Summer Secret Tank
Updated: Aug 19, 2022
Once upon a time in Michaels, I saw this particular yarn on an end cap and decided I must have it. It reminded me so much of my childhood when color-changing clothing was everywhere for a little while. That and it’s just cool, ok?
What I will say is that creating this pattern has been very fun for me. I began with a concept swatch of my own design, just playing with the ideas in my head and trying to make them come to life in swatch form. One thing I am rather proud of: with the exception of the hem, I did not use a stitch dictionary for this pattern. That also meant that I went through multiple swatches both in the round and in the flat to get the math right (eventual success!).
After finishing up the prototype - riddled with mistakes, don’t look too closely - I crunched the numbers to bring you this pattern in what I hope is an inclusive range of sizing. I like to think that this top will fit anyone who wants to wear it - no size or gender restrictions included. Go forth, crochet, and stand in the sun to reveal the secret color changing magic of this yarn!
Q: How much does this pattern cost?
A: This pattern is available for $7 USD (plus sales tax) from my Ravelry store or $7.50 (plus sales tax) from my Etsy store. Through August 14, 2021, use the code summersecret2021 to get $2 off on Ravelry or get 25% off on Etsy, no code needed!
Q: What do I get when I purchase this pattern?
A: You will receive four versions of this pattern available for download in either store: the full standard pattern, a text-only printer-friendly version, large print version, and a screen-reader accessible version.
All versions of the pattern include tips for success and how to adjust the pattern to get the right fit. All versions except for the text-only version include descriptive photos and the large print and screen-reader versions include the alt-text below each photo as captions.
Q: Can I sell items made from this pattern?
A: You may sell items made with this pattern, but must link back to (1) the pattern OR (2) the Craftematics website. You may not sell or distribute derivatives or variations on the pattern itself.
Q: How long does it take to make the tank?
A: The tank took me about 12.5 hours to complete in a size range 3, so I would estimate between 10 and 16 hours for most crocheters. Of course, time will depend on size as well as your crochet speed.
Q: How difficult is this pattern?
A: Skills required: working in the round, working in flat, sc, hdc, dc, dc decreases, hdc decreases, puff stitches, tr. When I was designing this pattern, I wanted to hold my own interest level while still being able to watch tv or listen to a book. Overall, I would say it's a low-level intermediate - a 4/10 for difficulty.
Q: What materials do I need to make this pattern?
A: You will need....
Premier Chameleon yarn in white to purple - 2 - 6 skeins
Any natural fiber or blend yarn in a weight 3 will work for this project, about 450 - 1260 m (492 - 1378 yd)
4 mm crochet hook (or size needed to meet gauge)
5 mm crochet hook (see gauge note)
A note on yarn: The color-changing effect of the Chameleon yarn is the "secret" to the Summer Secret tank, but you can absolutely choose any yarn you like and adjust the hook to meet the gauge. I recommend choosing a yarn that's light and breezy - natural fibers are a good choice.
A note on yarn quantity: I used 3 skeins (about 630 meters) of the Chameleon yarn to make a size range 3 tank top.
Q: Who will this pattern fit?
A: In theory, everyone! See the table below and please drop me a line if you need an additional size not provided. Please also note that while there is a taper from hip to chest, the shape should flatter regardless of gender or gender expression.
The Design Process and Learnings
As I said above, this project was 100% inspired by Premier's Chameleon yarn - a bit of a childhood throwback for me.
When I got the yarn home after purchase, I set about to grilling dinner and making a concept swatch (shown).
The general idea here was enough coverage to feel comfortable walking around with only a bralette underneath but enough gaps and laciness to keep cool. I also wanted some texture, hence the puff stitches.
Once the swatch was completed and I was generally happy with the layout of stitches, it came time to do the math. Fun fact: I got it wrong multiple times. I didn't frog, however, I just....faked it. It's fine. Definitely not noticeable.
The issue here was that I'm very used to the math for stitches when working in the flat and the body of the tank is worked in the round. This meant that instead of a multiple of 3+2 as needed for my concept swatch, the actual trellis round (the treble triangles) is simply a multiple of 3. Extra fun here because I realized way way later that I had also been miscounting my first stitch - whee!
After I finally sorted out the math (after finishing the top and making another concept swatch in the round, in case you're wondering), it came time to adjust the sizing. My goal here is to make this pattern as inclusive as possible - for size, gender, and accessibility. That meant sizing had to scale in both directions.
Enter the size range. Much better than a commercial size, the size ranges:
Provide up to 5 inches of positive ease so you can make it fitted or baggy, whichever makes you comfortable
Are gender neutral and based solely on the number of base stitches at the hem
Give a small taper inward from hip to chest - the taper can be ignored (just don't do the decreases), but should flatter most shapes regardless
Have absolutely nothing to do with dress or "regular" clothing sizes
I quite like the concept of stepping away from commercial sizing, especially as it is woefully inconsistent from place to place (shout out to Target where I've purchased an XL and M shirts that are physically the same size). Using size ranges also means there was no need to align to any existing scale and instead allowed me to base the size ranges on a multiple of the stitches required to create the pattern (24, for the curious).
Writing up the rest of the pattern was a bit of a challenge for some parts of the strap which did not wish to cooperate, but I got it done after a few hours of driving the struggle bus and talking to my calculator (it's a very good listener).
This is the first time I've written a pattern that really needed testing and I have to say I'm very glad I took that step and was able to find a few people to help out. They caught a lot of errors and helped me to understand some communication issues happening in the pattern. Importantly, testing in different sizes also helped to validate my math!
Finally, testing came to a close and I finalized the pattern, making copies and editing into the other 3 versions. This took a few extra hours of time but is worth it to make the pattern accessible. Heads up: the large print version is over 50 pages courtesy of size 22+ fonts, captions, and 1 inch margins.
Reflecting back on this process, it's been a longer road than I anticipated (2 1/2 months!), but I'm proud of this pattern and the thought I put into it's final forms. I hope that anyone reading this who decides to give it a go will find it fun to make and fun to wear.
Thanks for reading, friends!
I hope you enjoy making and wearing this pattern as much as I enjoyed designing it. If you make the top, be sure to share it out on Instagram or Ravelry with the hashtags #craftematics and #summersecrettank!
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See you soon!