Gauge: One pattern repeat = 1 ¼”
Requirements: 1 ball DK yarn, size 4mm crochet hook, 1 ball 4ply yarn, size 3.25 crochet hook. A small button
Using 4mm hook, make a chain of 64 stitches. This will make 10 ½ repeats of the pattern, which the turning chain will turn into 11 repeats.
Foundation row: Chain another 5 stitches for the turning chain. 1tr in 6th chain from hook, [2ch, skip 2 ch, 1tr into next ch] repeat to end This makes 22 ‘holes’.
1st pattern row: Chain 3 for turning chain, [1ch, 3tr into next tr (this is the shell stitch), 1ch, 1tr in next tr] repeat to last treble, into which you should be working a shell stitch, then 1ch and 1 treble into the top of the turning chain.
2nd pattern row: Chain 3 for turning chain, [2tr in first treble of shell, 1treble in second, 2 treble in third, then 1treble in the lone treble – ‘extended shell stitch’ ] repeat to end, finishing with 1 treble into the top of the turning chain
3rd pattern row: Chain 5 for turning chain, 1tr into 3rd (i.e. middle) treble of the shell [2ch, skip 2 tr, 1tr into next tr] repeat to end
Repeat these three pattern rows twice for a short bolero, making three pattern repeats in total, ending with 2nd pattern row
Decrease for armholes: 2 turning chain, 1 slip stitch into each treble (not the one at the base of the turning chain though!) up to the lone treble in the middle of the extended shell. 5 chain, [2ch, skip 2 tr, 1tr into next tr] repeat to last extended treble. End row with the treble in the middle of the extended shell. You have now decreased in total by 1 pattern repeat.
1st pattern row: Chain 2 for turning chain, 1 treble into base of turning chain, 1ch, 1 treble in next treble, [1ch, 3tr into next tr, 1ch, 1tr in next tr] repeat to last treble, then 1ch and 2 treble into the top of the turning chain.
2nd pattern row: Chain 2 for turning chain, 2 tr in next treble, 1 treble in next lone treble [2tr in first treble of shell, 1treble in second, 2 treble in third, 1treble in the lone treble] repeat to last half-shell, working 2 trebles in first treble of last half-shell and 1 treble into the top of the turning chain
3rd pattern row: Chain 3 for turning chain [2ch, skip 2 tr, 1tr into next tr] repeat to end
Work 6 pattern repeats straight, ending with 3rd pattern row. Fasten off. You may want to add another pattern repeat if you think that the resulting armhole is not going to be deep enough for your child to wave her arms around comfortably, particularly since the sleeves are crocheted directly onto the armholes so there isn’t much ease at the top of the sleeve. If you do work an additional repeat, don’t forget to add the same repeat to the right and left fronts, so they match the back.
In order to create the curved bolero front shape, you need to increase on every row by half a pattern repeat. This is something that takes forever to explain in words, so I have created a chart for the right and left fronts that make it clearer. You can get away with just doing two fronts the same, and that is what I actually did on mine – the back and front do look a tiny bit different but only an expert could spot it.
You are going to crochet the sleeves directly onto the armholes. This means that there is not a great deal of wearing ease to the armholes so you need to make sure that the armhole is fairly roomy around the child. If you have any doubts, add another pattern repeat to the back and fronts.
Join the shoulder seams.
Foundation row: Join thread to the front corner of the armhole with a slip-stitch. Double crochet evenly along the edge of the armhole to provide a base for the sleeve. Do a multiple of 6 to ensure easy patterning. When you reach the back corner, squeeze in the last double crochet and slip stitch up the turning chain or treble crochet at the edge to go up to the next row.
1st row: 2 ch [skip 2 ch, 1tr into next dc, 2ch] repeat to end and join to the corner at the edge with a slipstitch.
1st pattern row: Chain 5, [3tr into next tr,1ch, 1tr in next tr, 1ch] repeat to end, omitting the final 1ch.
2nd pattern row: Chain 3, [2tr in first treble of shell, 1treble in second, 2 treble in third, 1treble in the lone treble] repeat to end.
3rd pattern row: Chain 5, skip 2 treble, 1 tr into next treble [2ch, skip 2 tr, 1tr into next tr] repeat to end.
Repeat 1st and 2nd pattern rows once more. Fasten off.
Seam the side & armhole seams. You may wish to block the garment now (though I didn’t).
Using 4ply yarn and 3.25mm hook, double crochet around the edge of the sleeves to provide a base for the edging. You can do any edging you like bearing in mind that
1) too narrow an edging will mean that you cannot do up the bolero at the front, and
2) you will need to do the correct multiple of stitches since you are now working in the round. The one I used is Fan Flair from the Harmony Guide to Crochet Edgings & Trims. I would reproduce it here but my lawyer’s instincts won’t let me breach copyright. So, if you don’t have a copy of the book, this is an edging that should do the trick...
Multiple of 6 stitches.
Round 1: Chain 5, [skip 2 dc, work (1tr, 2ch) into next dc] Repeat to end, join with a slipstitch to the 3rd ch in the turning chain
Round 2: Chain 3, 2tr in each 2ch space, 1 treble in each treble. Repeat to end.
Round 3: Chain 5, [miss 2tr, 3tr into next tr (this is the shell stitch), 1ch, miss 2 tr, 1tr in next tr, 1ch] repeat to end and slipstitch into the middle stitch of the turning chain to join.
Round 4: Chain 3, [2tr in first treble of shell, 1treble in second, 2 treble in third, 1treble in the lone treble] repeat to end and slipstitch into the top of the turning chain to join.
Round 5: 1ch. (2ch [treble 2 together, 1tr into next tr, treble 2 together this draws the shell back in], 2ch, ss into next tr,) Repeat to the end, joining the round with a slip stitch.
Round 6 for picot* edging: 1ch, [2dc into 2 ch space, 1dc into next treble. Into the next treble: dc, make a picot*, dc . 1dc into next treble, 2dc into 2 ch space, slip stitch into slip stitch] Repeat to end and slip stitch to join Fasten off.
* Make a picot = make 3 chain and slip stitch into the 3rd chain from the hook.
Join yarn to the edge of the bolero body at the corner of the front neckline, as marked on the chart. Double crochet down the right front, along the bottom and up the left front to the neckline corner. Work 7 dcs into the loop that marks the start of the neckline and continue working dcs up the left front neckline, along the back and down the right front neckline. Complete the round by working 7 dcs into the loop/treble at the end of the neckline and join with a slipstitch to the start of the round. The middle dc of each of these 7dc corners marks the neckline’s start and end.
Continue to work the shell edging in rounds along the fronts and back, replacing the pattern with double crochets. This will make the bolero more comfortable to wear and also looks neater. For the final picot row, work [2dc, make a picot] between the neckline corners.
Weave in any loose ends. Block to size. Sew a small button onto the left front. Find a pretty dress to wear under it and it’s good to go.