I am super-thrilled to be back for another MAL hosted in the Scheepjes Facebook groups!!!!! Last year we made a lot of beautiful Sashiko Happy Coats together and this year it’s a summer garment – or should I say garments (plural)! …What!?
BIG NEWS!! You have a choice of garments AND a choice of yarns! Read on…
Last year I published an update of my Beach Daze Filet Lace Tunic pattern on both Ravelry and Etsy in two yarn weights and increased the number of sizes for the pattern. The original yarn was Maxi Sugar Rushmercerised cotton thread (as published on the cover of Simply Crochet Magazine in 2019) and I added the Whirlette cotton/acrylic blend alternative because using a thicker yarn makes it a quicker project - you can pretty much make the same garment with a bigger hook working fewer stitches and rows because the gauge is different. Yay, right!!?
When I thought about doing this garment as a Make-A-Long, I got it into my head that I wanted to show how versatile my Tunic design could be, in that you can manipulate a single geometric Filet grid chart into a range of garments. Down the rabbit-hole I went, and the result is this….
For each of the Maxi Sugar Rush and Whirlette yarns there are now 3 garments!!!
the original Tunic,
and a full-length Dress.
But wait, there’s more!! At the risk of someone asking me “where is my set of steak knives?” – haha - the Whirlette version of the Dress has a further option of combining it with WHIRL How could I not include this, right!?
So far, that’s a total of 7 different garments and each of these is offered in 9 sizes!!!
Then there are also some variations/customising options for your Beach Daze project: There are 2 Placket options (a ribbon-laced placket vs a joined placket), and because I wanted to fully exploit the graduated colour effects of using Whirl yarn, I also devised a Join as You Go side seam option in case a contrast side seam and sleeve trim is not your thing.
All this extra versatility is packaged into the Beach Daze Tunic Supplement PDF that I have just added to the pattern listing in my Ravelry and Etsy stores (and all previous buyers have been updated with a link).
So… the Beach Daze MAL is ON!!!
(Starting in 3 weeks from now so you have time to order yarn)
...and it’s a choose your own adventure!!!
I hope you have fun choosing colours and making the version that suits you - it’s a really versatile pattern!!
Here are all the essentials you need to know:
(How to choose your size and a little photo fashion show is at the end of the blog).
DATES: March 3rd to March 24th - with a Prep post on Feb 24th.
WHERE: Hosted in the Scheepjes International and Dutch Facebook groups. If you are not already a member, you can click on these links below to go and join in!
You can of course make the project by simply following the Pattern and Supplement instructions and there will be heaps of help on my blog here but the groups are where you can connect with other makers and the group moderators are also there to help you.
PATTERN AVAILABLE: Purchase from my Peppergoose Design Pattern Stores on Ravelry and Etsy. You will receive the links to download both the Pattern PDF and the Supplement PDF. The Pattern tells you how to make the original Tunic, and the Supplement is intended to be read along-side of your Pattern telling you how and where to change things to produce the T-shirt and the Dress variations. The Pattern and the Supplement come together as a non-negotiable set for purchase.
PATTERN LANGUAGES: English (UK), English (US), DUTCH &FRENCH!
PATTERN DISCOUNT: The pattern is discounted down from AUD$14.50 to AUD$11.00 (No discount codes required) from now until March 24th then it will resume normal price. (AUD is Australian Dollars).
Please note that Ravelry and Etsy will add sales tax (VAT) appropriate for your country to that amount to complete your purchase at check out – Ravelry and Etsy collect the sales tax and processes it according to the tax laws of the country of the purchaser.
SIZES: XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL, 4XL, 5XL
Garments are designed to suit bodies whose bust circumference is categorised as follows, but please note you may want to make a size that doesn't fall in the same category. I talk about how to choose your size at length further in the blog!
Scheepjes Maxi Sugar Rush (100% mercerised cotton, 50g/280m) for whole garment
Scheepjes Whirlette (60% cotton, 40% acrylic; 100g/455m) for whole garment
MEASUREMENTS AND YARN REQUIREMENTS:
When reading the tablets below:
* "To Fit" is your bust circ. and the "Actual" is the garment's bust circ.
