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Irish Crochet Dress: the Annoying Bit

Annoying bit finishing Irish Crochet dress

Hello my crochet friend!

So my Irish crochet dress is finished…

well…

kind of…

I’m at that stage where I’ve completed the crochet part – sleeves and all…

…but I can’t really call the dress finished, hence the title – ‘the annoying bit’.

So yes, I’ve completed the sides and the sleeves, tried the dress on only to realise that when I finished the dress, it wasn’t really finished.

There was another mountain to climb!

The lace at the bottom of the dress and sleeves had to be evened out and completed with a simple single crochet line and a little picot here and there.

Irish Crochet Dress the Annoying Bit

That finishing single crochet line was, thankfully, very easy and quick.

But the ‘evening out of the lace’ bit was quite tricky.

While the bottom of the dress doesn’t have to be as even as in sewing, it still has to look somewhat even, which I’m still not sure about.

It’s just that on a flat table the bottom looks even, but when you wear the dress because of different elements on different sides, there seems to be an illusion of one side being slightly shorter…

I’m still thinking whether or not I should do something about it.

Another very time-consuming bit is the weaving in and hiding of yarn ends – there are hundreds of them!

And although I’ve been working on them for the last number of days now, I’m still nowhere near to being finished…aargh…

The dress has many overlapping elements like this rose and leaf.

As I was crocheting the lace, I didn’t realise I had to crochet some lace to join the overlapping sides of the elements to avoid holes like this:

The Annoying bit of Irish crochet dress

I actually thought I had finished fixing the overlapping elements, but as I was taking photos for this post, I discovered a few more that have to be corrected…

When the sleeves were finished and I tried on the dress, I realised that the neckline will have to be adjusted.

All of a sudden, because of the weight of the sleeves, the neckline became too wide which meant I had to add another layer of leaves-flowers-branches on the shoulders and the back in order to adjust the way the dress sits.

The last elements I’ll be working on when all the above are finished is the little Swarowski beads.

I’ll sew them on in the centre of each bigger rose and some leaves around the neck. The beads will add some sparkle, especially when I wear the dress in the evening with artificial lighting.

So this is where I am at. I consider all of the above such an annoying bit of the whole process!

My original plan was to have the dress finished-completed-done-and-dusted a week after I completed the sleeves…

…but here I am, a month later, I’m still working on the annoying bit 😀

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

10. Irish Crochet Dress: Working On Sleeves

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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: Design

Irish Crochet Dress Design Considerations and advice

Unlike other crochet projects, Irish crochet dress design is a fluid process even if you’ve got a handbook with instructions at hand.

There are no hard and fast rules, just general guiding principles.

I am now at the stage where I have finished crocheting all separate elements for the dress – flowers, leaves, stems, etc., you can see all of them HERE .

Now I have to lay the design of the dress out and start crocheting the lace.

How does Irish crochet dress design process work?

Normally, according to all the Irish crochet experts, I am supposed to cut separate parts of the dress from a fabric in order to create a sort of platform for modeling the crochet dress, so as the finished product would suit the wearer perfectly.

I decided I wasn’t going to bother with that and used an old, well-fitting dress for modeling.

Irish Crochet Dress Design

So first of all, I have to lay out the ‘picture’ using the brightest elements (roses, branches, leaves, scrolls).

The challenge here is to place these elements in such a way so as to avoid an undesirable optical effect. For example, if the bright roses are placed too much on the sides, they will visually expand my waist. So I have placed them slightly towards the middle.

This wine tumbler makes a perfect gift for a crocheter on any occasion.
A fun gift for a crocheter 🙂

Frankly, I thought this will be the easiest and the most fun part of the whole project, especially considering the fact that I have bought the instructions and know, how the finished dress design is supposed to look like.

… but…

… when I started laying out the picture, I realized it’s not as easy as it seems…

Irish Crochet Dress Design

For example, when it turns out my elements are larger than those of the master crocheter in the handbook. It’s because I used a slightly larger hook (0.6mm and 0.75mm) instead of 0.5mm and 0.6mm.

What does it mean for me?

It simply means I need fewer of the elements for the main picture, which in turn means I have to rethink the design at least in part.

Size and Type of the Dress

Another thing I had to consider is the size and type of the dress.

The dress in the handbook was a mini sleeveless dress made for a very slim young lady.

As I am a much curvier woman than the girl in the handbook, I had to make even more adjustments:

  1. rearrange the design for a knee-length dress;
  2. incorporate 3/4 sleeves.

What does this mean in terms of dress design?

Again, I have to make even more adjustments:

  1. If I don’t want the picture to make me look larger, I have to distribute the main dress elements vertically, using full length of the dress and avoiding horizontal distribution as much as possible.
  2. I decided I will use only background elements for the sleeves, in order to avoid the widening effect.
  3. I may have to crochet additional elements for the sleeves.
  4. I am hoping I have enough yarn left…

Someone suggested I should go for a full-length, long sleeve dress. I think a dress like this would be absolutely amazing but, unfortunately, would present me with very few opportunities to wear it.

