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Crochet top(s)

Gearing up for travel always inspires me to get sewing.  As though planning a trip isn’t enough work I always feel the need to bring a few new handmade items for each vacation…sometimes I am successful and sometimes not so much!  When planning our trip to London/Dublin last summer I had envisioned wearing a loose knit tank and began knitting a navy round-yoke sleeveless sweater that never got finished and I honestly have no idea what even happened to it.  I have thought about it ever since and was determined to make something similar to it for my upcoming trip to Spain but couldn’t bear to start a new top in the same style so I decided to take a bit of a shortcut and crochet one instead.  I have been knitting and crocheting off and on for years and I still find crochet to be SO MUCH FASTER.  Not sure if this is true for everyone- but I always feel like it is my shortcut, my cheat for knitting.

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After combing ravelry for what felt like forever I came across this simple boxy crochet top and fell in love.  I worked on it here and there – at home, on my lunch hour, in waiting rooms and in bed until I was finally done.  That sounds overly dramatic now that I read it- it really only took a few hours here and there over the course of a few weeks to finish.  I was so eager to get started I just ran out to the local JoAnns on my lunch hour to buy cotton yarn and settled on Lily Sugar N’ Cream in Indigo as a good inexpensive but natural fiber option.  No acrylic for this summer sweater!  The pattern works up very easy.  The two row pattern was simple to memorize and the repetitive stitch was extremely soothing and meditative.  I did find the sizing to be ridiculously large.  I began the sweater following the XL size but with the stated 14 inches of ease built in it was way too big.  I decided to work up the size Large with the hook size stated and it fits great.  Perfect amount of ease and drape.  It was easy to crochet while watching TV or carrying on a conversation which is a must in my book.

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I finished it a few weeks ago and decided to run outside for a few pictures of it when my youngest pulled out a similar pink sweater that I had crocheted for her older sister years ago and I had forgotten about…I believe she found it at the bottom of her closet- argh.  She immediately wanted to wear it to match me and come into the photo shoot!

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I have become discouraged lately and have stopped sewing or knitting/crocheting for my girls much in recent years because many of the items became somewhat forgotten or banished to the back of the closet but I am so happy to see them be resurrected like this.  I love the oversized granny square pattern I used for her little pink sweater probably 5 years ago that I started an adult sized version for me as soon as I finished this one.  I am actually wearing this top right now, and while getting dressed for school this morning she popped in my room and saw it on me and ran to her room to wear hers as well.  Now, if that isn’t the ultimate Mommy compliment I don’t know what is.  It makes me smile just thinking about it- that my little girl wanted to dress like me today at school.  I will hold onto this for as long as I can!

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Finally! A Kid’s Clothing Week wrap up.

So, summer is almost over!  Or, that is how it feels around here.  Things are winding down and before we know it we will be gearing up for work and school in the fall.  After last weeks heat wave and the pressure of the Kids Clothing week challenge I am recouping and slowing down a bit.  Can you believe everything I made last week?

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I have also made a few dresses that I am SO VERY EXCITED about but can’t talk about yet (I am a pattern tester for one of my favorite blogs!)…busy busy.  This is on top of going to Jellystone, trips to the zoo, playdates, pool etc.  WOW.

This week, other than the secret dress making I am taking it easy.  Enjoying the girls and what we have left of summer (I know, we still have another month!).

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KWC Day Two: Crochet yoke top (with crochet pattern!)

I am so excited to participate in this Kids Clothes Week Summer sewing challenge.  As I vowed earlier, I am challenging myself to sew one entire garment each day this week.  Call me crazy but I am pumped.  For day 1 I started a bit slow, but I prepared to come out in full force today, and came up with a tutorial as well.  I have made MANY different versions of this top/dress over the last few years- it has kind of been a signature for me so I can do it with my eyes closed (well, not really) so I figured writing up a tutorial would be easy.  Again, not really.  I usually wing the crochet part, and guesstimate the number of stitches and the type of crochet stitches I want depending on the fabric I am using.  Writing up a crochet pattern isn’t something I have ever done before, but I think I did a good job!  If anyone makes this and has any issues please let me know!  Scroll down to the end and see some of the other versions I have made in the past.  It is the sweetest summer top, and can be adapted into a dress or using a wool yarn and heavier fabric become s a cute jumper in the fall or winter as well.