* "No. Balls MAXI" means 50g balls of Maxi Sugar Rush
(its difficult to fit that within the spaces of the tables).
HOOKS: The hook size is noted at the top of each table, but you may need to use a different hook size to achieve gauge. The dress does require 3 hook sizes that increase by 0.5mm for the skirt, so swatch for gauge with the smallest hook as this is used for the bodice region of all garment variations.
Numerous stitch markers (approx. 16-20 are helpful for Neckline and Placket)
Ribbon, approx. 6-7mm wide x 1.2m length
SKILL LEVEL: Adventurous Beginner to Intermediate.
(Don’t forget, my blog is written using UK terminology, though the PDFs are also available in US terms and Dutch).
Absolute Beginners: You are welcome to give it a go and there will be plenty of support in the Facebook groups, but I think you will find this a struggle. This design only uses the basic stitches, but it does require monitoring of stitch counts, even consistent tension over the whole garment and the tallest triple treble stitches are pretty difficult for a beginner …and all my explanatory ramblings in the coming blogs are likely to put your head into a spin! But then its only yarn and not life or death, and maybe your goal is to learn heaps rather than wear the first crochet project to your next party!? If you feel like giving it a crack then go for it, but I would try the t-shirt (smallest project) as a learning experience, living with all the mistakes you will make and then plan to wear your second project.
Adventurous Beginners: If you can make ch, ss, dc, tr sts working in rows while keeping even tension and keep track of stitch counts so you don’t accidentally lose or gain stitches, then welcome aboard! You will learn a couple of extra stitches, how to swatch for gauge, shaping techniques, edging, seaming with crochet and how to block your work. There may be some frustrating times during the project – the Placket around the neck may do your head in a bit but it will be okay in the end.
Intermediate: Lots to learn and refine existing skills! If you have crocheted for years but never made crochet clothes, then this could be a great project to dip your toe in the garment waters.!? I will be guiding you all through the pattern over the MAL with insights into the engineering and structure of the garment.
Advanced: You can probably breeze through this project and focus on manipulating your colours and personalising your make! You might find some interesting snippets or a different way of doing something in my blogs along the way.
WHEN YOU FIRST LOOK AT YOUR PDFs…
Because there are so many versions with options to customise, when you first purchase and download the Pattern and its Supplement it could seem a little overwhelming …But fear not!!! No matter which garment option and size you choose, we all follow the same basic approach, and all garment options only use chain, slip stitch, double crochet, half treble, treble, double treble and triple treble crochet stitches and some shaping!!
Totally do-able, and of course I will be providing extra tips and tricks during our journey together.
So which garment will you choose?
Let’s do a little fashion show with a little discussion about “ease” and see how these series of garments evolved.
The original brief I received from the editor of Simply Crochet magazine was to submit a design proposal for an oversized tunic as a beach cover kind of garment. Here is their beautifully styled photo that appeared in the magazine.
Now what does over-sized really mean? It refers to the generous amount of positive ease designed into the garment. The ease is the measured difference between your body versus the finished garment, and an oversized garment bust/chest measure is 15-30cm larger than the body it is designed to be worn by.
I made my tunic sample just over 30cm bigger than my own bust measurement and as its very over-sized and comfy to wear! It hangs about mid-thigh as a beach cover or over a tank and leggings short dress kind of thing as you can see here: My Bust Measure falls into the "To Fit" Medium category at 90cm although it varies a little bit depending on which bra I am wearing, and the Tunic is a Size Large with an "Actual" bust measure of 125cm, so 125cm - 90cm = 35cm of ease.
But my beautiful friend Stacey (who models the tunic on the cover of the pattern PDF) can also comfortably wear my tunic as a close-fitted garment (0-5cm of positive ease as her bust measure is approximately 120cm). She looks gorgeous wearing it over a tank and leggings, and it finishes at high-thigh level. This time 125cm - 120cm = 5cm of ease.