Plus, I haven’t got enough yarn and the price I’ve paid for what I already have is eye-watering…

So, this time, friends, it will be a knee-length dress 🙂

Funny crochet gift mug for  crocheter on any occasion.
Check out this funny crochet mug 🙂

After I lay out the most conspicuous elements to create the ‘picture’, I fill in the rest of the space with less noticeable background flowers, leaves and cords. All the while remembering to distribute elements vertically.

Then when I am satisfied with the picture, I have to turn all the elements around and pin them on the modeling dress. This way they won’t dislodge during the lacing process.

After a week of walking around the dress, I am somewhat satisfied with the design and will start crocheting lace.

Strangely, I find myself feeling somewhat anxious…

Create beauty one stitch at a time!

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Irish Crochet Dress: Elements Completed

Irish Crochet Lace Dress Elements

I have just reached a very exciting stage in my Irish crochet dress project: I have all Irish crochet elements completed for the dress.

The next stage will be laying them out into a dress shape and crocheting a lace in order to create the dress.

But at this point, I’d like to do a quick recap of all Irish crochet elements completed for this dress.

As you may remember from my previous posts, Irish Crochet technique requires each decor element to be crocheted separately and then assembled together by crocheting lace in between the elements.

This wine tumbler makes a perfect gift for a crocheter on any occasion.
A fun gift for a crocheter 🙂

So here are the elements I had to crochet for this dress:

14 rosebuds on stems.

I started crocheting the dress from these rosebuds, which was a mistake as, at that first stage, I wasn’t very skilled in Irish crochet technique.

People were telling me my rosebuds looked more like pink snails…

So I stopped and came back to them after crocheting a number of other simpler elements first.

crochet elements completed

70 background roses.

These will be used to fill in spaces between the main picture, so they won’t be immediately noticeable.

crochet elements completed

16 Medium sized roses.

6 Large roses.

I think these are the least successfully fulfilled elements.

Somehow the master’s roses in the instructions I bought are so much more precise. But I didn’t go re-crocheting them since when I laid them out with other elements the overall picture looked fine.

crochet elements completed

1 Main rose.

I showed you the process of making this rose HERE

crochet elements completed - main rose

45 green leaves of various sizes and colour variations.

As you can see above, these did not come out as perfectly as I would have wanted…

…but then I thought that not every leaf in nature is perfectly symmetrical and identical, so again, I didn’t obsess over the imperfections too much and continued with other elements.

30 brighter leaves.

crochet elements completed - bright leaves

100 background leaves.

Similarly to background roses, these will be used as ‘fillers’.

crochet elements completed

30 small ‘buttons’.

These are one of the basic elements of Irish crochet technique. As I was crocheting them, I thought they can easily be used to liven up a piece of clothing or even summer shoes.

crochet elements completed - buttons

8 Small flowers.

27 scrolls.

15 little ‘bushes’.

40 Cords.

29 stems and branches of various lengths.

So here I am at the final (and most likely most complicated) step of my project – assembling the dress and making sure it looks right. 😀

It feels a bit daunting, but I keep reminding myself that every single element I made seemed daunting at first…

Create beauty one stitch at a time!

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Irish Crochet Rose Finished

I am so glad to be writing this little post, as finally, my Irish crochet rose is finished.

This rose will be the main element for the dress I am making in Irish Crochet technique.

Ta-dah!

Irish crochet rose finished

As you may remember from my previous post about this rose it’s a different kind of crochet process.

You have to attach the work to a cushion and crochet very close to the surface, looking at the ‘wrong’ side of the flower, in order to achieve the required shape.

I had to leave my work for about 2 weeks as I was going on holiday and resumed my work at this stage…

…a few tea breaks, two days and two nights later…

… I finally finished the main body of the rose. Hence the title Irish Crochet Rose Finished 🙂

One challenging part was making those holes you can see on the outside petals:

…somehow, no matter what I did, they just didn’t come out the size I wanted them to be.

Although when I turned the work around (as you remember, this flower is crocheted looking at the work from the wrong side), the overall picture looked fine.

So I just left them as they were.

This wine tumbler makes a perfect gift for a crocheter on any occasion.
A fun gift for a crocheter 🙂

One more step was to crochet around each petal of the flower, so as the work would have a defined finish.

And after that, I was going to add sparkly beads all over the rose, but…

…having thought about it, I decided I’ll just sew on a few beads in the centre of the flower at the moment since any kind of sparkle on clothes can visually make you look larger.

And I don’t want that!

The author of this dress seems to have sparkly beads all over the dress.

I, on the other hand, will wait until I finish the dress completely. Only then will I sew on the beads so as to have them in key locations, just enough to tease the eye…

For the moment I’m just so happy I’m one step closer to completing the whole dress…

Create beauty one stitch at a time!

Want to learn Irish crochet technique? Start with a small but absolutely fabulous Choker Collar project! Click HERE

Lace Choker Collar – a Basic Irish Crochet Project

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