Rainbow Tunisian Jacket



This design was inspired by the stunning color palette of Berroco yarns.  Color excites me, and I wanted to find an interesting way to mix and contrast them in a design. I find Tunisian Simple Stitch a marvelous and easy way to work with color, and it allowed me to play with various combinations and work intuitively, without preplanning the sequences.  I had a blast!



SKILL LEVEL:  Intermediate

SIZE:  Small/Medium


18 balls/skeins or 1800 yards of  mostly smooth worsted weight yarns in assorted colors. 


5 shanked button 1” in diameter (Optional -- jacket can closed with a brooch)

Tunisian crochet hook size J -6.0 mm or size to obtain gauge



While the Berroco yarns are as luscious as can be,  other yarns can be used for this pattern. In fact, it's an awesome stash-buster. For the size shown here, which will fit from 32 to 35 inch bust, you will need approximately 18 balls, or 1800 yards of worsted weight yarns in an assortment of colors.  If the worsteds are not exactly the same weight, no worries, they aren't in my version either and it came out just fine.

Gauge: 11 st and 11 Rows = 3"  


Two color Tunisian Simple Stitch makes it possible to mix 2 different yarns in a subtle and interesting way.  It works like this:

Work with color A of your choice, for one full row.  On next return pass, change to color B of your choice.   Do not break off  A.   Work a return pass and a forward pass in B.  Use A again for next return pass and forward pass.  Continue alternating yarns A and B for anywhere from 4 - 10 rows.  

When you have done this, you will have a "stripe" as wide as the number of rows you have made.  Now choose one yarn to keep and cut the other.  You will continue working with the yarn you've kept and pick another color yarn that blends or contrasts nicely with it for your next stripe.  Make this stripe a different width than the first stripe you made.

Continue working stripes, keeping one color from the last stripe and adding a second color each time.  Vary the width of your stripes, in other words, do not make them the same number of rows.  Make some of them very skinny, especially when using very strong colors.  Stripes can be as  narrow as 2 rows, as wide as 10.

Every once in a while do a row all in one color.

For a balanced look in this jacket, USE ALL THE COLORS YOU HAVE CHOSEN THROUGHOUT THE GARMENT. If you have only a small amount of yarn in a particular color, save some of it for the second half of the garment.

If you have strongly contrasting light and dark colors, as I do in this design, make sure you use both light and dark in roughly equal measure on the right and left of the garment.

Don't try to duplicate your stripes from one side to the other. 

Before beginning the jacket, make a sizable swatch in Tunisian simple stich, mixing and matching colors to see how they look together.  Color on a ball looks very different when stitched up, and combinations can suprise you. Be adventurous in your swatch and see what you come up with!

These instructions will tell you how many stitches in each row.  For color work, I explain how two-color Tunisian works and will give guidelines, rather than row by row instructions. Have no fear, it's an adventure and you can hardly go wrong.  Before going further into color changes, here is how to do Tunisian Simple Stitch.


Make starting chain as you would in normal crochet

FIRST FORWARD PASS: Insert hook under back loop of 2nd chain, yo and pull through, keeping loop on the hook. *Insert hook under front loop of next chain, yo and pull through keeping loop on the hook. Rep from * for length of chain, ending with the same number of stitches as the number of starting chains. (You may work under the "bump" at the back if you like.)

RETURN PASS: Yo, draw through first loop on hook, *yo and draw through 2 loops, rep from * to end.

NEXT FOWARD PASS: Skip the first vertical bar. Pull the yarn firmly (for a clean edge), then *insert hook under next vertical bar, yo, draw through keeping loop on the hook. Rep from * across. To make a clean edge on the opposite side, on the last st of the row insert hook through the front vertical bar and also the strand behind it.

NOTE:  In this pattern, one ROW consists of a forward pass and a return pass


Choose between five and twelve different colors of mostly smooth worsted weight yarns from your stash. These should be mostly solids and can include two or three variegated yarns.  Heathers will work fine as well.  As mentioned previously, slight variations in thickness of yarns will not cause problems.  Mohair, boucle or other textured yarns can be included to very nice effect, but use them sparingly. 


As you can see, I went pretty wild with colors.  Another option might be to work with neutrals such as browns, blacks, beiges and whites, with perhaps one or two accents in dark red or purple or dark green.  Or work with many shades of one or two related colors: blues and reds, or blues and purples, or golds and greens.  You might want to think seasonally: autumnal or spring colors.  If you want to include very intense or bright colors, use them sparingly and mix them with others that are softer to the eye.

The design is for a short jacket worked in vertical rows -- what some people call "sideways"  construction --  beginning at the wrist of one sleeve and worked continuously across the body to the wrist of the  second sleeve.  There are no shoulder seams, only seams under each sleeve and at the garment’s sides.   Tunisian Simple Stitch (sometimes called afghan stitch) is used throughout. 

