Wednesday, 21 March 2018

OFF-THE-SHOULDERS CROPPED TOP



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OFF-THE-SHOULDERS CROPPED TOP


Yes, this seems to be the *in* thing right now, and I am thrilled to make yet another off-the-shoulder top.  For this one, I plan on keeping a simple body pattern so that all the stunning effect of the top collar / off the shoulder-ness is in full vision ;) !

This photograph seems to be making its circuit around the net a lot, and I am unable to find a pattern for it.  These are my notes for what I am doing to get this top done.  Enjoy.

Here is the photo (in blue below) that got me kick-started with this project.  I do not know if there is a pattern/chart for this lovely creation.  I do not claim that this is my original project but I do state that this white top has been made by me inspired by this photograph.



Please remember though, that it is nice if you could share my blog link for this pattern when you make your product – after all, it helps to *pay it forward* J

Thanks for joining me once again as we work on and discover this new pattern together. J
As always, I request you to please go through my really detailed instructions for lots of ideas, tips and tweaks.

Do check my long Pinterest link for all the free patterns I’ve written up over the years right at the bottom of this blog.


Materials used :Today I’ve used ~ 200 gms of a really lovely Indian Anchor knitting cotton yarn with a 3.0 mm crochet hook.
Note : Hook recommended is 2 – 2.5 mm.  I am using a 3mm as I like the extra stretch and lightness that it will gives my yarn.

For Indians : Our lovely Indian Red Rose and White Rose knitting cotton yarns are a good substitute.  I’d also suggest Alize cotton yarn – and you can get all of this with an easy mouse click on the top right hand side of this blog (read : Click here to buy yarns Online)

For Non-Indians : I actually started writing my blog to help Indians figure out how we can use our slightly smaller range of yarns.  I find however, that now there are many Non-Indians who want suitable yarns as well.  SO, I’d say that Aunt Lydia cotton 10 ; Aunt Lydia Bamboo & Viscose (10) ; or Milford Satin with a 2 mm hook OR Milford Soft ; HilazaRusticaEclat with a 2.5 – 3mm hook are international yarns that I have used that will work for this project.

In case you work with some other yarn that gives you a great end result, I’d love if you could share, so I can add it to this list so we could help someone else along. Cheers.

Difficulty level : Advanced Skill level. 

Stitches used :
fsc : Foundation Single Crochet : To refresh your skill on the fsc, please view this superb video by Tamara Kelly at the link  http://www.mooglyblog.com/foundation-single-crochet-fsc/

Chainless dc start : Instead of the usual dc row start with ch 2 or ch 3, I’d like to introduce this lovely new way of starting a dc row. Do take a look at this self explanatory video at http://www.mooglyblog.com/chainless-starting-double-crochet/ In case you are unhappy with this start, do continue with the usual ch 2 or ch 3 start.  However, all instructions are given assuming that you’re using this chainless dc start. 


How to join with single crochet :Check the links below :

How to join with whip stitch : Check the links below :


Abbreviations used :  Using U.S Terminology
fsc : Foundation single crochet                             ch : Chain
dc : Double crochet                                            sp(s) : Space(s)
st(s) : Stitch(es)                                                      hk : Hook
lp : Loop(s)                                                              yo : Yarn Over
sk : Skip                                                                    sc : Single crochet


Instructions : (Using U.S Terminology)

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For this pattern, we’re going to work in a slightly different way.  We will start at the waist and work our way up to the armhole / shoulders.  Of course as this is a cropped off the shoulders, there is no shoulder on this pattern, but as we need *someplace* to call the *top*, let’s keep that the shoulder.

So you can work this in two ways – you can work two halves for the front and back, and then join it along the sides OR you can work it as one rectangle that wraps around the chest portion (like a tank top).

So what’s the difference?  The only difference is in the fit.
If you want a really tight/good fit, I’d suggest the 2-rectangles idea.
If you would like just a little ease, then the 1 large rectangle that will wrap around the chest will work.

Either way, you will need the round chest and round waist measures. 
You will also need to decide how long you want the top, and check out the measurements for that part of the body – so if you are taking this top all the way down to the waist, you will need to work half the round waist measure for your starting line – and if you are working it only till the mid-riff.. yup, you got it.. it’s the half mid-riff measure you will start with.
Also note that in patterns like this, you will need to take the largest body measure for your start count.  This means that if your chest measure is slightly more than the waist measure, that’s the measure (chest) you will use.

Please note that as always you can make this top any length you want and for any size – just read through allllllllllllll my detailed instructions. Thank you

I’d like to quote Twinkie Chan who said “If I were able to leave you with only one piece of crochet advice, it would be to always have fun. Learn the basics, but then just go crazy with your crafty self!”  So let’s create something here, and have fun!

Part 1 : Front and Back

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I am going to work 2 rectangles, one each for the front and back.  I urge you to do the same.  Please read through my notes just a little further down to see why.
We will work two identical halves for this pattern. 

