A summery plus-size top to knit

This wrap top, made of lightweight hemp yarn, features adjustable lacing at the shoulders, a side zip and flattering pleats and folds.

By Michelle Katerberg

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This unusual top is flattering as anything for all Big Girls. Lacing at the shoulders adds interest, and you can adjust the sleeve length to show as much or as little arm as you like -- just lace all the way to the end or don't lace much at all! The front gathers create vertical interest in the belly and boob area, which is delightful and distracting, and we know what the wrap does, right? It does it very well here. The fit is close to the body, but not tight. How do you get it on? It's got a side zip. Sexy.

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Size
L (1X, 2X, 3X)

Finished measurements
Chest: 43 (46.5, 51, 55)
Length: 24

Materials
• Lanaknits allhemp3 (100% long fibre hemp; 150 yds/137 m per 45 g skein); colour: 30 Cinnamon; 10 (11, 12, 12) skeins

• 1 set 3 mm needles, 24 inches or longer

• 1 set 3 mm double-pointed needles

The metric 3 mm needle is between a US #2 and US #3 in size. Use your discretion when choosing your needle size.

• Tapestry needle

• Stitch markers

• Invisible zipper, 14 inches or longer

• Sewing thread to match yarn

• Sewing needle

• 2-3 yds ribbon or cord

Gauge
28 sts/40 rows = 4 inches in St st after blocking.

Pattern notes
This top is worked from the top down, and has some unusual construction details. The top right and left pieces (including the front halves of the cap sleeves) are cast on at the shoulder, and worked separately to just below the bust. They are joined, an extension is worked off the right front, and the lower front is worked down to the lower edge. The back is knit afterward.

In this pattern, there are garment sections that are knit with extra fullness, which will later be gathered and sewn into soft pleats for a draped effect. The stitches in these garment sections will be designated "drape sts."

As you work the short row sequences in this pattern, when you encounter a wrapped st, pick up the wrap, place it on your left needle, and work it together with the wrapped stitch.

Customization notes
If longer sleeves are desired, CO more sts for Left Front and Right Front. Make a note of how many extra sts are cast on, and add this number to the number of sts to place on hold for the sleeve. When casting on for the back, this number must be added twice to the CO, and once to every set of numbers in the Short-Row Neck Shaping. (ie. If you have added 10 sts to each Front, add 20 sts when casting on the back, and add 10 sts to every number in the Short-Row Neck Shaping sequence.)

The number of sts cast on at the end of the armhole shaping may also be altered to customize fit. Changing this number will change the full bust circumference. If this is done, be sure to change the number of rows knit in the last step when forming the sleeves as well; the inner edge of the sleeve will later be sewn to the curved edge and CO sts of the body under the arm.

Right Twist
K 4 sts onto double-point needle, rotate double-point needle 180 degrees counter clockwise, k sts from double-point needle onto working needle and continue working row.

Left Twist
K last 4 sts onto double-point needle, rotate double-point needle 180 degrees clockwise, k sts from double-point onto working needle.

Pattern
Left front
CO 84 sts.
Rows 1 and 2: K.
Row 3 (RS): K1, [YO, ssk] to last st, YO, k1. 85 sts.
Row 4: K.
Row 5 (RS): K24, place marker, k to end. The stitches before the marker will be the drape sts.
Row 6: P.
Row 7 (RS): Kfb in every st to marker, k to end of row. 109 sts; 48 drape sts.
Row 8: P.
Row 9 (RS): K1, [kfb, k2] to 2 sts before marker, kfb, k1, k to last 4 sts, work Left Twist. 125 sts; 64 drape sts. Work 7 rows in St st.

Shape neckline
Next row (RS): K to marker, slip marker, m1, k to last 4 sts, work Left Twist.
Work 3 rows in St st.
Next row (RS): K to marker, slip marker, m1, k to end.
Work 3 rows in St st.
Repeat these 8 rows 4 times more. 135 sts; 64 drape sts.

Next row (RS): K to marker, slip marker, m1, k28, kfb, place rem 42 sts on st holder for sleeve. 95 sts on needle.
P 1 row.

