This crochet summer top has been a work in progress for quite some time. I’ve picked it up, put it down, taken it on holiday, worked on it in the garden and worked on it some more.

It’s my first crochet garment that I made without a pattern, just kind of making it up as I go along. So, this is not a pattern in this post, it’s more a “how I made this top” instruction. I hope it will inspire you to have a go yourself and make your own custom summer vest top.

I started out with 3 balls of Scheepjes Whirlette that were in my stash. In reality they were less than three full balls as I had used part of one of them in another project, so let’s call it 2.75 balls of whirlette. I used a 3mm hook throughout. I was using one of my own handmade hooks (available from the CraftRoomMakes Etsy store).

The shape of this top is pretty much two rectangles, with some chains across the underarms. I did not shape the neck at all – any curve you see at the neck is purely the drape of the yarn – it is straight across.

I started at the top of the garment – this way I could try it on to check the length and the fit. I used a foundation single crochet stitch to start because it is more stretchy. I measured this by just holding it up against myself to see if it went across my shoulders and neck.

I added stitches to make it work with the lattice pattern I was planning. I then did another row of single crochet. Then I switched to the lattice pattern. This lattice pattern is one of the stitch patterns from the Dreamy Lattice shawl. This is one of my most favourite crochet-alongs by Johanna Lindahl.

Once I had done a few repeats of the lattice rows I switched to a single crochet back and forth.

I made the back piece identical to the front and when I had finished the lattice I joined the two pieces at the shoulder. Then I checked the length of the lattice by actually putting it on. I wanted the lattice to be only on my shoulders and not so far down that the top of my bra would show.

I then carried on with the single crochet working back and forth on the two pieces until I had enough length to reach my underarms. At this point I crocheted across the front, added some underarm chains, crocheted across the back, added underarm chains and then joined to work in the round. This part I did many times to get the number of chains right! For me I needed 6 chains.

I worked single crochet in the round until I reached around waist length. At this point I added some increases at the sides, because I have large hips and I didn’t want it to be tight there. With hindsight I should have added more increases in the following rows, but I didn’t.

The single crochet in the round part seemed to go on forever. I even took it on holiday to Greece with me!

At this point I also realised (remembered) that single crochet in the round looks different than single crochet back and forth. There was a visible line across at the underarm part. In the end I was OK with it – it was another design feature. But I decided to make it look more intentional by repeating it at the bottom as well. So I switched back to crocheting back and forth before finishing the body.

Hindsight again – the single crochet back and forth part should be a little longer to more match what was on the top part. I was worried about running out of yarn before getting to a length I was OK with and the lattice creates more length with less yarn. So I ended up with a small section of single crochet and a larger lattice section at the end. When I split it into two pieces again I also cut the yarn and then weighed it into two same-size balls. This way I could work on the front to the end of the ball and be sure I had enough for the back as well.

In any case this allowed me to have a split at the sides, which I like.

At the end I tried it on and realised that the armholes gapped around the boob area. I fixed this by doing a round of single crochet, picking up one stitch per row, but with decreases of sc2tog where the gapping was. I then added a row of back post single crochet to give it a more finished look. This totally fixed it for me, but it wasn’t a huge gap, you might need something a bit more (like darts) if you have more boobage!

The finished top

I’m pretty happy with my top, but I also realise that I started the bottom lattice too soon. When I wear it with jeans, that lattice part is kind of catching on belts and rivets. I am intending to add a piece of fabric on the inside – just at the bottom like a kind of half skirt to stop anything being accidentally pulled.

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