Tag Archives: handmade wardrobe

Project Notes: Shell Stitch Cropped Top With Embroidered Details

I started making this top MONTHS ago. I don’t usually have a project that I’ll work on in little bits here and there, either between more prominent projects or when I need a break from those projects, but that’s what this top started out as. In the last few months, I started to get more excited about this top for a few reasons – I was really excited about the simple shape, and I had decided to add embroidered details – and I worked fervently to finish it.

The top is worked in two pieces, front and back. Most of the embroidery was done before the front and back were seamed together. Shoulders and sides were then seamed, right sides facing, in single crochet. Once seamed, I turned the top right side out and added some simple single crochet stitching to the armholes, neckline, and bottom hem to finish and round out the edges.

Working in small amounts on the front piece over several months meant that I didn’t see the piece work up as fast as usual, so the front wound up being much too wide. Instead of frogging and redoing the whole thing, I simply made note of the adjusted measurements on my pattern draft to correct it for future makes, and made the back piece much smaller to account for the front piece being too big. This meant the seam would be further back on each side instead of directly under the arms, but given the color, texture, and simple design of the top, I wasn’t too worried about this.

I have been experimenting with different types of embroidery on different crochet stitches lately, and at some point, decided I wanted to add a little embroidery to this top. You can see that the stems and shoots are made with simple long stitches, as that worked best over the shell stitching. Crochet always has at least a little stretch, and this garment has a good bit because of not only the shell stitches, but the yarn itself, which is an acrylic/nylon blend. I tried to stay aware of this while embroidering and kept a looser tension for the stems and shoots than I would have if working into regular fabric. The leaves are single chain stitches with a bit of fill, and the small buds are French knots. All was done using DMC cotton embroidery thread.

The majority of the embroidery was done before the front and back were joined together, since it was easier to weave the back ends in as I went. After trying on the top once it was seamed together, I went and filled out the embroidery where I felt the top needed it. Although I’m still not 100% about it and feel like maybe I could have done better/added a bit more. Though now I know how the top looks when worn, I could maybe figure out better placing and amount of the embroidery if I do something similar in the future.

I love how these green and blue shades pop a bit from, yet compliment the grey.

In the above picture, you can see how the side seam is further back than normal. Also, this is a bit nitpicky, but as the designer critiquing a first draft, I’d rather the back neckline for this piece be a bit higher and flatter than this. But again, it’s not a big deal, and looks okay.

I finished this piece just as the weather was warming up around here, and the material is just too hot to wear right now, but I’m excited to wear it next fall/winter.

For some behind-the-scenes and in-progress shots, go peruse my instagram: @waterswares

Waters Wears: Star Stitch Sweater First Draft

I finished this sweater a little over a week ago. I would up having a good bit of this heathered grey acrylic yarn leftover from a custom project, and decided to use it for this sweater idea I’d had in my head for a while. The shape of the sweater is inspired by an old cropped sweater of mine that has started to fall apart and wear with time (though I do mend it as needed). As for the stitch, I’ve wanted to use star stitch in a pattern for years, and as it is a thick and squishy stitch, it makes for a nice, warm sweater.

Overall, the sweater turned out well, although there are a few things to note:

– The neckline needs to be smaller, as I’d originally intended. I made up for it being too wide in this go by making the neckline ribbing closer to 2 inches wide, when I’d planned for it to be more like 1 inch wide. This made the neckline take on more of a scoopneck shape, which is fine, but not my personal favorite and not, as I said, what I’d originally intended for the sweater. It’s funny that the neckline wound up so much wider than I’d wanted, even though I measured carefully and checked several times during making.

– Though I surprisingly didn’t hate how wide the sleeves were for this go – they actually work surprisingly well with the sweater overall – I’d definitely make them smaller in the next version. And though I used a hook one size smaller for the ribbing than the body, I might use an even smaller one for the wrist ribbing next time to make the sleeve cuffs a little tighter.

– At a point during the making, I had to go buy more yarn to have enough to finish. Even though I bought the same yarn, the dye lot available to me was different. I decided this would be fine as the greys used in the body and sleeves of the sweater already varied in places, even being from the same dye lot, and as the new yarn would be used just for the ribbing. So there is an unplanned subtle difference in greys between the body and the ribbing; the yarn used for the ribbing seems a much cooler grey, almost blue-looking.

Can you see the subtle difference in greys? It’s more obvious in some lighting than others.

I decided to pass this first draft on to a lovely friend, and it looks great on her! I kind of love when I make something that I’ve not planned for anyone specifically, but then it’s just obvious it’s meant for a certain person.

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