There is no shaping for this top, and we will be working only two rectangles that will make up the front and back portion OR we will work one rectangle that will work like a bustier / tube top and we will then attach on the lovely frilly collar that will serve as a shoulder and off the shoulder piece.
There is no shaping for the armhole, and our first row will be just under the armhole and just above the bust. 
Deciding whether to start top down (from armhole down to waist) or bottom up (from waist to armhole) all depends on the waist and bust measurements. 
If there is not much of a difference in measurements, you do not need to worry about whether it’s worked top down or bottom up.

I am going to add an elastic right around the top (i.e behind the first few rows).  The round measure that you will then need to start with will be the round chest / bust measure.  Ofcourse you will also need to figure out how long you want your top – so if you are working this as a long top, then you will need to check which measure is larger – chest or waist, and use the larger measure to start.


Start : with fsc in multiples of 3 + 1.  
Note: If you are making two halves (one each for front and back), you will make a start foundation single crochet chain length = half the round chest /waist(depending on how long you are making your top)

Henceforth, whether you are working one rectangle tube top pattern , or two halves, you will follow the same pattern.
In the following row, we will work our “V”-st which is (dc ; ch 1, dc) all in the same st or ch-sp.
Row 1 : dc in the 1st fsc  :
*sk next 2 fsc, “V”-st in the next fsc* ;
rep *to* till 3 fsc ;
sk next 2 fsc, dc in last fsc.  Turn.

In the following row, we will work our “V”-st in the ch-sp of the earlier “V”-st.
Rows 2 - 3 : dc in the 1st dc ;
“V”-st in the next “V”-st and in each “V”-st till the last dc ;
dc in the last dc.  Turn.

In the following row, we will work our Shell st in the ch-sp of the earlier “V”-st.  Our Shell st is (2 dc ; ch 1, 2 dc)

Now here’s a neat tweak.  As you will see, magically there will be a small increase in the width of our top, and it will get a nice shape.  This is why, though we are just working a rectangle, it will get a bit of shape, especially when working with 2 rectangles.  The shaping will work when working with one rectangle too, but it ‘could’ get a little puffy under the armholes… I am not sure as I have not worked the single rectangle pattern… I just visualize it that way in my mind. That said, IF you decide to work a single rectangle using this pattern and find it does not become under-armhole-puffy etc, please do message me / add it as a comment to this blog and I’ll edit it in for future reference.
As I always say.. pay it forward.  Cheers.

Moving on…
So after working a few rows, if you find that you need a little more shaping, add a chain to the Shell st and make it (2 dc ; ch 2, 2 dc). 
Just this one ch, will make a small difference.
Row 4 : dc in the 1st dc ;
Shell st in the next “V”-st and in each “V”-st till the last dc ;
dc in the last dc.  Turn.

In the following row, we will work our Shell st in the ch-sp of the earlier Shell st. 

Row 5 : dc in the 1st dc ;
Shell st in the next Shell st and in each Shell-st till the last dc ;
dc in the last dc.  Turn.

And this is our pattern done..a one-line rep. 
Rep Row 5 till you reach the underarm (or basically the length from under arm / armhole to waist), which is where we are ending this top.


Part 2 : The off-the-shoulder piece

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Before I started on this, I checked to see that the bustier / tank top fit well.  I then decided where I wanted the collar / off-the-shoulder bit to be. 

We will work the collar separately and then join it onto the top of the bustier / tank top just made.

1.        So whip out your measure tape and take a measurement for around the shoulders.
2.      Check the round measure for the top of the project you’ve just made
3.      Divide the difference (of the around shoulder measure minus the top of project measure) equally by two.
4.     What does this mean? If the around shoulder measure is 42” and your round bust is 34”, then the difference (42 - 34 = 8) divided is 4” each side.  This means that you will need to add 4” per side for the collar to fit onto the shoulders. Got it?
5.      We will be making a chain length for the difference (so in above example we will make a chain length for 4” each side). Easy enough, right?


Our stitch count repeat is in multiples of 21.

1.        Count the number of stitches you have for your front and back top rows.
2.      Calculate how many stitches make an inch (i.e work your gauge)
3.      Calculate how many stitches you’d need to get the around the shoulder bit
4.     Ensure that you have the stitch count repeat of 21.



Start : with as many fsc as needed (for one side of your collar keeping in mind the four very important points above + number of stitches on the top row of the tank top) x 2.   Keeping this fsc chain flat, join with a sl-st to the 1st st.

Check out this video on how to keep your chain flat without twisting when working with a longer chain length

We will now work our full project for the collar in rounds.

Round 1 : dc in the 1st fsc and in each fsc all around. Join with a sl-st to the 1st st.

Round 2 : dc in the 1st dc ;
*ch 1, sk next dc, dc in the next dc* ;
rep *to* all around.
Join with a sl-st to the 1st st.

