I crocheted myself a shirt (it actually turned out OK)

Photos of a crochet shirt
Elysa Dombro/Staff

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Though winter break never feels quite long enough, there are undeniably moments in the middle that make you wonder if you’ll ever do anything interesting again. This has been especially true during COVID-19. During one of these moments of boredom, I decided to return to one of my favorite sixth-grade hobbies: crocheting. Crocheting is basically an easier form of knitting — it uses a hook instead of needles, but the end goal is still making something out of a ball of yarn. The biggest difference (well, maybe not) between middle school me and college me is that I’ve grown out of my scarf phase, so I decided to try to crochet something I would actually wear. Unfortunately, I’m truly not talented or committed enough to try and crochet a sweater or cardigan, which are both normal things to make out of yarn. Instead, I decided to make a shirt, or at least, something that resembles a shirt; it actually turned out cool! Check out what I did, and maybe, you’ll be inspired to make something creative and crafty, too! 

Yarn selection

You know you’ve reached a new low of boredom when looking at yarn online becomes your source of entertainment. Because I’m not super great at crocheting, I chose a yarn that was a little fluffy so that it would (hopefully) hide my mistakes. Another benefit of a more textured yarn is that if you’re making a shirt, it’s easier to avoid holes in the crochet that might slightly expose you. Choose a color you really like so that even if it doesn’t turn out great, you’ll still want to wear it.

Crocheting pattern (sort of)

Though I’m not going to explain how to crochet here, there are tons of video tutorials online that can help you out, if you’re interested. There are also tutorials on how to make items such as vests and shirts. But because I was feeling free-spirit vibes, I decided to go without an actual pattern, which normally tells you exactly how many stitches to make in order to get your final product. Instead, I crocheted separate pieces and wove them together to get the shape of the shirt I wanted. First, I measured my waist where the bottom of the shirt would fit and crocheted enough to fit around my waist and cover my torso. It basically looked similar to a very short scarf at this stage. I then used a bikini top to model the top of the shirt, and I crocheted two triangles. I also crocheted six straps: four to tie the back of the shirt and two to form the halter top.

Putting it all together

After I made all my individual pieces, I put them together. I attached the pieces to each other by taking more yarn and weaving it through both sides of the pieces — basically, I sewed the pieces together using yarn and a hook instead of thread and a needle. First, I attached the four straps to the scarf-looking body of the shirt, two straps on each side, such that it could tie together and have a partially open back. I chose to do this instead of just weaving the shirt closed because it allows for mistakes (it’s pretty hard to measure crochet exactly to your body, and I wanted this shirt to fit tightly) and it makes it a little more fun-looking. I then attached the two remaining straps to the tops of the triangles so they could form a halter top. Finally, I attached the triangles to the top of the body so that it looked like a V-neck halter top. 

Trying on and adjusting

Once the shirt was done, I tried it on and made small adjustments where necessary, such as reinforcing the straps and filling in any holes with extra yarn. At this stage, you could decide to make the straps thicker, or you could add decorative buttons or anything else that you want! 

Calling this project a shirt might be a stretch, but it was super fun to make, and I’ll definitely wear it. Because the yarn I used was pretty fluffy, I’m excited to wear it on mild weather days and to layer it over long sleeves and turtlenecks when it gets colder. If you try to make something like this, feel free to make it your own! There are plenty of fun designs you can come up with that will look super cool. Good luck!

Contact Elysa Dombro at [email protected].