After finishing the Berry Yoke sweater I have become convinced that top-down crochet garments are my favourites. This is my next top I called Oregano. I used 240 grams of Alchemy’s Silken Straw yarn (100% silk, 216m/40g) and a 3mm hook.
The main advantages that I personally see are:
- very easy to try on as you go. Even easier than knitted top-down garments, as you do not need to worry if the cable of he needle is long enough. I takes some experience to see if your yoke is fitting as it should, but after ripping the yok for Berry sweater a hundred times, I can now see much better if the work is going in the right direction or not
- you will create a garment that will fit you. I hate the long expectation of buttom-up garments, especially the ones you need to sew as often you can’t really tell how the final product will look on you until you have finished most of the pieces and sewn them together.
- you can plan better if you are not sure whether you have enough yarn, by deciding whether if the length of the sleeves or body that is more important, working on that first, and then using up whatever is left.
There are also some drawbacks
- Most important one for me, is the limitations in shape and direction. I am planning on experimenting more with various neklines to widen the options and see what works how.
- You need to be able to do some basic math and thinking. For this type of garments, it’s very difficult to write up a precise pattern, the maker need to plan the garment themselves and do the calculations. For me as a maker, this is definitely great, but is more difficult to share the knowledge, and I know some people are very put off by any math.
- For the first couple of garments, you may have to start again quite a few times, and rip a lot, before you get ethe yoke right.
- It is much easier to make these garments if you have the recepient close by, available to try the item as you go multiple times.
I will write out the main points for a garment with a rectangular yoke below. However, this will be a breif outline. I am eager to share more details, but I feel that it is better done in a CAL format.
I am looking for volunteers for a test run that would definitely be free. I will explain in much greater detail how to do the calculations, and how to work the short rows for the back, provice information on some of the stitch patterns that you can use easily for your first garment, and some options for increase lines. I will try to help each person individually. You can youse any yarn weight and fiber type, and can canke any size (althoug I have to admit, I have zero experience with making plus-sized garments, and cannot provide any special additional knowlegde – but will be happy to try and work it out together with you).
After the test is over, I will decide whether I will make another run, and whether I might want to charge for it or not. Please comment below or send me an email to silkandwool.eu ( at ) gmail dot com if you are interested.
My tips and tricks on creating top-down crochet garments that fit
You need to swatch diligently, with a large sample, that’s at least 20×20 cm. The constrcution relies heavily on math, so you need to calculate your tension as precisely as possible.
Having finished a dress with a round yoke, I now think for round yoke you need to swatch in the round, too. To see how many increases per round you need to get a flat fabric.
Make the calculations for the yoke
Basil top is based on a rectangular yoke. I aimed for 65cm neckline, calculted the number of stitches needed. Then you need to divide the stitches for front, back and sleeves. Having measured my chest and upper arm I have come to the conclusion that “Divide by 10” method fits me the best.
First, you decide how may stitches you need for increase lines. Deduct them from the total number of stitches. Divide the rest by 10. Bear in mind number of stitches needed for pattern repeats. Each sleeve is 2/10, and font and back are each 3/10. I usually round down any fractions of the sleeve stitches, adding them to the front and back. Any stitches that cannot be divided evenly between front and back are added to the front.
(Other methods commonly used is “Divide by 4” , so that each sleeve is as wide as the font and back, and “Divide by 3” – front and back are each 1/3, and the last 1/3 is divided equally for sleeves)
To mae sure your garment fits you well, you need to add some short rows to the back part of your garment. For an average women’s top you need to add 3-5 cm of legth to the back. Calculate how many row that is. Substract that number from the number of the back stictches and add them to the front. Adjust the final counts bearing in mind the pattern repeats.
The short rows for the back wil have to spaces evenly across the number of the sleeve stitches, you so you need to decide where.
Making the yoke
Now you are ready to start. Using foundation stitches cast on the number of the stitches you need, starting with fsc, then fhdc, then continue in fdc’s until the last two stitches; finish off with fhdc, and a sc.
Place markers for your two increase lines.
Ch the number of stitches you need to add to the next row. Turn
Start with sc, hdc, then work in dc’s in pattern, making the increases at two back sleeve increase lines (increase 1 dc on each side of each increase line = 4 dc’s for each short row, and 8 stitches per round once you are working the full rounds), finish the row with a number of of fcd’s that you need , finsihishing with fhdc and a fsc.
Continue with short rows as needed. Then chain the number of the stitches you need to complete the yoke.
Now you work in rounds, but turn your work every time a round is finished. This is very important, otherwise, your increase lines will shift, and the yoke will come out disformed.
I use sc+ch1 instead of ch3 to start a round. It is less visible, especially for thinner yarn.
We now continue working forth and back in rounds, in pattern, increasing as described above. For my M size, I find that I am comfortable when the front increase line is about 16-17 cm long. By that time, the circumference of the yoke should be long enough to cover you chest circumference and twice your upper arm circumference. I will add about 3 cm for each underarm when joining in the round wich means that I will have 6 cm added to the body for a comfortable fit, and 3 cm for each of the sleeves. If you need more or less ease, this should be calculated in advance to adjust the increases for the yoke.
Separatig body and sleeves
Break the yarn, as your round will now end somewhere in the middle of a sleeve. Join the yarn at the beggining of the back stitches. Work across the back, chain enough to have 2-3 cm of stitches, skip the sleeve stitches, work the front, chain the same number of stitches, join the round.
Work the body forth and back in the rounds. Add any waist/hip shaping if necessary.
For a sleeve, join the yarn in the middle of your underarm chain. Work bach and forth in the rounds, shaping the sleeve as needed. Once you have worked the body, you should be able to make rather precise calculations in terms of how many rounds you need to create a sleeve of necessary length. Make fewer decreases at the top of the sleeve and more towards the bottom end.
You may add ribbing to the bottom of the body and the sleeves as you go. If you would like to add some ribbing to the neck opening, do so as the very last step.