Although I loved the look of the pointy-bottomed panels on my top, I decided they were a bit too exaggerated for my style. And since I still had a ton of yarn left over, I figured it couldn't hurt to play around with the bottom edge. I'm so glad I did it! This part of the tutorial is totally optional (especially if yours is a one-color project), but I think the extra stitching around the panels helps them to hold their shape without the need for blocking.
I'm also extra-pleased with the color design that resulted. What I'm not happy about is the way these tutorial photos came out... I'm so sorry that I trusted auto-function settings for this project. For this part of the tutorial there's help with a new stitch, but the photos for some rounds were a blurry mess... Removing my background helped towards the end, but I did it too late. It's a mistake I hope I won't make again.
Not surprising: I adjusted the settings and managed a batch of beautifully focused photos in which I turned out looking like a mutant zombie. Still hate being the dummy...
Now, enough complaining... Let's get started!
Contrasting color (round 1):
To begin, I worked one round along the edge in the contrasting color. (I love how it combines together with the joining seam!) I shortened the stitches in each space to help pull the panels together, but this first round didn't do much for the shaping. Here's how I did it:
Again, I began with a standing double crochet stitch. This I made in the end space of the point.
In each space up to the one before the joining seam, I made (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet). In that space before the join, I made (double crochet, chain 1, single crochet).
In the same space as the joining stitch of the first panel, I made one single crochet; and another in the joining space of the next panel.
Repeat backwards on the way back up the next panel: (Single crochet, chain 1, double crochet) in the first space, then (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet) in each space to the point.
In the tip of the point, I made (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet), chain 1, and (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet) again.
(3 chain-1 spaces in point)
Here's where the photos were unusable:
I completed the round by making (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet), and chain 1. Because this was the only round I was working with this color, I joined with a slip stitch. (The following rounds are joined with a stitch to make a chain-space.)
Main color (round 2):
(No pics for this round)
Again with the main color, I joined with a standing double crochet in the point of a panel.
Now, here's the thing I did that you may want to reconsider: The following stitches were planned out to reduce the points of the panels, give it a softer angle, and fill in the spaces between them*. (Double crochet, chain 2, double crochet) in the next two chain-1 spaces, and the skip the rest of the stitches in the panel. Moving on to the next panel, double crochet in the next two chain-1 spaces.
I wanted to mimic the design of the large holes in the tips of the points, so I made (double crochet, chain 3, double crochet) in the tips for this round. If you don't want this in your design, you could make a similar set of stitches as in the previous round.
In order to finish the set of stitches in the beginning point, I used a double crochet stitch to join (makes chain-3 space).
*If you want to keep the exaggerated points of the panels, then it would be easier to stop working rounds (unless you're confident you can work out a stitch pattern). If you continue working into the same stitches, your work will begin to pucker. But if you still want to work more rounds for the color play, then try reducing the number of chains between stitches, or make just a stitch without a chain space near the "V" between panels (something like the two single crochet from round 1).
Here is where filling in the spaces really starts, and I used a not-so-easy-for-beginners stitch to do it: The double-crochet-4-together. But don't get scared! If you can make a double crochet (and you probably have been if you're following this pattern), then you can make this stitch. Let's get started with an example of the stitch placement first.
I began with a chain-1 and double crochet in the joining space/point. (Same for all remaining rounds.) *See end of round for a note!
In the next chain-2 space, make (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet). Make a double-crochet-4-together (dc4tog) across the next four chain-2 spaces. (That's 2 spaces on this panel and 2 on the next.) (Double crochet, chain 1, double crochet) in the next chain-2 space.
Now, let's cover that dc4tog before we get to the point (lol).
Getting the hang of it? You're making a half-closed double crochet in each space that you want to join together.
Let's speed it up a little:
*Yarn over, insert hook in the next space, yarn over, pull up a loop, yarn over, pull through 2 loops.* (4 loops on hook.)
Repeat * to * (5 loops on hook).
Remember, there's one more space to make (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet) in before the point.
In the chain-3 point, make (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet, chain 3, double crochet, chain 1, double crochet).
So after the dc4tog, you will have (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet) twice, then the (double crochet, chain 3, double crochet) of the point, and (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet) twice before the next dc4tog.
*Beginning with just one double crochet in the beginning space left me ending past the chain-3 space of the point. So, I couldn't join with a double crochet stitch for the chain-3. I had to work (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet, chain 3, double crochet) in the beginning space, then joined with a single crochet to make the chain-1 space.
(Sorry, no pics again but this one is simple!)
Make 1 double crochet in each chain-1 space (4 total). Make (3 double crochet, chain 3, 3 double crochet) in the chain-3 point.
That's it! just repeat all the way around and join.
(Almost the same as the last round!)
Skip the 3 double crochet to the left of the point, make a double crochet in the space after. (This is where I had to begin because of how the last round ended.) Make a double crochet in the space after each of the next 4 double crochet (5 total). In the chain-3 point, make (3 double crochet, chain 3, 3 double crochet).
Well, that's it... For this one, at least! I'm still disappointed in my photos for the tutorial, but I do plan on making another top like this for The Kid. Hers will have a different style (maybe sleeves?), so it will prove how easily this format of top-making can be adjusted to a different shape. I'll update here with a link when I get it done... Shall we see if I can do it within a year?
A word about caring for your top:
Before I washed and (slightly*) blocked my top, the dc4tog caused a minor pucker around the gaps between rounds 1 and 2. This was easily blocked out, but I wanted to create an easy-care pattern that didn't need blocking! I'm sure if you split the dc4tog into two-dc2tog stitches, it would completely eliminate the need for any blocking... But then you'll have to work the next rounds a bit differently.
*By blocking, I mean I shaped it out on a towel and smashed down on it for good luck. No pinning or weighing down needed. I allowed it to dry flat and the pucker was gone for good. (Or perhaps until the next wash!)
But prior to spreading it out, I thought I'd hang it up to "pre-dry" for awhile... That was bad. Really, really bad. LAY FLAT TO DRY. The stretchy lace weighed down with water stretched to what seemed like twice its length! And worse, allowing it to stretch that way caused the slight pucker to turn into an ugly ruffle. (Nobody wants ruffles around the waistline, right?) Thankfully, I was able to get my top back into shape when I did it right the second time.
How does it fit?
I think I'm a great tester for this subject, because I'm so very picky about my clothes. I don't like things that bulge out, hang loose, or ride up. Although my top has a few places that could be better, it fits well enough to pass my test.
No tricks and no staging to make it look good! (After all, you're getting the world's most awkwardest person as a model here...) In the following photos, I'll point out the things I love and hate about my top:
On side note, this could just be an issue with my body shape. I have a very pronounced dip there in my shoulders that I don't think "normal" people have. Same thing for that back-wrinkle, too... My shoulder blades stick out (like wings!) when I raise my arms the right way. Sometimes I think I might be part alien. Anyway... You can see in the next photo where my "wings" are pushing the straps of the shirt out:
With the tank-style sleeves and the just-past-the-waist length of my top, I think it will be easy to accessorize. I have a cute little denim crop jacket and an even cuter black vinyl crop jacket... I can't wait to see which will go better with it! Nope, you don't get to see that here, because the point of this tutorial was to inspire everyone to make their own version. And to me, part of making it your way is how you accessorize the final product, too.
I'd love to see photos of what you've created! Find Crochet is the Way on Facebook to share a pic, or come join the Crochet is the Way community on Google+ if you're not already a member.