How to Embellish with Crochet Insertscomments (8) November 18th, 2008
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!
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.
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.
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.
And voila! You have created a designer piece anyone would be thrilled to receive. That is, if you can bear to part with it!