How to Make a Sweater Without a Pattern---Part 3 The Summer Strip Shell

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More than a pattern, this is a formula that will liberate you and teach you to make your own garments as you want to.
It works as follows: You follow simple tips every time, changing the stitches you use, the yarn or thread appropriate for the season of the year you are making the garment for, adapting the hook size to the yarn thickness and you have an endless amount of tops you can make for yourself and for others!
Materials you'll need:
brown paper
measuring tape or long rulet
top or favorite sweater with good fit
marker or pen
crochet hook (for the garment on the illustrations, I used crochet hook size 1)
crochet yarn or thread, I happened to use No. 10 crochet thread
Stitches of your choice, you can really have fun here picking stitches you always wanted to use.
Tip: the best ones are the ones that are already "tailored" for a block or granny square, you work them
just as the pattern says, but you do not end the blick but keep on going upwards, forming a strip.
One of the ones I used for this top I came up with on my own. But you can use whatever stitches you like.
Lay your favorite top on a clean table and measure it across. Write down the measurement. Then measure
its length and write it down. You will need to keep an eye on those measurements to make sure your garment is not wider nor narrower than that. And to insure that it is the length your like. Then you are going to lay a sheet of the brown paper under that top and carefully pin the top to the paper so that it will not move, then you will trace it all around. Remove the pins and the garment and return it to your closet or drawer. Cut out the pattern you just outlined on the brown paper and write down the measurements you took previously, so that you can keep an eye on length and width as you work, and you are set to start.
To begin, choose a block that could easily be converted into a strip. Pick up the thread and hook that are appropriate and begin, is that simple. For my specific strips I simply chose a stitch that started
with chain 26 loosely and I started the pattern in the 2nd ch from hook, and in each st across, making it 25 sts across. Although it would have originally been meant for granny a square-style block, I continued crocheting upward until it formed a strip.
My first and 2nd strips reached from the bottom of the top shell to the shoulder (you make 2 identical strips, one for each side of the front--2 more for the back if you are not going to crochet across the width of your pattern like I did.) Then, you make 1 for the center, which will go from the bottom of the top you have outlined to the beginning of the neckline which you drew on the brown paper schematic. As you finish each strip, pin them in their appropriate places on the brown paper and make sure you've got a fit.
Leave them there until you have all the components for your garment. Pin them with the wrong side facing you and when you are done with all of them, you can easily crochet along the edges or join them raw, if you wish.
If you are going to make the front and the back identical (which is the easiest path to follow--make 2 identical strips, one for the center front and one for the center of the back. I just made another use of my guide top and just crocheted across and upwards until I reached the back of the neckline and worked on both sides of that space to form the shoulders on either side.) Once you have made your strips, if you want to, you can makde 4 rows of sc on each side of the edge, like I did, using a contrasting color, and sew them together using that color. When you join the strips that form the sides of the top (back and front, sew loosely so that the garment won’t "pull", and of course, sew only until you reach the space you have marked out for the armholes, skip that area and then join the shoulders.)
Make a nice shell edge around the neckline, armholes and the bottom of the top. You can even make a nice ripple edging at the bottom for a decorative effect. Finish off, trim all the threads and you've got a new top!
I like granny square tops. But to tell you the truth, sometimes, one doesn't have the time to do all of that joining of blocks! This is a nice alternative. If you make all your strips in the same color or use a variegated, and join also in the same color, it doesn't even look that much like strips! Fiddle with it, you can get a ton of different variations to this simple pattern or formula.
Hope this is the beginning of a lot of beautiful things for you!
If you want to crochet across like I did, make a chain 2 sts longer than the width of your schematic, hdc in the 3rd ch from hook and on each ch across, and keep on going upwards, following exactly the tracing of your schematic.

This is part 3 of a series of tutorials, if you would like to get the 3 parts in a net PDF package, FREE, click this link to download it: Microsoft Word - How to Crochet a Sweater Without a Pattern Parts 1 to 3 Publish at Scribd or explore others: How-to-Guides & Manu pattern free tutorial

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