Round 3 : dc in the 1st dc ;
*dc in the next ch-1 sp ; dc in the next dc* ;
rep *to* all around.
Join with a sl-st to the 1st st.

Round 4 : dc in the 1st dc ;
*ch 2, sk next 2 dc, dc in the next dc* ;
rep *to* all around.
Join with a sl-st to the 1st st.

From the following row onwards, we will use a “V”-st which is (2 dc ; ch 1, 2 dc) all in the same st or ch-sp

Round 5 : sl-st into the 1st ch-2 sp ; “V”-st in the same 1st ch-2 sp ;
“V”-st in the next ch-2 sp and in each ch-2 sp all around.
Join with a sl-st to the 1st st.

From now on, we will work each “V”-st in the ch-2 sp of the earlier “V”-st unless otherwise mentioned.
Rounds 6 - 8 : sl-st into the 1st “V”-st , “V”-st in the same “V”-st ;
“V”-st in the next “V”-st and in each “V”-st all around.
Join with a sl-st to the 1st st.

Round 9 : sl-st into the 1st “V”-st , sc in the same “V”-st ; 
*ch 3, sk 2 dc, sc in the space between the next 2 “V”-sts ; ch 3, sk next 2 dc, sc in the middle of the next “V”-st* ;
rep *to* all around and join with a sl-st to the 1st st.

Round 9 : sl-st into the 1st ch-3 sp , (dc, ch-3, dc) in the same ch-3 sp ; 
*[ch 3, sc in the next ch-3 sp] ; rep [to] 6 times ;
ch 3, rep (to) in the next ch-3 sp* ;
rep *to* all around and join with a sl-st to the 1st st.

Now before this gets too complicated, let me explain and really simplify it.

See the (to) we’ve worked, now we will be working the peaks of our patterns here, and in between the two peaks, we will be working just ch-3 sps, so it will form the ‘valleys’ of our pattern. In case you have any confusion, just ensure that you work the dc pattern bits in the ch-sps of the earlier dc bits, and we are cooking with gas.. got it? ;)

Round 10 : sl-st into the 1st ch-3 sp , (dc ; ch-3, dc) in the same ch-3 sp ; 
ch 1, dc in the next dc ;
*[ch 3, sc in the next ch-3 sp] ; rep [to] 5 times ;
ch 3, dc in the next dc ;
ch 1, rep (to) in the next ch-3 sp ;
ch 1, dc in the next dc* ;
rep *to* all around ; ch 3, dc in the next dc ;
ch 1, and join with a sl-st to the 1st st.

Now does my earlier clarification look a little clearer ? ;)
If you’ve got the hang of what we’re doing, go off and create the peaks and valleys – else come along …

Round 11 : sl-st into the 1st ch-3 sp , (dc ; ch-3, dc) in the same ch-3 sp ; 
{ch 1, dc in the next dc} ; rep {to} once ;
*[ch 3, sc in the next ch-3 sp] ; rep [to] 4 times ;
ch 3, dc in the next dc ;
ch 1, rep (to) in the next ch-3 sp ;
rep {to} 2 times* ;
rep *to* all around ; ch 3, dc in the next dc ;
ch 1, and join with a sl-st to the 1st st.

Rounds 12 - 15 : Continue rep Round 11 , increasing one more {to} rep each round and reducing one [to] rep each round till you are at the last round. 
You will see the peaks and valleys of your lovely collar form as you work.

Last Round 16 : Continue rep of Rounds 12- 15, but in the centre of the peak or (to), we will work (dc in the dc ; ch 1, dc in the ch-3 sp ; dc in the dc) for this last final round.  This just gives a thickness and more definition to that final peak.

Optional Last Round 17 : Work a sc in each st and ch-sp all around.
Note : I worked 1 sc per ch-1 sp ; 2 sc in ch-2 sps etc, and 1 sc per dc. This gives the final round a little weight and holds it down.  It also adds definition to the final round.


Part 3 : Finishing
We now have the two fronts and one collar. 
1.        Go ahead and join the front and back halves of your bustier / tank top.
2.      Fold bustier in half and mark the centre front and back.
3.      Fold collar in half and mark centre front and back.
4.     Pin down the collar from the centre front to about 5” from both ends of front and back.  The unpinned section of the collar becomes the off the shoulder / strap portion of your bustier.
5.      Before finally attaching, may I suggest that you run a rough stitching line through and check that the sizing works.
6.     Use of the attachment methods given above to join the collar to the body of the bustier / tank top.
7.      Attach a small piece of elastic along the top of the bustier, neatly hidden under the collar, if required.
8.      If you feel like it, you can attach a single line of fsc / chain that will work as an almost invisible strap that goes from the front to the back of the top, over the shoulder.
9.     Block as per yarn instructions.


I think this has been a totally enjoyable and creative journey.  We have a stunningly beautiful top that we can be oh, so proud of.

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