How to Embellish with Crochet Inserts

comments (8) November 18th, 2008     

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CalPatch cal patch, contributor
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Adding some crochet embellishment will turn a plain top into one your gift recipient will adore!
Here is my crocheted piece on its own.
Place the insert onto your shirt, then pin it securely to prepare it for sewing.
Adding some crochet embellishment will turn a plain top into one your gift recipient will adore!

Adding some crochet embellishment will turn a plain top into one your gift recipient will adore!

Photo: Cal Patch

I would love to crochet a sweater for everyone on my list. That would probably take about three years to accomplish, though. Adding a crochet yoke or insert, on the other hand, is a relatively quick way to turn a plain tee or sweatshirt into a stunning sweater-like confection. You can make the top yourself, or buy one or more (preferably from a thrift store), but either way, you'll have a one-of-a-kind gift the recipient will adore.

1. Crochet the insert. You can plan and measure according to the shirt you're using, or go free-form and whip up a cool shape. I've used all kinds of shapes (even some vintage doilies) and they all come out uniquely beautiful. Take into consideration how open the stitches are, especially if the piece is getting large. You don't want your loved one to inadvertently give a peep show.

Here is my crocheted piece on its own.

2. Place the insert on top of the shirt. First cut off the neckband if you are using a premade tee (you don't absolutely have to, but I like to crochet around the neck after stitching on the piece). Then move around the insert until you find a placement you like. You may want to try on the shirt, or use a dress form, to confirm how it will look on a body. Once you are satisfied, pin the insert to the shirt and whipstitch it in place using a matching yarn or thread.

Place the insert onto your shirt . . .

. . . and pin it securely in place to prepare for sewing.

3. Cut away the shirt behind the insert. Flip your shirt over and, being careful not to cut into the crochet, trim away the fabric of the shirt inside your stitching line. Leave about 1/4 inch seam allowance to keep your stitching secure.

Stitching will be visible on the shirt's wrong side.

Cut away the fabric inside of the stitching, leaving a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

The insert is more visible after the fabric behind it is cut away.

4. Crochet around the neckline. Starting at one side of the insert, along the neck edge, join on (ideally with the same yarn you used if you crocheted the insert) with a slipstitch and crochet around the neckline. Even one row of single crochet will add that final touch, but you can do a more intricate edging if you want to. (See my tutorial on adding a crochet edge to a T-shirt for tips.) I find this to be a good way to integrate the two elements and avoid that "slapped-on" look.

The crocheted neckline adds a cohesive, finished look.

And voila! You have created a designer piece anyone would be thrilled to receive, that is, if you can bear to part with it.

posted in: , fabric, top, yarn, shirt, sweater, gift, embellish, neckline

Comments (8)

DianaCon writes: Love it! I worked out the pattern if anyone wants it. Email me [email protected]
Posted: 9:58 am on June 12th
AKUA writes: The best part is the insert itself. Where can we find the pattern?
Posted: 5:43 pm on March 11th
fvilela writes: I love it! This is a great idea. Can you share the butterfly pattern, please? It's so pretty and I can't find anything like this one. Thanks.
Posted: 2:55 pm on January 17th
12gdulas writes: I wish you could get me the butterfly crochet pattern, I have looked everywhere ? It's a nice butterfly.thank you
Posted: 8:04 pm on October 2nd
Posted: 10:48 pm on September 29th
Sunkist writes: This is really cool. If you want to use something other than crochet, I found some cool appliques that could be used instead. You should check out ,there are a ton of appliques that would make your shirts turn out awesome!
Posted: 11:22 pm on November 20th
croqzine writes: This is great! I actually need to fill in some t-shirts that are too low cut, so maybe this technique would be the way to go!
Posted: 4:24 pm on November 18th
kaytet writes: so pretty! i love little details like this!
Posted: 2:23 pm on November 18th
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