Sizes L and 1X only:
Next row (RS): K to marker, slip marker, m1, k to last 2 sts, m1, k2.
P 1 row.
Next row (RS): K to marker, slip marker, m1, k to end.
P 1 row.
Repeat these 4 rows 7 times more, working Left Twist every 8 rows as set. 119 sts.

Sizes 2X and 3X only:
Next row (RS): K to marker, slip marker, m1, k to last 2 sts, m1, k2.
P 1 row.
Repeat these 2 rows 15 times more, working Left Twist every 8 rows as set. 127 sts.

All sizes:
Next row (RS): K to marker, slip marker, m1, k to end.

Next row: P 1 row.

Repeat these 2 rows 13 times more. 138 (144, 152, 159) sts.

Short-row bust shaping
If you have a very small bust, omit this section; instead, work as follows:
Next row (RS): k1, [ssk, k2] 15 times, ssk, k1, remove marker, k to end.
P 1 row.
Resume pattern after Short-row bust shaping.

Row 1 (RS): K1, [ssk, k2] 15 times, ssk, k1, remove marker, k19 [23, 23, 32], W&T.
Row 2: P12 [14, 16, 18], W&T.
Each subsequent short row will be 6 [6, 7, 7] sts longer than the last.
Row 3: K18 [20, 23, 25], W&T.
Row 4: P24 [26, 30, 32], W&T.
Row 5: K30 [32, 37, 39], W&T.
Row 6: P36 [38, 44, 46], W&T.
Row 7: K42 [44, 51, 53], W&T.
Row 8: P48 [50, 58, 60], W&T.
Row 9: K54 [56, 65, 67], W&T.
Row 10: P60 [62, 72, 74], W&T.
Row 11: K66 [68, 79, 81], W&T.
Row 12: P72 [74, 86, 88], W&T.
Row 13: K78 [80, 93, 95], W&T.
Row 14: P84 [86, 100, 102], W&T.
Row 15: K.
Row 16: P.
122 [128, 136, 143] sts on needle.

This sequence adds approx. 1.5 inches of length over the left breast. For a very full bust, you may wish to work the sequence again as follows:

Next row (RS): K67 (71, 76, 80), W&T.
Repeat Rows 2-16 again, for a total of 3 inches of added length.

All bust sizes resume shaping here
Next row (RS): K2tog 24 times, [k3 (4, 4, 5), k2tog] 11 times, k rem 19 (14, 22, 18) sts. 87 (93, 101, 108) sts rem.
Place all sts on st holder.

Left front sleeve
Place held Sleeve sts on needle with RS facing, and rejoin yarn.
Row 1 (RS): Kfb, k to last 4 sts, work Left Twist. 43 sts on needle.
Row 2: P 1 row.
Row 3 (RS): K2, ssk, k to end.
Row 4 (WS): P to last 4 sts, p2tog tbl, p2.
Repeat Rows 3 and 4 9 (9, 10, 10) times more, working Left Twist at end of every 8th row as set. 23 (23, 21, 21) sts rem.

Work 8 (6, 16, 26) rows in St st, working Left Twist at end of every 8th row as set.
BO all sts loosely.

Right front
CO 84 sts.
Rows 1 and 2: K.
Row 3 (RS): K1, [YO, ssk] to last st, YO, k1. 85 sts.
Row 4: K.
Row 5 (RS): K61, place marker, k to end. The stitches after the marker will be the drape sts.
Row 6: P.
Row 7 (RS): K to marker, kfb in every st to end of row. 109 sts; 48 drape sts.
Row 8: P.
Row 9 (RS): Work Right Twist, k to marker, k1, [kfb, k2] to last 2 sts, kfb, k1. 125 sts; 64 drape sts.
Work 7 rows in St st.

Shape neckline
Next row (RS): Work Right Twist, k to marker, m1, slip marker, k to end.
Work 3 rows in St st.
Next row (RS): K to marker, m1, slip marker, k to end.
Work 3 rows in St st.
Repeat these 8 rows 4 times more. 135 sts.

