There’s a lesson that all crafters must learn: Know when to DIY and when to buy. This is an essential lesson because once it is learned, it will save you time, money and unnecessary hair pulling. I don’t know where it came from, but I have this bad habit of looking at something and thinking, “I can make that myself”. It doesn’t matter whether it is a canvas painting, a piece of furniture or a knit sweater, I think I have the skills to make it better or just as nicely as the one in the store – Never mind the fact that I am a terrible painter, I don’t have much experience with power tools and I don’t even know how to knit. You may call it ego, but I call it frugality.
“Handmade” has turned into quite the buzzword these days, and rightfully so. I love the originality of something handmade and knowing that there won’t be another one that is exactly like mine. I like that feeling even more, though, when it was my hands that made it. Unfortunately, thinking I can make everything myself and actually being able to do it are two different things. I have attempted just about everything. It started out innocent enough: some beaded bracelets here, a few painted picture frames there. But pretty soon, it had turned into an obsession. The more projects I took on, the more I loved it and the better I got. My first attempt at fancy lettering for a cute wall sign wasn’t that great, but eventually it got better.
There were a lot of things that didn’t turn out the way I wished they would, but I started to surprise myself with how nice a lot of my projects turned out. Occasionally I recruited others to help me and eventually I upped my DIY game. My dad and I made over a dining room table I found at a garage sale and turned it into a farmhouse-style dream. Mike and I have made several pieces of furniture including an industrial-style coffee table and a matching two-tiered table for behind our couch. I took my grandma’s vintage Queen Anne chair, painted over the wood stain and reupholstered the cushions to make a delightful addition to our living room. So many parts of my wedding were even DIY-ed like the jewelry my bridesmaids wore, our table numbers and signs used around the venue.
One of my favourite, go-to DIY projects is crochet. I first learned to crochet when I was in university. At the time, it was a way to relieve some stress from my studies and procrastinate when I should have been studying. My mom, who is a lefty, taught me, so I happen to crochet left-handed. She taught me just the basic stitches (single and double crochet) and since then I have taught myself how to read patterns, how to do some more complicated stitches and how to create great pieces for myself as well as gifts for friends and family. I started out with scarves, then moved onto things like blankets, hats and shalls. Now, I am often thinking of new ways to create wearable pieces like tops that I can add to my collection.
For a little while I have been thinking about making a crochet spring top. I’m going to Scotland in August, so I wanted something that was light and sleeveless for the summer, but a thicker fabric than just tanks in case it is a little windy. So, I decided to make a sleeveless tank. I looked online for patterns, but didn’t see one that was exactly what I was picturing. So, of course, I decided to make up my own pattern.
Creating a crochet pattern, for me, was challenging. This was my first ever attempt at creating a pattern and putting it into writing. I was worried because I knew I wanted to share it with all of you. I wanted to create something that even the earliest beginner could do and this one really couldn’t get any easier. This tank is worked in two separate pieces and them seamed together at the end. The size I made is probably a small/medium. I wanted it to be a loose-fitting top, but to adjust the size would be very easy. It uses a simple mesh stitch. I found a great tutorial on youtube for how to create this stitch. It’s super easy to do and it won’t need blocking (which is great because I have yet to try that).
You will need:
Size K, 6.5 mm crochet hook
*1.5 skeins Bernat Handicrafter Cotton Yarn
Tapestry needle to weave in ends
Skill level: Beginner
*This is for a size S/M. For L/XL, you will likely need 2 skeins or more.
Note: To adjust the sizing of this top, simply make your foundation chain as wide as your shoulders and continue with that size.
Row 1: Chain 57. To make this top bigger or smaller, just increase or decrease the number of stitches so that it is as wide as your shoulders. Make this number an odd number.
Row 2: Single crochet in each of the stitches below. In the last stitch, single crochet, chain 1 and turn.
Row 3: Repeat Row 2. In the last stitch, make one single crochet, chain 2 and turn.
Row 4: In the 4th stitch from the hook (counting the 2 that you chained in the row before), slip stitch. Chain two and then skip the next stitch.
Row 5 to end: Repeat Row 4 until you reach a desired end. Tie off.
Repeat this pattern for the back, making it about 2 inches longer (if desired)
Line the two pieces on top of each other, with the inside sides together (you are going to assemble the top inside out).
Starting at the top edge (the one with the single crochet rows), seam together the first 2 inches and 2 inches on the other side.
On the sides, leave a gap large enough for armholes. I made the holes about 9 inches long. Then, seam the sides all the way to the bottom. The back should be longer than the front if you added additional rows when you were crocheting it.
And that’s it! I love how the neckline is relaxed and slouches. I can totally see myself wearing it on our trip to Scotland while we go for a picnic or driving through the countryside. If you make one yourself, be sure to share some pictures with me!
Thanks hubby for snapping the pics for me xoxo