Friday, May 6, 2011

Floppy Cropped Summer Top

I wanted to design a simple to knit cotton top, to wear over tank tops in the summer (I hate over-air-conditioned stores!)

This one is knit in one piece starting at the lower back, and split at the neck, then knitted down the front to the lower hemline. Just the sideseams are sewn, and a bit of pick up knitting for the back of neckline to finish. The front pieces are mostly rectangle and it is the oversized square front that falls into a nice draped collar.

*** the key to success with the drape is knitting your yarn on one size bigger needles to allow a somewhat loose knit stitch, which will allow for a soft drape to the fabric**** Check gauge AND loose stitch feel!!

Yarn: Elann Sonata, 100% cotton, 50gm balls, 115 yards, 5 balls. (anyDK weight cotton designed to knit on 4mm needles should work!)

Needles: 5.0mm

Gauge: 16 sts , 24 rows = 4 inches

Size of mine: 19 inches across lower (cropped) back. The front is overlapped and loose fitting, should fit sizes 8 through 14! Length from shoulder to bottom edge: 16 inches.

Pattern: Bottom back edge... cast on 70 stitches. Work in seed stitch for 2 inches. Change to stocking stitch, and increase one stitch each end every 6 rows until 104 stitches are on the needle. (you are now done the side shaping) Establish sleeve edging: next right side row: work seed stitch for 6 stitches, place marker, knit across to last 6 stitches, place marker, seed stitch last 6 stitches. Work without increasing, keeping outer 6 stitches in seed stitch and remaining stitches in stocking stitch. Do this until 7.5 inches of sleeve have been worked.

Shoulder (right side facing): seed stitch 6, knit 34, cast off 24, place last 40 on a stitch holder.

You now have 40 shoulder stitches on your needles, and will knit down the front right side of the garment.

Work 1 inch in established pattern (keep the 6 seed stitches at the sleeve side).

Next row, work across the seed then stocking stitches THEN cast on 35 stitches on the center of garment edge.

Work these 35 stitches in seed stitch , keep the 34 shoulder stitches in stocking stitch and the sleeve edge (6 sts) in seed stitch. Keep this pattern for 6 rows. (this makes a nice edge for the front drape). SEE PHOTO BELOW TO GET THE IDEA OF WHERE YOU ARE GOING.

Now, change to 6 seed stitches ONLY at the front center edge AND the sleeve edge, with all the rest of the stitches in stocking stitch. **** as you continue with this pattern, measure the sleeve edge ... when you get 15 inches from the start of the back sleeve seed stitch edge, you need to stop the sleeve edge seed stitch and start decreasing for the front side seam:

Decrease one stitch at side seam every 6 rows until 17 decreases have been made. (keep working the center front seed stitch edging (6 sts) without increasing or decreasing)

Work even until the folded garment matches the length of the back stocking stitch, and finish with 2 inchesof seed stitch border. Cast off all.

Left front, pick up 40 stitches from holder.

Work one inch in stocking stitch and 6 seed stitch sleeve edge.

Right side facing: cast on 35 stitches at the start of the row (on the center garment edge), and work these in seed stitch for 6 rows, while the rest remains stocking stitch and seed stitch (6) edge. After the 6 rows, change to 6 edge seed stitches at the center front, and keep the sleeve edge until 15 inches of sleeve (back AND front) are done. Stop seed stitch at outside edge.

Decrease outside edge one stitch every 6 rows for 17 decreases.

Match up the length again and finish with 2 inches of border.

Sew up the side seams.

Pick up 24 stitches across the back of the neck, and work 3 rows of seed stitch, and cast off all stitches, sew the ends to the side of neck to tidy up.

Photos show the fronts as overlapping rectangles, above and loosely draped below.

I think this one will get lots of wear!


JanetofNQ said...

Very pretty cardigan, you really do make some great things; thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this simple cardi. Love it. I appreciate that you explain reasons for why it's done, in addition to how it's done.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chris I am planning to use some DK Patons Grace that I have been saving for the perfect pattern and hope this will be it. It has the drape I've been looking for. I'm not normally a cotton fan, but I fell in love with the lilac color at Michael's. Also, I was wondering if it turns out to work for me, is there any reason I could not use a wool or wool blend yarn for this? Thanks for all you do for the knitting community. You are a great motivator. chloe

chris said...

Hi Chloe, Wool or blends would be great for this pattern. Just check the gauge. I think Grace has a nice "hand" and drape and should look great here. Go for it!
Cheers Chris

Anonymous said...

Thanks Chris, will do! Chloe

Judie said...

How would I make the sleeves a little longer? (Old flappy arms, you know) It looks so comfortable and pretty.

chris said...

It really is a "no sleeve" pattern, but if you want, you could pick up stitches along the cap sleeve edge, before you stitch the side seams, and work seed stitch for 3, 4 or more inches to extend the sleeve. It would alter the look, but work.
Hope that helps.