Next row (RS): Work Right Twist, k37, kfb, place 43 sts just worked on st holder for sleeve, kfb, k to marker, m1, slip marker, k to end. 95 sts.
P 1 row.

Sizes L and 1X only:
Next row (RS): K2, m1, k to marker, m1, slip marker, k to end.
P 1 row.
Next row (RS): K to marker, m1, slip marker, k to end.
P 1 row.
Repeat these 4 rows 7 times more, working Right Twist every 8 rows as set.
119 sts.

Sizes 2X and 3X only:
Next row (RS): K2, m1, k to marker, m1, slip marker, k to end.
P 1 row.
Repeat these 2 rows 15 times more, working Right Twist every 8 rows as set.
135 sts.

All sizes:
Row 1 (RS): K to marker, m1, slip marker, k to end.
Row 2 (WS): P to end, CO 4 (10, 10, 17) sts. 127 (130, 138, 145) sts.
Row 3 (RS): K to marker, m1, slip marker, k to end.
Row 4: P.
Repeat these 2 rows 12 times more. 139 (143, 151, 158) sts.

Next row (RS): K to marker, m1, slip marker, k1, [k2tog, k2] to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. 122 (128, 136, 143) sts rem.
P 1 row.

Short-row bust shaping
If you have a very small bust, omit this section; instead, work as follows:
Next row (RS): K to marker, m1, slip marker, k to end.
P 1 row.
Resume pattern after Short-row bust shaping.

Row 1 (RS): K67 (71, 76, 81), W&T.
Row 2: P12 (14, 16, 18), W&T.
Each subsequent row will be 6 (6, 7, 7) sts longer than the last.
Row 3: K18 (20, 23, 25), W&T.
Row 4: P24 (26, 30, 32), W&T.
Row 5: K30 (32, 37, 39), W&T.
Row 6: P36 (38, 44, 46), W&T.
Row 7: K42 (44, 51, 53), W&T.
Row 8: P48 (50, 58, 60), W&T.
Row 9: K54 (56, 65, 67), W&T.
Row 10: P60 (62, 72, 74), W&T.
Row 11: K66 (68, 79, 81), W&T.
Row 12: P72 (74, 86, 88), W&T.
Row 13: K78 (80, 93, 95), W&T.
Row 14: P84 (86, 100, 102), W&T.
Row 15: K to marker, m1, slip marker, k to end.
Row 16: P.
123 (129, 137, 144) sts on needle.

This sequence adds approx. 1.5 inches of length over the left breast. For a very full bust, you may wish to work the sequence again. Repeat Rows 1-16 again, for a total of 3 inches of added length. If you do this, omit the m1 on the last RS row.

All bust sizes resume shaping here
Next row (RS): K20 (15, 23, 19), [K2tog, k3 (4, 4, 5)] 11 times, place 64 (70, 78, 85) sts just worked on st holder, k rem 48 sts.
P 1 row.
The remaining 48 sts will be worked later to form an extension, which will be gathered and sewn across the left side of the body, underneath the bust. At this point, the extension will be shaped using short rows, so that it will curve underneath the left breast without bulk.

Row 1: K12, W&T.
Row 2: P all sts.
Row 3: K24, W&T.
Row 4: P all sts.
Row 5: K36, W&T.
Row 6: P all sts.
Row 7: K all sts.
Row 8: P all sts.
Row 9: K8, W&T.
Row 10: P all sts.
Row 11: K16, W&T.
Row 12: P all sts.
Row 13: K24, W&T.
Row 14: P all sts.
Row 15: K32, W&T.
Row 16: P all sts.
Row 17: K40, W&T.
Row 18: P all sts.
Row 19: K all sts.
Row 20: P all sts.

Repeat Rows 1-12 once more.

Right front sleeve
Place held Sleeve sts on needle with WS facing, and rejoin yarn.
P 1 row.
Next row (RS): K to last 4 sts, k2tog, k2.
Next row (WS): P2, p2tog, p to end.
Repeat these 2 rows 9 (9, 10, 10) times more, working Right Twist at beg of every 8th row as set. 23 (23, 21, 21) sts rem.

Work 8 (16, 16, 26) rows in St st, working Right Twist at beg of every 8th row as set. BO all sts loosely.