Short rows are used to shape the bodice for a figure-flattering fit. A short row is just what it sounds like: you work one "pass" of Tunisian Simple Stitch (either the forward or return) over a certain number of stitches that are less than the full row, then work your second pass back to your starting point. The following row is worked over the short row just completed and continued in the stitches of the full row that preceded the short row. In this manner, you create more fabric at the hips and bust, leaving the waist a bit smaller


On short rows it is inconvenient to switch colors. To avoid extra cutting and weaving, make the forward and return row with the same color, then change colors on the next full return row.  


Increasing is done in the forward pass. Skip first vertical bar as usual, pick up next loop by inserting hook between the first and second vertical bars, under the top loop of the chain from the return row. Continue as usual, picking up a loop in each vertical bar across. Increase at the end of the row in the same way, inserting hook between the last two vertical bars and under the top loop of the horizontal chain. Work last loop under two strands as usual.


Ss2tog in forward pass:  insert hook under 2 vertical bars, draw up a loop.

Ss2tog in reverse pass:  pull loop through 2 vertical bars instead of 1. Treat these as one bar on next forward row.

Ss3tog in reverse pass:  pull loop through 3 vertical bars instead of 1.  Treat these as 1 bar on next forward row.


To bind off,  SLIP STITCH across the row as follows: Draw loop through vertical bar and the loop on the hook at the same time. Repeat across. If ending off, break yarn and draw through last loop.


Bind off with Slip Stitch on the forward pass AS DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH ABOVE for designated number of stitches, then continue across the row in normal fashion. On the return pass, work as usual until you reach the slip stitches. Make the same number of chains as the number of slip stitches, then continue the return pass as usual. On the next forward pass, work as usual till you reach chains made in previous row, then pick up a loop in each chain made as you did in very first forward row.


When beginning short rows on a forward pass, pick up designated number of stitches, then, leaving remaining stitches unworked, work return row from this point, treating first stitch as you normally would, that is, yarn over and pull yarn through first vertical bar. The next row will be worked over the short row and continued over previously unworked stitches.


When beginning a short row on a return pass, work over designated number of stitches, leave the remaining loops on the hook, work a forward pass over same stitches, beginning by picking up the second vertical bar. The next return pass will be worked over the short row and continued over loops on hook.

Tunisian simple stitch throughout.


With color of your choice, ch 30.

Work Tunisian Simple Stitch, increasing 1 st at each end every 5th row, for a total of 58 rows. You should now have 52 stitches, and piece should measure slightly more than 15 inches in length from wrist and about 14 inches wide. To make the upper part of the sleeve, increase 1 st at each end EVERY row for 15 rows, ending with 82 st. Sleeve now measures about 20” in length from wrist and  22 1/4 inches wide.  Do not end off.


We are now adding 45 st at both ends for the garment's side edge.

First we need to make additional foundation chains for these stitches. At the end of  last completed row , make 45 chains with working yarn. Begin forward row by working as you did at the beginning, working into the back loop of the foundation chain, then continue working over all st in sleeve. At the end of the row, keep loops on the hook. With the yarn you will use for the next return row, tie on at the row below and with a regular hook of same size, chain 45. Finish forward row over these stitches by working as in foundation chain. Now work return row over all stitches, ending with 172 st. (NOTE: although you are using different yarns to make additional foundation chains, these will be hidden in the side seam.)

*Work even for 5 rows, then work a short row over 15 stitches, following directions above for beginning on a forward row.  Work next forward row as usual. On next return row, work a short row over 15 st (not counting the first vertical bar as a stitch), following directions above for beginning on a return row.

Work even for 5 rows. On next forward row begin a short row over 20 st. Work a complete forward row, then on next return row work a short row over 20 st. (The purpose of making short rows different lengths is to make the shaping from hip to waist gradual. We are adding width for the hips at both ends, for the front and back of the garment.)*

Rep from * to *.

Work 3 more rows. Work now measures approximately 26 1/4 inches from wrist. If you miscount between short rows, not to worry, but be sure to end with the correct total number of rows.


Count stitches to insure that divide is made at exact center. There should be 86 st for the front and the same number for the back. Mark center point with stitch marker of your choice. From this point you will be working on the back of the jacket only.


Work a forward pass to within last 2 st, ss2tog at end of row.

Work return pass, beginning a new ball if switching colors.

Work a forward pass. On next return pass, begin a short row for bust over 52 st . Complet short row, then work full return pass.

On next forward pass begin a short row over 20 st.

Work 4 full rows.

Next return row begin a short row over 52 st .

Work 2 more full rows. There should be 9 full rows, plus 2 short rows at the top and 1 short row at the bottom. This is the garment's halfway point.

Finish back neck by reverse shaping as follows:

Work 2 full rows.

Work 4 full rows.

