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Irish Crochet Dress: Working on Sleeves

Irish Crochet Dress Working on Sleeves

After a few days of feeling happy to have finally tried on my half-finished Irish crochet dress, I am now working on sleeves.

Irish crochet professionals, most likely, wouldn’t agree with my way of approaching this tricky part of the dress.

Working on sleeves Irish crochet dress

I have stuffed my dress sleeves (you might remember from earlier posts that I’m using an old dress for modelling) and am pinning the details straight onto the stuffed sleeve.

This way I find it much easier to picture how a finished sleeve will look like.

My biggest worry with the sleeves is the area where the chest meets the underarm. I’ve seen quite a number of crochet dresses with a lot of tension in that area, which doesn’t look very nice.

So my solution was to stuff the upper part of my modeling dress to replicate the shape of the body.

I ended up with a weird looking ‘mannequin’ 🙂

Sleeves for Irish crochet dress

Most of the time when I wasn’t working on it, my mannequin spent wrapped up in an old sheet, looking like this:

I had to make sure the lace in the underarm region doesn’t have any tension. Therefore I added extra rows of lace in that area.

As I’m looking at the sleeves, I’m relieved to remember that the two won’t have to be identical. They have to look only somewhat similar.

As I was completing the second sleeve, I rushed to take this picture of the ‘final'(or so I thought) moment…

Finishing sleeves for Irish crochet dress

Far from being the ‘final moment’ of crocheting this Irish lace dress, this was only the beginning of the final stage…

Create beauty one stitch at a time!

Previous posts in this series:

  1. 5 Irish Crochet Lessons for First-Timers

2. Irish Crochet Dress: Main Rose

3. Irish Crochet Rose Finished

4. Irish Crochet Dress: Elements Completed

5. Irish Crochet Dress: Design

6. Irish Crochet Dress: Lace

7. Irish Crochet Dress: Picture Emerging

8. Irish Crochet Dress: A Quick Update

9. Irish Crochet Dress: Trying it on for the First Time

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Irish Crochet Dress: Trying It on for the First Time

Irish Crochet Dress Trying It On for the First Time

Finally, I tried it on for the first time…

… as if by some sort of quiet magic, on a dark and rainy Saturday evening, I crocheted the last bit of lace, completing the main body of my Irish lace dress…

Irish lace dress - trying it on for the first time

…which means, almost 2.5 years after I’ve started working on it, I can finally try the dress on FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER and see what it actually looks like on me.

So here it is, the first proper glimpse.

Irish lace dress - trying it on for the first time

To tell you the truth, I was a bit anxious for a few moments before taking a look at the mirror. After all, it could have been a total disaster…

As you will see, this is just a rough, unfinished ‘first draft’.

After that first time look at the mirror, the good news is, I didn’t see any major flaws which would require me to redo large sections of the dress. Phew…

Irish lace dress - trying it on for the first time

But of course, there are a number of things that’ll need adjusting.

For example, some flowers and leaves are a bit stretched when on the body and got slightly displaced. So I will have fix that.

I also see that I’ll have to fill in the small spaces between some of the branches, which I originally thought would be nice to keep void. I just think it will look better if I filled those spaces.

As you can see in the pictures, some flowers and leaves are a bit wonky and loose (I didn’t connect them properly). They’ll have to be readjusted and then ironed when the dress is finished.

Also, when crocheting the lace flat on the table, I thought the dress was going to be a bit loose as I was quite generous with adding some extra lines of lace.

But it turns out the lace hugs the body and sits quite close to the skin.

I think this has mainly to do with the dress design I modeled the lace on, which is a classic fitted style. This basically means that putting on even a bit of weight would be a no no 🙂

So what else is there to be done?

1. Sleeves.

The moment the excitement of actually being able to wear the dress passes, I’ll crack on with the sleeves.

My plan is to crochet sleeves that would cover 3/4 of the arm, I find it a very elegant sleeve length.

I’m planning to use darker yarn for the sleeves the way I did for the sides of the dress, so as to achieve a slimming effect.

I absolutely adore that light green yarn colour I used for the middle of the dress and many background elements. The trouble is that if I used it for the sleeves, the arms would look larger, as light colours tend to give the illusion of a larger frame.

Although I’ll see how I go, I might add some light green lace towards the bottom of the sleeve.

Now as I am writing this, I’ve realized I’ll also have to make a decision whether to keep my sleeves detail-heavy or detail-light, where I’d have just a few details running down the sleeve and the rest would be lace.

Let’s see, I’m still not sure.

The original design I bought instructions for was sleeveless, so I have no guidance here, will just have to trust my instincts.

That’s the beauty of Irish Crochet, it’s a fluid process with no strict rules. This makes it easier to correct mistakes or readjust your design as you go along.

2. Sewing in the ends of the threads.

Once I’m happy with my sleeves and how the dress turns out, I’ll have to hide all those pesky ends of yarn – hundreds of them 🙁

I’m leaving them now because I want to know exactly where the end of a thread is if I need to redo a section. So they’ll be hanging around until I’m completely satisfied with the dress.

3. Sparkly beads.

When everything is finished and the dress is ironed, I’ll also add some sparkly beads around the neckline. After all, it’s a dress for special occasions where a bit of sparkle is always welcome 🙂

I’ve already added some beads to the main flower. I like that they are almost invisible in the daytime and will have that eye-teasing effect in the evening.

So that’s where I am and where I’m going 😀
Still some distance to go, but the end is in sight :-DDD

Create beauty one stitch at a time!