Lower front
Place held sts from both sides on circular needle with RS facing, so that centre fronts are together. (DO NOT place 48 held drape sts from Right Front on needle -- these remain on st holder.) Rejoin yarn.
Next row (RS): K to last st of Right Front, k last st of Right Front tog with first st of Left Front, k to end. 150 (162, 178, 192) sts on needle.
Row 1: P.
Row 2 (RS): K14 (16, 16, 19), k2tog, k14 (15, 16, 18), [k3 (3, 4, 4), k2tog] 6 times, k9 (11, 11, 13), k2tog, k8 (10, 12, 12), k2tog, k9 (11, 11, 13), [k2tog, k3 (3, 4, 4)] 6 times, k14 (15, 16, 18), k2tog, k14 (16, 16, 19). 134 (146, 162, 176) sts rem.
Row 3 (WS): [Sl 1, YO] to last st, sl 1.
Row 4 (RS): K1, [k2tog tbl] to end.
Repeat Rows 3 and 4 once more.
Row 7 (WS): P55 (61, 69, 76), place marker, p24, place marker, p55 (61, 69, 76). The sts between the markers will be the drape sts.
Row 8 (RS): [K11 (12, 14, 15), m1] 4 times, k11 (13, 13, 16), kfb 24 times, k11 (13, 13, 16), [m1, k11 (12, 14, 15)] 4 times. 166 (178, 194, 208) sts.
Row 9: P.
Row 10 (RS): K to marker, k1, [kfb, k2] 15 times, kfb, k1, k to end. 182 (194, 210, 224) sts; 64 drape sts.

Shape waist
Work 7 rows in St st.
Next row (RS): K2, ssk, k to last 4 sts, k2tog, k2.
Repeat these 8 rows 5 times more.
170 (182, 198, 212) sts.

Work 3 rows in St st.
Next row (RS): K3, m1, k to last 3 sts, m1, k3.
Repeat these 4 rows 9 times more.
190 (202, 218, 232) sts.

Work 3 rows in St st.

Short-row hem shaping
Row 1: K to last 8 (5, 4, 2) sts, W&T.
Row 2: P to last 8 (5, 4, 2) sts, W&T.
[Note: Each subsequent short row will be 6 (7, 8, 9) sts shorter than the last.]
Row 3: K to last 14 (12, 12, 11) sts, W&T.
Row 4: P to last 14 (12, 12, 11) sts, W&T.
Row 5: K to last 20 (19, 20, 20) sts, W&T.
Row 6: P to last 20 (19, 20, 20) sts, W&T.
Row 7: K to last 26 (26, 28, 29) sts, W&T.
Row 8: P to last 26 (26, 28, 29) sts, W&T.
Row 9: K to last 32 (33, 36, 38) sts, W&T.
Row 10: P to last 32 (33, 36, 38) sts, W&T.
Row 11: K to last 38 (40, 44, 47) sts, W&T.
Row 12: P to last 38 (40, 44, 47) sts, W&T.
Row 13: K to last 44 (47, 52, 56) sts, W&T.
Row 14: P to last 44 (47, 52, 56) sts, W&T.
Row 15: K to last 50 (54, 60, 65) sts, W&T.
Row 16: P to last 50 (54, 60, 65) sts, W&T.
Row 17: K to last 56 (61, 68, 74) sts, W&T.
Row 18: P to last 56 (61, 68, 74) sts, W&T.
Row 19: K to last 62 (68, 76, 83) sts, W&T.
Row 20: P to last 62 (68, 76, 83) sts, W&T.
Sts will be increased in the next row to ensure that the BO row will be long enough to allow the lower edge to curve gracefully.
Row 21: [K to wrapped st, m1, pick up wrap and place it on left needle, k wrap tog with wrapped st] 9 times, [k to wrapped st, pick up wrap and place it on left needle, k wrap tog with wrapped st, m1] 10 times, k to end.
Row 22: P to rem wrapped st, pick up wrap and place it on left needle, p wrap tog with wrapped st, m1, p to end.
BO all sts.

