When it comes to screaming “beach hippie” I don’t think you can get much louder than the crocheted bikini, and it didn’t take me very long to make one after re-entering the world of crochet in my late teens. Except, because I didn’t know any better seven years ago… I made it out of 100% acrylic. Yikes.
For those of you who don’t know, acrylic yarns do not breathe, and they certainly are not absorbent or fast-drying. So they aren’t the kind of material you want to sweat in. All I’m sayin’ is, crochet yourself an acrylic bikini and prepare for your boobs to suffocate.
Cotton’s the thing.
According to the Cotton Australia website, cotton can absorb up to 27 times its own weight in water, and the fibers actually become stronger when wet. Cotton’s thermal conductivity keeps the body warm in winter and cool in summer – in addition to its unique fiber structure that allows ventilation of air. Sounds like good bikini material to me.
I hodge-podged this crocheted bikini top together using recycled cotton sweater yarn and some really tight half doubles. The cup design comes from this wonderful, free bikini halter top pattern from Melissa Bjerregaard on Ravelry.
However, I didn’t really feel like messing with pineapple lace for this one, pretty as it may be. I designed my own edging for the cups. The following is more of a pattern recipe than a pattern. I used a lot of different techniques to make this, so for easy searching I have linked to any instructional material BOTH in the pattern AND in the following list.
Pineapple Lace summer halter neck top by Melissa Bjerregaard
Everything You Need to Know to Start Recycling Sweater Yarn by Morale Fiber
Double Chain Tutorial by Morale Fiber
Pom Pom Edge by Once Upon a Pink Moon
Crochet Chart Symbols from Craft Yarn Council
Inspiration for this free bikini halter top pattern came from my love of henna designs, the thick lotus-petal shaped motifs, linework and dot borders. Made from recycled cotton yarn, this pom-pom fringed top is earth friendly and perfect for dance class, unique festival wear, or your next beach adventure!
Hook: Use whatever fits your yarn. I used a 2.25.
Yarn: 100% cotton yarn recycled from an old sweater, yarn similar to the following measurements: #1 weight, 22 WPI, 250 yards (.229 g per yard).
Gauge: As tight as you can manage.
A few notes: I really dislike the “bump” under shirts in the back caused by tied bikini straps, so I rigged up a button system to avoid that. The pattern recipe is for regular style straps, so my pictures will differ slightly from the pattern.
I could not find the standard symbols for a few of the stitches I used. For these stitches I included a key in the charts.
1. First, crochet yourself two separate cups using the directions from this pattern.
2. With the wrong side of the cup facing, work a simple filet of (dc, ch 1) up one side of the top of the cup. I started at the bottom right corner and worked a ch 4 (counts as first dc + ch 1), *sk next stitch, dc in the next stitch* rpt.
When you come to the top point of the cup formed by the central 3 hdc cluster, you will work ONE of the following charts to increase. Making the filet increase for this point depends on whether you have an even number of stitches or an odd number.
Once you have worked your increase, continue working the filet repeat down the other side of the cup until 2 or 3 stitches from the bottom corner (just make sure you end your repeat on a dc). Without chaining, dc in the 2nd or 3rd stitch from the bottom corner of the next cup, connecting the two cups. Work the edging for the next cup in the same manner as the first. Work the repeat all the way to the corner of the second cup. Cut yarn & fasten off.
3. Double chain (click here for instructions) the length you want your side strap to be. With the right side of the cups facing, begin to single crochet across the bottom of the cup – you will be working stitches into the row edges of the original cup.
I didn’t sc in the edge of every row, because it came out looking too loose- remember that this is going to stretch a bit in places! I didn’t want the bottom of the cups stretching too much (that’s a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen) so I skipped about every third stitch – experiment and see what looks right to you. When you reach the end of the first cup, ch 1 and continue to sc across the bottom of the second cup using the same ratio.
When you reach the end of the second cup, start a double chain using the last sc as your base. Double chain the same length as your first side strap. Do not tie off.
4. Work 2 single chain stitches at the end of your double chain length. Turning your stitch direction counterclockwise (but not flipping the chain over) work hdc down the back of each double chain stitch, back toward the bikini cup.
When you reach the cup, sc in each stitch across (both the dc stitches and the ch-1’s count as stitches here) until you reach the point at the top of the cup. Double chain your first strap from here, as long as you want it. When your strap is the appropriate length, ch 2 and work a hdc in each double chain stitch back down the opposite side of the chain. When you reach the cup point again, resume single crocheting two stitches from the beginning of your double chain.
Sc in each stitch until 3 stitches from the connecting point of the two cups. Ch 2, sk 6 stitches, sc in the next stitch and in each stitch across until you reach the point at the top of the second cup.
Work your strap in the same manner as with the first cup, then sc in each stitch until your reach the end of the second cup. Hdc in each double chain stitch of the strap until the end. Cut yarn and tie off.
5. Working with the bottom edge of the bikini, decide where you would like the edge motif to start and end (make sure you still have enough room to tie your straps tight – again, THIS WILL STRETCH SOME, so take that into account). You need a multiple of 5 +1 for the pattern repeat. Place markers at the beginning and end of your range.
Joining your yarn at your beginning stitch, work the following motif pattern within your set range of stitches.
a. Ch 3 (counts as dc + ch 1). *sk next stitch, dc in the next st, ch 1* rpt.
b. Ch 1, turn. Sc in each stitch across.
c. *Ch 9, sk 4 sts, sl st in the next st.* rpt
d. Ch 1, turn. *Work (2 hdc, 3 dc, 3 tr, 3 dc, 2 hdc) in the next ch-9 space* rpt.
e. Turn. Sl stitch in the next 7 stitches. *ch 5, work 1 pom pom stitch, ch 5, sl stitch in the middle treble of the next cluster* rpt.
Cut yarn and tie off. Weave in all the ends.
Looks a little curly, doesn’t it? This is where blocking comes in. Since this is cotton, you can just dunk the entire thing in some water and soak it for a few minutes, then gently squeeze the water out (do NOT wring it). Lay it out on a towel and arrange it so the hem lays flat. You can pin it down to hold the shape if need be, paying special attention to the points to get a good dramatic silhouette goin’ on. Wait for it to dry and you’re done!
I added some wide wooden beads for a little extra fun by just slipping the strap through them. Now if only my state wasn’t completely landlocked.
If spending a ton of time messing with teeny yarn and guessing cup size is annoying for you, check out the Mehndi Halter Top – a paid pattern inspired by this project but uses #4 weight cotton blend yarns and detailed row-by-row directions in cup sizes from A- 38C!