On next forward row begin a short row over 20 st.Work one full row.

On next return row beg short row for bust over 52 st.

Work a forward row, inc 1 st at end.

This is end of neck divide. Total number of full rows is 22, plus 4 short rows at the top and 2 short rows at the bottom. Do not end off, but secure last loop on a safety pin.



Begin with a new ball of yarn. Counting from marker placed at neckline divide, sk first 5 vertical bars, work forward pass on remaining st to end. 80 st.

Work next return pass to within last 3 st, ss3tog (dec 2 made). On next forward pass, treat the ss3tog like the first vertical bar in a row by skipping them, and insert hook into next vertical bar. 78 st.

Next return pass, work to within last 3 st, ss3tog. 76 (78, 80, 81) st.

Work next forward pass as a short row over 45 st.

Work next return pass as short row over 20 st.

Work even for 4 rows.

Work next forward pass as short row over 45 st.

Work even for 6 rows.

Counting along neck edge there should be 12 rows, 2 short rows on at the top and one short row at the bottom.  Bind off.




Ch 76

Work 3 rows even.

If you wish to make buttonholes, proceed as described below.  If not, work even for two additional rows. Proceed to section after buttonhole section.

Buttonhole row:

Pick up 3 vertical loops as usual *(yo and pull through vertical loop and loop on hook) 2 times (1 buttonhole completed), pick up next 15 vertical lps as normal* rep from * to * 5 times, (yo and pull through vertical loop and loop on hook) 2 times, pick up rem vertical lps as normal.

On return pass, ch 2 over each buttonhole.

Next forward row, pick up vertical lps as normal, pick up lps in ea of of ch-2 over buttonholes as you would working on starting chain.

Work 1 row even.

Next forward pass work as short row over 45 st

Work 4 rows even.

Next return pass begin short row over 20 st. Complete this short row with a forward pass.

Next forward pass work as short row over 45 st.

In next 2 forward passes increase 2 st at start of row by picking up top loop of chain between first and second vertical bars and between second and third vertical bars, ending with 80 st.

At end of next return pass, ch 5, end off. There should be 12 full rows, plus 2 short rows at the top, and one short row at the bottom.

Connecting back to front

Return to back and work forward pass, then, controlling tension so as to minimize excess yarn, pick up a loop in each of the 5 chains on front (a small amount of excess yarn seems unavoidable here, but can be evened out when working later rows), then in each vertical bar of front right piece.

Work 3 rows even, then work a short row over 20 st at both ends. Work 5 rows even, then work short rows at both ends over 15 st. Work 5 rows even* then rep from * to *.

To end side, bind off 45 st, pull up lp in next 82 st, keeping lps on hook, bind off rem 45 st to end. Cut both yarns. Start new yarn for return row


Work ss2tog at both ends on every return row for the next 15 rows.

Work 3 rows even.  Next row, dec 1 st at each end.

Dec 1 st at each end every 5th row for 55 more rows. Work 5 more rows even, ending with 30 st. Bind off.



Before sewing seams, steam edges to eliminate as much curl as possible. Sew seams at sides and under sleeves from WS, picking up inside strands to hide seam.

TRIM: IF STEAMING HAS ELIMINATED CURL work sc trim beginnning at bottom right corner of front, working 2 sc at each corner, countinuing working sc around neckline and down opposite side of front.

IF STEAMING HAS NOT ELIMINATED CURL SUFFICIENTLY: I still had more curl than I wanted at the center front despite prolonged steaming, so I found this solution:

Work sc trim inserting hook into back loop of stitch and also into back of stitches of return row just under this row. This will pull work in opposite direction from curl. It's somewhat cumbersome to do, but worth the effort. Do this at front edges of garment; it is not necessary around back of neck.





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Tunisian jacket

It looks as if your jacket has some shaping in it.  Is that the case?  If so is it written into the pattern or did you add it just to your jacket?

Rainbow Tunisian Jacket

I am interested in the Jacket and the sideways construction. How would you suggest making it larger to fit a 38-40 inch bust? I know the short row shaping would need to change.

So far so good - now come unstuck

I have worked my way through the pattern to finish the left.  The work looks a treat and I can hardly wait to get it finished.  But I have come unstuck at the front right.  I have had to vary the stitch numbers all the way through because I am using thinner wool and need a larger size. I cannot work out what I am doing when I chain 76 stitches for front left.   If I don't know what I am working on I cannot figure out how to vary the stitches.  Also:  I had naively assumed I would just reverse the left in order to work the right.  This does not seem to be the case.  Can anyone help?

This has got to be the

This has got to be the coolest pattern I have ever seen for putting all of my cotton, worsted weight yarn to good use. I've been holding on to it for years waiting for the right pattern. I think this is it. Thanks so much! The pattern is so original too. It looks so classy. I can't wait to make it.