Once upon a time I saw this top in an ad on a blog I like. Something about the color contrast and the shape really appealed to me so I clicked over to the Etsy shop. It was cute, but on closer inspection, I saw that there was no shaping and the back and straps would only keep the top in place on someone who was flat chested. I exited out the shop and went back to my blog reading, but the top stayed in the back of my mind. For the next week or so, my thoughts kept wandering back to it and trying to figure out how it could be made to fit a larger chest. Finally I gave in, bought some yarn, and got knitting so I could get this thing out of my head.
Ta da! The first thing I had to figure out was how to give the bottom band some structure and how to keep it from riding up. I went with a turned hem. I used that as a casing for elastic. I wanted to copy the color work pattern of the original top, so I work every 4th stitch in white on every 3rd row. My stitch count happened to be really convenient for this because it offset my little polka dots by two stitches in alternating rows so my dots were evenly distributed without me having to make much of an effort.
The polka dots were looking nice in the arrangement, but that made shaping difficult. If I went with simple increases in a bust dart kind of shape, my dot distribution would get really messy. If I worked traditional short rows, I would end up with an extra row of red in between the dot rows along the sides of the top. The more I sat thinking about it, the more I started to wonder if there really was any reason why I had to start at the beginning of a row and finish at the end of it. I cut my yarn and rejoined it in the middle of a row where I wanted my short rows to start. I did it for one “cup” and then I did it again for the other. Each time I did it, I closed my curtains and hid out from the knitting police. It actually worked quite well.
This was my first attempt at short row shaping and I have to say that I still don’t really get it. I sort of understand how it works, but I don’t understand how one would go about designing a pattern with it. The measurements just aren’t out there. I took mine off of my strapless bra. The edge of the cup where it lies flat was 4.5 inches high and the curve of my cup from the lowest to the highest point was 7.5 inches so my short rows needed to be 3 inches high once they were done. That was easy enough because I had something to physically measure. I also figured out the width from my bra. I don’t know how I’d figure out the short rows for someone else. I never see these sorts of measurements on standard size charts like the CYC one. I also kept running across a lot of arbitrary numbers like to work one inch worth of short rows for every cup size over a B cup. Admittedly, that would still leave me with my three inches, but I can’t imagine that works for people with larger band sizes because the shape of bra cups is proportional to the band size. I’m curious if I just was missing something.
Anyways, I put buttons down the back. I wasn’t sure if it was going to stay in place over my strapless bra. I didn’t work the top in the round so if I need to I could put guides in the back that I could slot the band of my bra into to keep everything in place. I was pleasantly surprised that I wouldn’t need to do that step. I also put a button on the halter neck, but that also wasn’t entirely necessary. The straps are just tubes that I sewed shut. I picked up stitches off of the top edge for that.
For the top edge, I was going to use the I-cord bind off from Audrey in Unst. I hadn’t gotten far enough on that sweater to have tried the technique out, but the idea sounded like what I was going for. Nope. It curled like mad and didn’t look very much like I-cord. It just looked like a weird horizontal stockinette bit. I ended up ripping it out, but I wasn’t sure where to go from there. I really had my heart set on that look. I liked the way the bottom hem looked, so I decided to go with something like that for the top. I was a few rows in when I realized that if I knit a really narrow hem, it would look a bit like I-cord like I wanted. Hooray! After that I just had to gather the front, pick up stitches and knit the center bit, and weave in a ton of ends.
And now for the question of the day! Will I actually wear it? I kind of doubt it, but we’ll have to see. I imagine it will only get worn for the traditional insanely tacky Fourth of July outfits that my sister and I do. I just can’t think of anywhere I’d go where this would be part of the appropriate outfit choice, but who knows! I didn’t think I’d wear my Fair Isle Yoke sweater that much and I wear that all the time!