Place held sts from Right Front drape extension on needle, and k until extension is 0.5 inch short of reaching left side edge, ending with a WS row.
Next row (RS): [K3tog, ssk] to last 3 sts, k3tog. 19 sts rem.
K 5 rows. BO all sts loosely.

Back
CO 210 sts.
K 2 rows.

Next row (RS): K1, [YO, ssk] 42 times, k40, [ssk, YO] 42 times, k1.
K 2 rows.

Short-row shoulder shaping
Row 1: P84, W&T.
Row 2: K.
Row 3: P86, W&T.
Row 4: K to last 4 sts, work Left Twist.
Row 5: P 89, W&T.
Row 6: K.
Row 7: P93, W&T.
Row 8: K.
Row 9: P98, W&T.
Row 10: K.
Row 11: P.
Row 12: K84, W&T.
Row 13: P.
Row 14: Work Right Twist, k82, W&T.
Row 15: P.
Row 16: K89, W&T.
Row 17: P.
Row 18: K93, W&T.
Row 19: P.
Row 20: K98, W&T.
Row 21: P.
Row 22: Work Right Twist, k to last 4 sts, work Left Twist.
Work 43 rows in St st, working Twists at each end of every 8th row as set.

Next row (RS): K41, kfb, place 43 sts just worked on st holder, kfb, k124, kfb, place rem 42 sts on st holder. 128 sts on needle.

Work 3 (3, 1, 1) rows in St st.
Next row (RS): K2, m1, k to last 2 sts, m1, k2.
Repeat these 4 (4, 2, 2) rows 7 (7, 15, 15) times more. 144 (144, 160, 160) sts.

P to end of row, CO 4 (10, 10, 17) sts.
K to end of row, CO 4 (10, 10, 17) sts.
152 (164, 180, 194) sts.
Work 51 rows in St st.

Shape waist
Next row (RS): K2, ssk, k to last 4 sts, k2tog, k2.
Work 7 rows in St st.
Repeat these 8 rows 4 times more, then work first row (decrease row) once more. 140 (152, 168, 182) sts.

Work 3 rows in St st.
Next row (RS): K3, m1, k to last 3 sts, m1, k3.
Repeat these 4 rows 9 times more.
160 (172, 188, 202) sts.

Work 3 rows in St st.
Work Short-Row Hem Shaping and BO as for Front.
Work Left Back Sleeve as for Right Front Sleeve.
Work Right Back Sleeve as for Left Front Sleeve.

Finishing
Wash pieces and lay flat to dry, flattening sleeve, back neck and hem edges.
Use doubled strand of matching-colour sewing thread to sew all seams, as yarn may break if used for seaming.
Sew Sleeves to Body at shaped underarm edges.
Sew right side and Sleeve seams.
Sew left sleeve seam and 0.5 inch of left side seam. Baste rest of side seam closed. Sew zipper into left seam with closed end at underarm. The zipper will be longer than the seam; fold the excess length of zipper tape on each side and sew securely under the zipper tape of the working length of the zipper.
Fabric may stretch lengthwise with wear, in which case the lower portion of the zipper can be unsewn, and the extra length of zipper tape can be used to lengthen the zipper accordingly.

Sew Back to Front at shoulders along width of drape sts. (This seam can be sewn longer if desired.)

Try on top and pin right front drape extension to edge of left front, just in front of zipper. Pin drape fabric into soft pleats and folds. Take your time with this, experimenting with different configurations. Use the photographs as a starting point, but remember that this is a good opportunity to make the garment suit your body. When you are happy with the look of the folds, sew them securely in place from the wrong side of the fabric.

Lace ribbon or cord through eyelets on shoulders. If desired, sew ribbon or cord over end of drape extension.

Editor's note: The pattern above has been reproduced from the book, with any errors that may be included. You can find corrections at knitnaq.com.

 



Excerpted from Big Girl Knits: 25 Big, Bold Projects Shaped for Real Women with Real Curves by Jillian Moreno and Amy R. Singer, with photographs by Bill Milne. Copyright 2006 by Quirk Packaging, Inc. Excerpted with permission from Potter Craft, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.

 

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