Many crochet garments suffer from a draping problem, which is probably due in part to the crocheter's propensity to use readily available craft yarns rather than delicious, high-quality fibers. Crochet garments use A LOT of yarn, and the natural frugality of a DIY clothing maker runs at sharp odds with the temptation of the but-it-feels-so-good-to-wear! siren call of a nice silk or alpaca blend.
It's also due to the way the knots work because they form a horizontal structure rather than a vertical one, and clothes drape vertically (thanks, gravity), so I've slowly, reluctantly come to accept that the best solution to the chunky drape of a crocheted garment is to use small yarn. Even then, crochet garments sometimes lack the grace that knitted garments have.
To that I say, "Fie!"
I've begun an experiment to try to find a cheap DK/sport yarn that will not make me hate life while I use it. Sure, the faux softness of my craft store acrylic yarn doesn't hold a candle to your alpaca, but when I can make a whole garment for around $10, it's worth exploring. To that end, I am concurrently working on three different tops using three different craft store sport weight yarns.
I finished the first this week.
The Yarn: Bernat Softee Baby, DK/sport weight, between $3.75 and $5 for 4 oz. (333 yards).
The Sweater: This Cute Chevron Sweater
I made just a few modifications from the pattern. I began striping on row 6 and alternated colors every 2 rows. I also had to modify the shaping to accommodate the figure I actually have (read: broader hips and a rounder belly than the pattern creator). One of my favorite things about this project is how very quickly it worked up, and that I finally got a crocheted garment that looks good on. I still carry some weight from bearing my kids--well, I can blame childbearing, but it's been long enough now that in reality it's just simple laziness--but this sweater manages to be flattering all the same. As for fit, I'm pleased.
As for yarn, this yarn really worked for this garment. It is actually soft, and though it's hard to find it in a color that isn't characteristic of a pack of Smarties, I managed to find a grown-up worthy green (soft fern) to compliment the relatively safe antique white. (Craft yarn manufacturers have ridiculously decided that all light-gauge projects must be for a baby and that all baby items must be pastel.) The yarn is actually soft, and it didn't split, fuzz, or itch. Even better, only took one skein of each color to make the entire sweater. (Had I gone with long sleeves, I would have needed a TINY amount of the antique white from a second skein.)
Overall, I'm very pleased. I can't have a wardrobe of all green, though, so the limited range of colors is a big mark against this particular yarn.