It is a relief and a delight to get to the stage where I release my second official crochet garment pattern. Wahoo! (My first official garment pattern is the Perfect Cardigan published last year). This new design is See My Vest, a granny stitch crochet vest pattern. It’s also known in the UK as a tank top.
Buy the Vest Pattern
See My Vest comes in 9 different sizes. It has been graded and tested and I can confirm that it looks great in each size. Please check out Ravelry or the Instagram hashtag #SeeMyVest to check it out for yourself.
See My Vest Features
I have really enjoyed working on this crochet vest pattern. It’s a project I have worked on to continue learning about designing crochet clothes. A couple of months ago I signed up for an online class run by Nomad Stitches about garment construction and grading. I needed a project for “homework” and thought this vest would be quick and easy. In many respects it has been but a sleeveless garment is far from being a breeze to grade and write up. I did it though! Another goal achieved! Feeling quite chuffed about that. The course really helped and added to the grading information I had already gathered from the Workbook written by Heather of HGDC.
Made using acrylic DK yarn this is a great top for stash busting yarn you already have in your collection. I didn’t enjoy sewing in the many many ends for the Hotchpotch version but it looks so good! I’ve made a couple of stash busters during the design process and also a crochet vest all in blue. The bonus of making it in one colour is the lack of ends. Just a couple of them to sew in, yay!
I really hope you like it. It has some good features that I reckon are very pleasing indeed. The most common comments from testing was how fab it was that this is a seamless garment. You don’t have to sew any thing other than a couple of inches at each shoulder. Not bad, hey? The second most popular comment was that it was just so easy to adjust. In the pattern I have included some different, easy to follow options for making tweaks. Thus, you get to create your own unique garment. And there are charts! Another winner!
Crochet to Fit You
Whilst working on the grading I applied zero ease, meaning that I based the measurements on standard sizing without adding or taking away any room. So it’s not completely fitted but is not boxy either.
During the testing phase, myself and the See My Vest testing gang chatted about fit quite a lot. Shock, horror, guess what? We are all different shapes and sizes, with our own individual preferences for how we like to wear our handmade clothes. I was very lucky that in the testing group there were makers who loved the vest so much that they made two vests! They experimented with adding additional rows at the neck or back, they added or removed rows to the straps. To create different looks some made a smaller size to get negative ease (this creates a fitted look). The versatility is my favourite thing. As I have already mentioned, there are options within the pattern that tell you how to make alterations. I am a firm believer in tweaking, adjusting, and playing around to get a handmade garment that is unique and perfect for the wearer.
One of the things that helps with crochet fit is to make sure you have done a gauge swatch. Conveniently, I’ve got a blog post for that! The idea behind this post is that it’s an overview of the important bits without any major deep-dive. More of a tldr solution for people like me who are too lazy to read for more than a couple of minutes! I hope this isn’t revealing too much about my bone idle nature…
Getting the Vest Just Right.
There are four See My Vests in my house right now and potential for them to multiply. The first one was the ultimate in stash busting. Rather than sewing in ends, I knotted the ends and snipped them short having used the magic knot method. I don’t have a tutorial for this but it’s on my list of things to do.
Sample number one was made differently to the pattern so don’t zoom in on the pic below! The ribbing was added after as I suppose I wasn’t certain how the vest would be constructed at first. I also abandoned the idea of including this image in the final pattern. Not only is it not accurate, I also don’t have a clue how to instruct people to “chuck as much colour at it as possible. But not too much. Balance it by eyeballing. Add less in this bit, add more here…”. How do you write that professionally, in a document that people will pay money for?
Dithering over the placement of the shoulder straps was a bit of a thing. In the second sample I moved the positions of the straps but they fell off my shoulders. (I still have to rip the shoulders back and redo them because the yarn used in that top are my faves and to be treasured for a long time).
The yarn came in the form of Christmas presents from two fabulous people. Amanda, who is Queen Ambrosia on Insta sent me a beautiful, soft bundle of Polwarth DK minis all the way from Australia. The vibrancy of those shades are gorgeous and brought to life by the contrast of the creamy yarn that my long time podcasting pal, Claudia, sent to me from sunny California. Claudia has been on a mission to create yarn especially for crocheters. It’s a Z twist yarn with a textural quality I’ve never seen before. OMG it’s like butta! It works really well in the ribbing for this vest and I can’t help squidge it for comfort whenever I wear it.
Then I made the blue one, which is basically what the final pattern is. A low scoop neck crochet vest. But the pattern has options to make adjustments too! So I made a fourth sample. I added additional rows so make the scoop a little higher and returned to colour city with lots of different yarns thrown in to make a crazy rainbow.
When making something like this, I am not sure that I could do it entirely on my own and to claim as much would be dishonest. We all learn from each other and it would be remiss not to thank the amazing group of testers who made sure my first and second drafts got turned into a very clear third draft, with charts to boot. Thanks guys!
Same goes for the tech edit. This bit is essential for each and every designer. It’s best done by someone else as you can’t spot all the inevitable mistakes when it’s your own work. It’s not so bad for simpler patterns and you can sometimes edit your own work for those. But garments are a different kettle of fish and I think it’s an extremely valuable step in the process. So thank you Michelle for being brilliant, and reading me like book. She knows when I’m trying to cut corners and tells me so!
So that’s it. I really hope you enjoy making a crochet vest for yourself. Please let me know what you make and share pics on instagram or Ravelry etc. After all it isn’t much of a crochet community without you too!