Crochet Summer

#CrochetSummer2014: Cal Patch T-Shirt Tutorial

It is no secret that I adore Cal Patch. Not only does she have a wonderful personality and is a joy to be around (you can’t help but be happy and calm in her presence), her style and her approach to sewing, crocheting, and teaching is really inspirational. Her book, Design It Yourself Clothes, published almost five years ago, was years ahead of the curve in terms of providing sewists with the necessary tools to design, draft, and sew a handmade wardrobe. Cal is also a huge supporter, promoter, and designer of crochet. As a result, it was a no-brainer to include her in our Crochet Summer feature!

Cal was incredibly generous to not only agree to participate in #crochetsummer2014, but she also was excited to provide a brand-new tutorial for one of her signature styles, crocheting a neckline onto a t-shirt. Check it out below!


One of my favorite ways to add a handmade touch to garments I make, or to customize something old and plain, is to embellish with a crochet edging. Crochet, unlike embroidery or knitting, can’t be done by machines, so I consider it the ultimate hand craft. In this tutorial I’ll be using a T-shirt neckline, but the same technique can be adapted for use on a cuff or hem of any knit or woven garment.

I’m using a super simple T-shirt that I made for this tutorial. You can make one following the instructions here, but note that I made this one much smaller and more fitted, so it’s a T-shirt not a dress (I used a width of about 20″ and a length of 24″). You won’t have to finish any of the edges when using a knit fabric, so it’s a very quick project! You can also crochet a neckline onto a pre-made T; in that case you’ll want to cut off the neckband. You can make the neckline lower and/or wider if you want to, since it’ll be filled back in with the crochet.

For this project you’ll need very few supplies:
• a top with a raw (cut) neckline
• a small bit of fingering-weight yarn
• a very small steel crochet hook
• a slightly bigger crochet hook (I used size C)
• appx. 10 sewing pins

 Turn the raw edge of the neckline of your t-shirt under by about 3/8″ and pin it all around. Note: Sometimes I don’t turn the edge under, but doing so gives a cleaner look, and working through 2 layers of jersey will make the neckline stronger.

Ready to crochet!

Note: I’m using a fingering-weight yarn, but you can experiment with different weights to see what works best for your garment. Because my yarn is fine, I’m able to use one of my tiny steel hooks which are great for poking directly into the knit of the shirt. If you decide to use worsted or bigger yarn, you will want to pre-poke your holes with a large darning needle so that you can get the hook through. (I would make a test swatch first to check gauge and how far apart the holes should be.) You may also wish to measure and mark your hole placement with a disappearing marker before you begin. Me, I just dive right in!

ROW 1 /
With a slip knot on your hook, pierce the neckline of the shirt (be sure to poke through both layers) 1/4″ away from the folded edge, just behind the right side shoulder seam, and join with a slip stitch.

You can use any stitch pattern you like, but this is what I did: Chain 7 (that’s 3 turning chains plus 4 across) and double crochet 3/4″ over from the join. Chain 4, double crochet again 3/4″ over, and continue around in this manner until you reach the beginning chain 7.

Join with a slip stitch in the 3rd chain.

ROW 2 / From this point on, you won’t be piercing the shirt any more, so you can switch to a slightly bigger hook if you want to.

Slip stitch into the next 2 chains (so that you are in the center of the chain-4 space), chain 6 (that’s 3 turning chains plus 3 across) and double crochet into the next chain-4 space. Chain 3 and double crochet into the next space, and continue around.

Join with a slip stitch into the the 3rd chain of the beginning chain 6, and finish off. Weave in ends.

Thanks, Cal! For more information about the awesomeness that is Cal Patch, check out her website here, her Etsy shop here, and her awesome Creativebug classes here!

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