Which size you choose for any of the Beach Daze garments comes down to how much ease you feel comfortable wearing and the look you prefer. As I mentioned earlier, ease is the different between the dimensions of your body (generally at the bust region if not otherwise specified) and the dimensions of the garment. It’s the “room” between you and your clothes. Some people like tight fitting clothes and some people like a loose drape. Each to their own, and we talk more about this later in the blog post!
This chart summarises Bust/Chest Fit and Ease as described by the Craft Yarn Council of America:
So, then I got to thinking that close or classic fitted bodices would work well for a t-shirt or the bodice of a dress, but then I would have to think about how to handle the skirt to produce a flared A line shape while still maintaining the geometric Filet Lace pattern.... Cogs began turning. I pretty quickly whipped up a T-shirt in Whirlette Liquorice 851 and I also noticed that people who had made my design tended to not insert the ribbon. Why not come up with a joined placket option, so ribbon is not required?
And voilá!!! Straight off the hook I had to take a picture!
The T-Shirt is great with shorts or leggings for day, or with tight jeans some heels and a bit of bling for a casual evening out maybe. You can certainly see the difference blocking your crochet makes if you compare "fresh off the hook" in the photo above, to fully blocked in the photos below!
I have approx 4-5cm of ease with the Liquorice T-shirt in these photos, and that is really comfortable for me. Dee is another stunner friend of mine in this XL size T-shirt made as a pattern test by my wonderful mum (Bev-AKA-Mothergoose) in Whirlette Blueberry 854. The Actual bust circ. of the top is 122cm and Dee's bust is 107cm so she has 15cm of ease when modelling this T-shirt. That Blueberry Whirlette really brings out Dee's piercing blue eyes!
I wanted to gently splay the skirt into an A line rather than suddenly becoming much wider at the waist, and that could be achieved by strategically increasing hook size and then also stitch count at key points, which is then further increased by the Hemline rounds technique as described in the original pattern. I was always motivated by having a full-length dress in the MAXI Sugar Rush for myself to wear as I love the sheen and hardiness of the mercerised thread – but I won’t show you pictures of that just yet. I will keep some level of mystery for now…
Whirlette is awesome for garments and I wanted to see my design as a full-length dress in the bold colours of Kiwi green, Grappa purple, Mango mustard yellow or Citrus orange! My amazing pattern tester Annemie Celens made this size XS dress in Kiwi for her teenage daughter – isn’t it divine!? Annemie lent me her dress for a photo shoot and my gorgeous friend Sally did an amazing job modelling it for me (I think she has done this before!) – it was a really fun shoot in the city!!
The dress is designed to hang approximately 1 metre below the waist (ankle length theoretically) though this one was shortened for the intended recipient. With its top-down construction method, customising length is pretty easy!
Let’s face it, no large Whirlette project is complete until it has also been explored in its combination with Scheepjes Whirls! The trouble then was the math! Oh my goodness I almost lost my resolve. Lots (and lots) of work went in to making sure (almost) no Whirl gets left behind. I had to do a bunch of calculations to estimate at what point each Front/Back Piece changes from Whirlette to Whirl so that each size only uses 2 Whirl cakes, and that most of the colour graduation in the Whirl is featured towards the lower dress. You’re welcome!
I didn’t want to cut it too fine as natural variance in gauge means makers will use differing amounts of yarn to finish the same project and nobody wants to lose at Whirl yarn-chicken, but the vast majority of each Whirl cake is used at the lower part of the dress/skirt, and the rest is Whirlette.
Quite honestly, I had thought that would be complicated enough already so had planned on the method of assembly being the same for all garments, but then I put on my finished (Small) W/W Dress and looked in the mirror: Great!! ….The Whirl colour making up the side seam and armhole edging immediately made me think how to alter the construction method in a simple way to achieve the full ombre effect of a Whirl... I showed my husband, and his immediate comment was that he particularly loved the green stripe up the side and around the arm and that it was a really nice touch! So I decided my Supplement and the MAL experience needed to have BOTH options: contrast or blended side seams, and you can choose which one takes your fancy.