Previous posts in this series:

  1. 5 Irish Crochet Lessons for First-Timers

2. Irish Crochet Dress: Main Rose

3. Irish Crochet Rose Finished

4. Irish Crochet Dress: Elements Completed

5. Irish Crochet Dress: Design

6. Irish Crochet Dress: Lace

7. Irish Crochet Dress: Picture Emerging

8. Irish Crochet Dress: A Quick Update

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Irish Crochet Dress: A Quick Update

Quick update irish crochet dress back finished

A quick update on my Irish crochet lace dress in progress.

The back is finished! Yay!

Quick Update Irish Crochet Dress - the back is finished

As I’ve written before, I still have the sides and sleeves to crochet, but the encouraging thing is that I finally feel I am approaching the finish line!

Although somewhat slowly… 🙂

Quick Update Irish Crochet Dress - sides to be completed

This is a much happier feeling than the one I had when I finished the front of the dress, it was just so daunting to think how much I still have to do…

…and now I feel a rush of enthusiasm to keep pushing forward!

Create beauty one stitch at a time!

Previous posts in this series:

5 Irish Crochet Lessons for First-Timers

Irish Crochet Dress: Main Rose

Irish Crochet Rose Finished

Irish Crochet Dress: Elements Completed

Irish Crochet Dress: Design

Irish Crochet Dress: Lace

Irish Crochet Dress: Picture Emerging

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Irish Crochet Dress: Picture Emerging

Picture Emerging Irish Crochet Dress

Many late nights, early mornings and numerous stolen moments later a clearer picture emerging…

…my Irish Crochet dress seems to be actually coming together!

Here’s a little update of that emerging picture:

As I wrote in my previous posts about this dress, the process is really slow and tedious…

To be perfectly honest, I’ve had some very VERY dark moments of despair, when it seemed that no matter how many hours I was working on it, I was stuck in one place unable to move forward…

And yet I was wrong…

…as one quiet evening, I finally unpinned the lace from the work table, turned it around and finally saw a fuller picture.

So here’s where I am at at the moment:

Picture Emerging Irish Crochet Dress

And here’s a full-length image:

Picture Emerging - Irish Crochet dress

Below are a few process images, just to give you a fuller picture:

As mentioned before, after crocheting all separate elements separately, you then lay them out on a flat surface to form a desirable shape and picture.

It is a time-consuming step as you have total freedom in terms of design. I wrote about this step more extensively HERE

As you can see in the picture, I used an old purple dress in order to achieve the right size/shape/length.

Normally, Irish crochet tutorials tell you to do your measurements from scratch and cut out front/back/sleeves of a dress from a separate material and then model the dress on that. But I see no harm in using something that’s readily available and saving some time and energy 🙂

This old dress you see in the pictures is only here for modeling. It won’t be part of the finished dress.

After you are happy with the picture you’ve laid out, you then have to attach the elements to your surface by stitching. You then start crocheting lace to gather all the elements together.

As mentioned in other posts, when crocheting the lace, you are looking at the ‘bad’ side of the dress. This means you can only see the emerging picture, after you finish a section, unpin your work from the surface and turn it around…

…always an exciting and scary moment in equal measures…

Here are a few close-ups, enjoy!

Picture emerging Irish lace

After this epic journey, which isn’t even half done, I needed a little rest.

And now I feel the dress is calling again and I must go… 🙂

Create beauty one stitch at a time!

Previous posts in this series:

5 Irish Crochet Lessons for First-Timers

Irish Crochet Dress: Main Rose

Irish Crochet Rose Finished

Irish Crochet Dress: Elements Completed

Irish Crochet Dress: Design

Irish Crochet Dress: Lace

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Picture Emerging Irish crochet dress
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Irish Crochet Dress: Lace

Irish lace dress

If you’ve never crocheted in Irish lace technique before, you’ll discover that it’s a different process from the usual crochet or knitting projects.

As I described before, at first you have to crochet all separate decorative elements of the dress you are making.

After that, you have to cut separate parts of a dress from a piece of fabric or, in my case, use an old, well-fitting dress, and model your Irish lace design on that. I described the whole process HERE.

It’s only when you are happy with the layout of the design, you will start crocheting the lace and bring everything together.

The process of crocheting Irish lace is similar to that which I told you about in post ‘Main Rose’.

You have to work on a flat surface looking at the ‘wrong’ side of the dress.

Irish lace starting on neckline

Securely attach all separate elements to the surface so as not to displace them while crocheting.

Crocheting Irish lace - progress picture
You can see here I stitched separate elements to the dress in order to keep them in the right places.

All of this makes the process of crocheting Irish lace really slow and tedious, as I realize now, although I honestly thought I will breeze through it…

When my mom saw me crouching over that dress laid out on a coffee table, she offered me money so as I would simply buy something like that instead of ‘killing myself making it’… 😀

Since this was my very first Irish lace crochet project, I found it difficult to imagine how the dress will come together.

This wine tumbler makes a perfect gift for a crocheter on any occasion.
Check out this fun crochet wine tumbler 🙂

So every time I finished an important part of the lace dress, I simply unpinned it from the surface and turned it around so as to see…

…WHAT’S GOING ON!

I started with the front neckline, as I had a clearer idea of how it should look.

And after a few hours (or maybe days) of working on it…

Tah-dah!

Irish lace neckline

I am happy with the result!

Somehow those little flowers and leaves look really harmonious.

So back to the worktop, pin the neckline back on (wrong side up) and continue working…

…very sloooooowwwwwwllllyyyy…

Here are a few more Irish lace fragments.

The process of crocheting Irish lace and all separate elements into one dress is painfully slow and inconvenient…

A fun gift mug for a crocheter. Click the image and check it out on Etsy!

…although now when I see a picture emerging, I am getting more and more excited and somewhat impatient 😀

Create beauty one stitch at a time!

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