Saturday, April 14, 2018

Lakeshore Tank Top - Crochet Pattern Review - A Crocheted Simplicity

Last week, I received a notification on Facebook from A Crocheted Simplicity linked to the Lakeshore Tank Top, and I was hooked. I have been looking for something to do with the three skeins of Modern Cotton yarn that I've had sitting in my stash, and being that this top was made of worsted weight yarn, I knew it'd be perfect. 

     - 450 Yards of Worsted Weight Yarn - I used two and some skeins of Berroco's Modern Cotton from my local yarn shop (linked)
     - K10.5/6.5mm Crochet Hook (larger than recommended)
     - Tapestry Needle for Weaving in Ends, and Sewing Straps
     - Lakeshore Tank Top, Paid Crochet Pattern from A Crocheted Simplicity

Material Notes:
     Hobby Lobby's I Love This Cotton used in original. Caron's Simply Soft recommended by designer as an alternative. My personal thoughts... I Love This Cotton is 100% cotton, and Simply Soft is 100% acrylic. The best option is a yarn that is a cotton/acrylic or cotton/rayon blend. Cotton yarn by itself has no bounce back - it will stretch, and not stretch back, and will continue to "grow". Acrylic yarn does not absorb moisture well, so if you are planning on wearing this as a warm weather top, you want something that won't irritate your skin, and help keep you cool, and the way to get that, is by a getting a blend. 
Berroco's Modern Cotton Review:
     This yarn has been sitting in my stash for about a year now. I purchased it a while back with intentions of working up a little girl's dress, but the pattern did not work out for me. This yarn is 60% pima cotton, and 40% modal rayon. It is very soft, with a good stretch. My only complaint is that the yarn splits very easily, especially if you rip back. I did wash this top, and the yarn washes up beautifully! Care instructions are to machine wash in cold water on the delicate cycle, and lay flat to dry. I laid my top out on top of the washer afterwards, shaped a bit, and left to dry. No shrinkage experienced.

Time Spent:
     I worked this top up in a few settings, for a total of just over six and a half hours.

     Sizes Small through 3X included in pattern. I worked up the size Medium. See my Pattern Notes for more details. 

     Pattern Gauge: 5" by 2"
     In Pattern, with J Hook: 4.5" Wide by 2" Tall
     In Pattern, with K Hook: 4.75" Wide by 2 1/8" Tall


Pattern Notes:
I wear a size large, and have a 39" bust. The measurements provided in the pattern are a size large - the medium is actually sized to fit like a large. This was so the top would fit comfortably over a cami, and for the banded version, you would want a top that is oversized anyway to puff out a little. My take on the medium size was that it was made to fit a 40" bust (to take other clothes into consideration), but would actually measure 42" around (or 21" wide) when finished. 

I went up to a K10.5/6.5mm crochet hook to try and meet gauge, but even so, I was a little short, I did not want to go up to an L11/8mm hook though. I figured I would still be alright being a little short...

Originally, I wanted to make the version of the tank top that has the band at the bottom. I have a tank top made similarly that I wear alll the time, and I was looking forward to having another. They are great to hide the unwanted love handles. 

I was 17 rows in when I decided to measure the width of my top, which came to be 17.25". I put it up to myself, and noticed that it would still fit me just fine, just wouldn't be oversized like I wanted, so that meant, no band. Sad face. I had already come so far though, so I just continued on. 

In the end, the top fit comfortably. The yarn had a very nice stretch to it, the top fit over a cami, and still had more give to it, however... it hugged my love handles. So, this top will be going to a new home, but! I did realize that as is, the top I made would fit a medium or large.
The pattern was so easy to follow, and created such a pretty lacy pattern, that I haven't used before, but I really like it. The pattern took a little to memorize with the four pattern repeat, but once I got the hang of it, I just sat back in my recliner, and worked away while watching TV.
I really love the idea of braided chain strips for the sleeves. It came out prettier than I thought it would, and strong with little stretch. It's a great option that I will definitely be keeping in mind for future designs.
To attach the straps, I whipstitched them into the stitch just under the slip stitch from the previous round. The finished three strand braid ended up measuring 1" wide. Personally, I prefer wider straps, so if I worked up another top, I would go with a wider braid.
The one thing I realized too late was the foundation. I don't know why I didn't think of the foundation chain when I first started, but what it needs is a foundation single crochet. Foundation stitches add flexibility when needed - perfect for tops, pants, cowls, hats, etc. After I worked the final round, and put the top on, I realized how tight the last round was. I tried a bunch of ways to work this round - 1) as written with smaller hook size; 2) as written with same hook size; 3) as written into chain spaces, instead of actual chains; 4) in half double crochet with three stitches per chain space. After I finished working in half double crochet, I settled. It is still tight, but unfortunately, there is nothing I can do without redoing the foundation, which is a no. 
Even though this top did not fit the way I wanted, I really enjoyed working it up. It was so nice to work a new stitch combination, work up a garment, and get to use the Modern Cotton that's been sitting in my stash. The pattern is written so well, and I look forward to working up another.
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  1. Looks good, especially the braided strips! =)

    1. Thank you! The braided straps are one of my favorite parts of this tank. I can't wait to use this technique in future projects.

  2. It looks wonderful! I'm planning to make a top too and I have chosen the yarn already, but this soft yellow (sand/butter) color is so beautiful that I'm now doubting about that color I've picked. And there's another problem, every time I make clothes myself, it doesn't fit properly. But I'll give it a try nevertheless.
    Happy Sunday,

    1. Sounds like a pretty color! I have some of those skeins that are so pretty, I have saved for the "right" project. Just part of being a yarn enthusiast, hehe. Garments are great projects to use those beautiful skeins in.

      As far as fit... I know your frustration. My advice, use a foundation single or half double chain for the beginning if you will be working in the round, take into consideration the stretch of your yarn when designing/ease, and slip stitch pieces together as a temporary hold so you can try the top on before securely sewing down.
      Can't wait to see your top!