For this tutorial I am making a summer top for my 6 1/2 year old daughter.  I used an all cotton yarn in a natural ecru color, and the fabric is a quilting cotton.  I have made two different versions.  The first is a bit easier, and uses the dress pattern for the Oliver and S popover sundress.  This results in a clean front- no gathering.  The second version uses a peasant dress bodice pattern so it is fuller and gathered, and the necline is larger resulting in a pretty flutter or ruffled “sleeve”.  I love them both!  Since Isabel is in summer school (I am so mean aren’t I- sending my Kindergartener to Spanish Summer school) Eleanor stepped in to model, although it is large on her she did an awesome job!

Crochet pattern:

Hook size: H/8- 5.00mm

I have never checked my gauge and wasn’t about to start now…I don’t find it necessary for this project.

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Version 1: Easy

Chain 70

Row 1: DC across, ch 2 and turn.

Row 2: DC in first stitch, *ch2, sk 2 sts, DC 3sts in next st*.  Repeat from * to *.  End with ch1 sk1st, DC last stitch.  Ch2 and turn

Row 3: DC across all sts (inc chain sts) , ch 2 turn (111sts)

Row 4: HDC across all sts, ch1, SC 6sts across side of work, ch1 turn, sc 6sts,ch 8,  join with sl st to first st to form buttonhole.

Fasten off

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Version 2-  Flutter sleeve version:

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Row 1: Sc across, ch 1 and turn

Row 2: *Hdc in back loop 6sts, 2sc in back loop in next st*, repeat from * to *, end with hdc in back loop 7sts.  Ch2, turn

Row 3: Dc in back loop 9sts, 2dc in next stitch, repeat from * to *, end Dc in back loop 9sts.  Ch2 and turn.  (85sts)

Row 4: DC in first st, *Ch2, skip 2sts, 3Dc in next st* repeat from * to *.  End with 1Dc through both loops.  Ch 1 and turn.

Row 5: Hdc across all sts (including each of the ch stitches).  Ch 1 and turn.

Row 6: Sc across (135 sts)

Row 7: Ch1 and crochet 8sts along side of work, Ch1 and turn.  Sc 6sts (still along side) Ch8 and sl st in to first stitch to form buttonhole.  8sc across chain and join at other end.  Fasten Off

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This will form a semi-circle for the neckline to be sewn at top of the fabric dress or shirt you have cut.

For the body of the dress you will use any bodice or dress pattern you have, or you can draft your own by tracing a t-shirt or dress your child may already own.  For the flutter example I used a peasant top pattern (from this book) and gather the neckline before sewing it to the crochet yoke.  After you gather your neckline (just eyeball it as to how much or you can measure your child from armpit to armpit for a measurement of how wide you want the front and back to be. ) you will either serge the top or zigzag to keep from fraying.  In a pinch I have also used pinking shears.  However you typically finish your seams.  Then, you will also need to finish off your armholes, either with bias tape or a double fold.

I like to sew on the yoke before hemming the top/dress to see what lenght I want it to be.  Line up your yoke to your top/dress top and pin.  I fold both of mine in half and line up the centers and pin.  Then pin out towards the armholes and repeat for the back.  Remember you will need a bit of overlap in the back for your button.  Then sew with a normal stitch with the crochet edge on top, backstitching at the beginning and end.  Repeat for the back and you are ready to try it on your little one and finish it off with your hem.    Sew on a special button and you are done!

I have adapted this pattern so many times, with wool yarn and denim, cotton yarn and quilting cotton fabrics etc.  Some of the past projects are:

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