I was so excited to knit Coachella that I ran to Liberty, determined to find a suitable substitute for Berroco suede. This is something I almost never do– buy yarn for a pattern. I have so much in my stash I usually try to just knit with what I have. I tried to swatch some silk from the stash but it just wasn’t right. So I found some Rowan Bamboo at Liberty and the manager there just happened to be knitting with it and showed me her project. A lot of it was ribbing which was causing her to “lose the will to live.” After knitting Coachella a second time, I know the feeling.

The manager’s project had this beautiful drape so I though the bamboo would be perfect. I was wrong about that. I don’t know the texture of Berocco suede but I’m imagining it a bit bouncier, perhaps more clingy rather than slippy like the bamboo. At any rate, it was much too heavy, causing the draping over the bust to lie in flaps rather than those sexy, clingy gathers.

coachella, long view

I have two tops like this already in my wardrobe– one by Lulu & Red and the other by TRAIDremade. I seriously love them both, so I had high hopes for this design.

I think also being busty is an extra fit challenge. Originally I knit the large and it was way too big for me. This time, I knit the medium. I added more increases after the hip shaping to make it longer and to accommodate my hips. That part fits perfectly, but the bust is still way too big.

coachella, side view

I did two rounds of short rows as called for in the pattern to fit a “D” cup (though I am actually a “G”). It is much too large– there’s room for two more breasts in there. If I knit it again I would omit the bust shaping.

At first I thought my gauge was off so the second time I knit it I measured obsessively as I went along, just to make sure I didn’t need to change needles. I suppose if I knit it again I might go down a needle size just for the bust portion. But I probably won’t knit it again. I’ve completely lost interest. Though if I got my hands on some of the Berocco suede I might reconsider…


I am knitting Knitty’s Coachella, a racerback cowl-neck tank. I substituted Beroco suede for Rowan Bamboo– hoping it might have some of the same drape. Berocco suede is not available in the UK. I checked ebay but all the lots were just for a few balls. I don’t get this– unless everyone is just making scarves, these lots are not enough for anything interesting.

Rowan bamboo is lovely rather slippy & heavy with a beautiful drape that I thought would be good for this top. But after I knit the whole thing, I realized the weight pulled down the armholes beyond what a crochet border would fix.

Also, I needed one more ball for the large. However, the large was huge. Even after trying it on mid-way as the pattern suggests, it was difficult to see how it would drape until it was completely finished. Only then did I realize the upper body was way too big and droopy. The drapes of the cowl actually fell all the way to my waist, and the neck opening went below the bottom band of my bra rather immodestly.

I realized for it to fit me correctly, I need negative ease at the bust. The bust has to act as a shelf for the cowl, in a way, and I didn’t understand this until I knit the whole thing.

I believe Harvill’s pattern measurements are helpful in that the “fit up to” really means “should stretch over with zero ease.” I made the large, with a 44″ bust. I think it would probably fit someone with a 44″ bust really well. But there was waaay too much ease for my 40″ bust. I should have known, but for a while I was making all these sweaters that were too small for me, so now I guess I’m making all these sweaters that are too big? Again, the idea that I’m an “XL” has been imprinted on my consciousness from shopping at “junior” style stores, and my sense of my body shape has been distorted by shopping in places where the smallest size is always up front, so when you get to your size on the rack it just looks shapeless and bizarre. But I digress.

The great thing is that this is easy to knit– good telly and tube knitting. And the Rowan bamboo is a joy to work with– very silky.

I don’t know if I will make the small or the medium. I will definitely have to increase more for the hips though if I make a small, as the large fit me nicely around the waist and hip, though it had more ease than the photo shows on the pattern page.

I ripped it before I was able to take pics. It was so revealing though– posting pictures would have been oversharing.