Refashioned Crochet Embellished Tank
By Dolin O’Shea
Here is a quick and easy project that uses a couple of basic T-shirts and transforms them into a stylish summer tank top.
Crochet gauge: 7 double crochet stitches in 4"
Jersey T-shirt that fits loosely (T-shirt A)
Jersey T-shirt, men’s XL or larger (T-shirt B)
Crochet hook, size P or size necessary to obtain gauge
Sewing machine with zigzag stitch
Hand-sewing needle (optional)
Pins straight and safety
Water-soluble fabric pen
Clear acrylic ruler
Step 1: Make your own “yarn.”
Lay T-shirt B flat on a table and cut off the bottom hem. Starting at the bottom raw edge and spiraling around the entire body, cut the fabric into a continuous 1/2"-wide strip, stopping once you reach the armholes. This should give you between 45 and 50 yards of jersey “yarn.”
Wind your yarn into a ball.
Step 2: Crochet the yoke.
With your yarn, chain 70 stitches. Join into a circle with a slip stitch in your first chain stitch, being careful not to twist your foundation chain.
Round 1: Chain 3 (this counts as your first double crochet), double crochet 21 stitches, do 2 more double crochets in the same stitch (there will be 3 stitches in one foundation chain stitch — this forms the first corner). Double crochet 12 stitches and do 3 double crochet stitches in next stitch (13 stitches from the last corner). Double crochet 21 stitches, do 3 double crochet stitches in next stitch (22 stitches from last corner). Then double crochet to the join, doing 3 stitches in the last foundation chain stitch. Join round with slip stitch in top of the chain 3.
Round 2: Chain 3 (this counts as first stitch), double crochet in each stitch of round one. At each corner do another 3 double crochets in the center stitch of the 3 double crochet stitches in the first round. When you get to the last corner, join the round with a slip stitch in the top of the chain 3. Fasten off and weave in your ends.
You will end up with a large rectangle with a hole in the center for your head. This crocheted rectangle will now be referred to as the yoke.
Step 3: Prepare T-shirt A for yoke attachment.
Lay T-shirt A flat on a table, with the front facing up. Fold the yoke piece in half, so that the short ends (front and back neck) are aligned. Position the folded yoke piece on the T-shirt, aligning the folded yoke edges to the T-shirt shoulder seams, centering the T-shirt neck in the middle.
Place straight pins to mark where the yoke ends on the body, and remove the yoke.
With fabric marker and ruler, draw a line straight across the body (armhole to armhole), 1/2" above the straight pins. Cut through both layers of the T-shirt, along the armholes and marked line. Flip the T-shirt over (so the back is facing up), mark a line straight across the back 1" below the raw edge, and cut along this line. You want to make the back shorter to allow for the extra bust length in the front. You may need to shorten the back even more after you try on the pinned-together top, but 1" shorter is a good place to start.
Step 4: Attach the yoke to the T-shirt body.
The cut top edge of the T-shirt will be wider than the yoke, so you will need to gather the top edge (not the armhole edges) of the T-shirt into the yoke. Sew a basting stitch (either by hand or with your sewing machine) 1/4" from the front and back top edge. Pull the thread to gather the T-shirt, and distribute the gathers where you want them. Safety pin the yoke to the T-shirt, overlapping the edges about 1/2". Now you can try it on! Note any adjustments you want to make.
You will probably have to lower the armhole a little bit (anywhere from 1/2" to 1") and check to make sure you like the length of the finished garment. Take the garment off and unpin the yoke from the body. Draw a new armhole line and cut out 3/8" above the marked line. Press the raw armhole edges under and zigzag stitch the armhole hem, 1/4" from the folded edge. Make any other adjustments you noted. Then re-pin the yoke to the gathered edge of the T-shirt, overlapping 1/2". The crocheted yoke is pretty thick, so you may need to sew it to the body by hand with a whipstitch. If your sewing machine cooperates, you can zigzag the yoke to the body, which is what I did on this garment.
Here’s the finished tank! You can even add a crochet flower or other crafty embellishment to the tank if you like.
About the Author:
Dolin O’Shea is a designer and writer who spent 15 years in the fashion industry as a pattern maker and technical designer. She is interested in most things crafty, but her first love is vintage fashion and giving clothing a second life. She lives in San Jose, Calif., with her wonderful husband and two silly dogs. You can find her online at lulubliss.typepad.com.