How to Embellish with Crochet Inserts

comments (0) 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. But, alas, that would probably take about three years to accomplish! 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 either make the tops yourself or buy them (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 just 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 the shirt on, 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 very careful not to cut into the crochet, trim away the fabric of the shirt inside your stitching line. Leave about 1/4 inch of seam allowance to keep your stitching secure.


The inside of the shirt after stitching.

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

The insert after cutting away the fabric behind it.

4. Crochet around the neckline. Starting at one side of the insert, along the neck edge, join on (ideally with the same yarn you crocheted with for the insert) with a slipstitch and crochet around the neckline of the shirt. 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 finished neckline after crocheting around it.

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, , yarn, shirt, sweater, gift, top, embellish, neckline