Naomi Boxall is another of my fabulous testers – she tested the blended method for me by making an XS W/W Dress in exactly the same colourways so you can see the impact of which side seam option you choose! Yarn used is Whirlette in Mint 856 and Whirl Peppermint Patty cake 775.
Below are pics of Sally who's bust measure falls at the high end of the Small category at 88cm and wears an XS with blended side seams. My 90cm bust measure falls just below the Medium category and I am wearing a size Small (approx. 5cm ease) with contrast side seams.
Okay, now you have seen all the options...
How do you choose your Size?
Each Size has a label of XS through to 5XL as described by the Craft Yarn Council classification.
I designed the T-Shirt and Dress with “Classic Fit,” so each size has approximately 5-10cm of positive ease around the bust if your bust measurement falls within or close to that category.
I designed the Tunic with "Oversized Fit" so each size has approximately 15-30cm of ease around your bust if your bust measurement falls within or close to that category.
(This is assuming you have achieved gauge when swatching, which we will talk about next week in the Prep 2 blog Feb 24th).
***BUT this really only tells you how I approached writing the pattern, it does not tell you which size to make. You may prefer yours to be looser and flowing, or tighter and figure-hugging.***
How I design any garment isn't necessarily how you like to wear it, so the simplest thing do is forget about what size label is attached to which garment and just consider the "Actual" garments finished measurements and your body's bust measurement:
Here is the plan of attack:
1. Measure your bust circumference.
2. Figure out how much ease you like to wear and add that to your bust circumference to find the finished garment measure that will suit you.
How do you figure out how much ease you like?
By looking at the photos here in the blog showing the variable amount of ease, and / or by measuring your favourite t-shirt/dress you know you feel good in and subtracting your bust circumference from the garment.
(This is a great way to find out how much ease you prefer! It seems I prefer 0-5cm ease for my T-shirt and Dress even though I designed the pattern categories with 5-10cm of ease. The categories are just labels according to convention. Forget labels and just you do you...)
The bottom line is this:
Your body’s bust circumference + desired ease = desired Actual (garment) bust circumference.
Refer back to the tables shown earlier in this blog post under the “Materials and Yarn Requirements” heading.
Choose the size that is closest to your desired Actual (garment) Bust/Chest.
You are definitely spoiled for choice...
Scheepjes Maxi Sugar Rush (100% mercerised cotton, 50g/280m) comes in 87 colours:
Scheepjes Whirlette (60% cotton, 40% acrylic; 100g/455m) comes in 44 colours:
Scheepjes Whirl (60% cotton, 40% acrylic; 215g-225g/1000m) comes in 54 colours:
And here is a link to Simy’s blog to find great Whirlette/Whirl combinations, and a special note on Whirlette / Whirl (W/W) Dress colour planning...
I have designed the project around 2 Whirl cakes – 1 for the Back and 1 for the Front, with the rest being Whirlette. You can use the W/W Dress Schematic in the Supplement as a colour planning sketch – why not print it out and use paints or pencils to get an idea of how it will look when you are done?
Sourcing your Yarn and Pattern:
There will be more information in the Scheepjes International and Dutch Facebook groups about sourcing yarn as well, but you can find Scheepjes retailers worldwide here, or consider purchasing via these two affiliate links – it doesn’t cost you any extra and I receive a small percentage of the sale that helps to support my design work.
Wool Warehouse (in the UK, ships worldwide including the US)
Caros Atelier (in The Netherlands)
...and Perth Aussies who like to support a local family business can source their yarn from my local Scheepjes Retailers
Leanne at Yarns For All
& Anna and Mike at Stitchcraft & Wizardry
I am so looking forward to seeing a geometric rainbow of filet crochet colour in the groups!!! This has been months in the making for me and I truly can't wait! I have worked hard to bring you a range of options to enjoy and prepare heaps of technical stuff to share during the MAL so it becomes a learning experience as well.
I really hope you join in and have fun!!
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Thank you to Scheepjes for yarn support for my designs!