaller needles, beg at cap marker, pick up 49 sts evenly spaced along left edge of raglan cap on left sleeve. Beg with a p row, work in st st for 3 rows.
Buttonhole row: p5, **bring yarn to back, s1 kw, bring yarn to front. *S1 kw, pass first slipped stitch over second, rep from* once more, place last stitch back on left needle, turn work. CO 3 sts, turn work (RS) bring yarn to front, slip first st of left needle onto right needle and pass last CO st over it. P5, rep from ** once more, p to end of row.
Next row (WS): knit.
Bind off all sts.

Collar
With RS facing, using larger needles, beg at edge of left front raglan edging, pickup and k4 sts along end of edging, 20 sts along front neck edge, 4 sts along end of edging, 16 sts along top of right sleeve, 4 sts along end of edging, 20 sts along back neck edge, 4 sts along end of edging, 16 sts along top of left sleeve, then 4 sts along end of buttonhole band – 92 sts.
Row 1(WS): knit
Row 2: k1, p2, *k2, p2, rep from * to last st, end k1
Row 3: P1, k2, *p2, k2, rep from * to last st, end p1. Rep rows 2 and 3 once more.
Buttonhole row: k1, p2, bring yarn to back, s1 kw, bring yarn to front. *S1 kw, pass first slipped stitch over second, rep from * once more, place last stitch back on left needle, turn work. CO 3 sts, turn work (RS) bring yarn to front, slip first st of left needle onto right needle and pass last CO st over it, *k2, p2, rep from * to last st, end k1. Work evenly in ribbing as established until collar measures 3”, end on WS. Bind off all sts in ribbing.

Lap left front raglan edging under buttonhole band and pin in place. Sew buttonhole band half way along left front raglan edging. Sew side and sleeve seems. Sew 3 buttons evenly spaced on collar and left front raglan edging to match buttonhole eyelets.

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