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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: 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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Irish Crochet Project: Main Rose

Irish crochet lace rose flower work in progress

Today I was hoping to post a picture of finished Irish crochet lace rose, which will be the principal element of the dress I’m crocheting.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), life got in the way and I am only halfway through…

Irish Crochet Lace Project: Main Rose

So I thought I’d show you where I am at and how the rose is coming together.

Here’s how the process looks like.

As you might remember from my previous post about this Irish Crochet Lace project (a dress), I bought the instructions for this dress from a master crocheter.

This means I don’t have to create the design of each dress element from scratch.

Unlike with other elements of this dress, the main Irish Crochet rose came with a color map in the instructions which I had to print off and simply use as a guide.

It was really helpful to have the color map on the Irish Crochet rose image itself, since this reduced the time spent planning the work.

The yarn for this project came from an online crafts shop Casa Cenina Threads and Yarn Section. I found Casa Cenina one of the few places where I could get the right colors and yarn thickness.

Before starting, I also had to find a sort of flat cushion ( I ended up using one of those chair cushions) and a lot of pins to secure the work in order to follow the picture map.

The whole experience is slightly uncomfortable since you have to crochet on a flat surface, keeping your hands very close to the work.

I found that the best place to work on this Irish Crochet rose is at my standing desk since the work is close enough for me to see what I am doing without having to strain and bend my neck too much.

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

It’s a slow process since there are lots little steps involved:

starting from the centre of the flower, I have to mark each petal section with a string, secure it with pins, then fill in the space.

When working on this Irish Crochet rose you are looking at the ‘bad’ side of the picture, which means you don’t know how the flower is coming together until you’ve finished a little section, unpinned the work and turned it around.

Irish Crochet Lace Project: Main Rose

Since this is an element I am only going to do once, every time I finish a couple of petals, I unpin the work from the cushion and turn it around to see how it looks.

I think if I make a mistake, at least I’ll have to redo just one section, and not have to start over from scratch 🙂

Irish Crochet Lace Project: Main Rose

When I started working on the centre of this Irish Crochet rose, I was almost sure I’ll have to redo it, since I made a couple of mistakes.

However, with this being a sort of freeform crochet, I managed to hide those little imperfections and could continue the work without going back to the beginning, yay!

Irish Crochet Lace Project: Main Rose
Irish Crochet Lace Project: Main Rose

Here’s the stage I am leaving this Irish crochet lace rose today, since I won’t be able to touch it for the next two weeks…

and I already feel sad about that…

…I must be addicted or something 🙂

Create beauty one stitch at a time!

Want to learn Irish Crochet Technique? Start with a small project like this stunningly beautiful Choker Collar.

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Irish Crochet Lace Project: Main Rose
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5 Irish Crochet Lessons for First-Timers

5 lessons for first time irish crochet lace project

I’ve been working on a dress using Irish crochet technique for a while now. Although I haven’t finished it yet, I certainly have learned some important Irish crochet lessons.

I’d like to pass on these lessons to crocheters who are thinking of starting a larger project using Irish crochet technique for the first time.

Irish crochet lessons

Irish crochet, for me, is really the most beautiful crochet technique there is. Clothes and accessories fulfilled in this technique can look truly spectacular.

5 Irish Crochet Lessons for First-Timers

  1. EXCELLENT QUALITY CROCHET YARN IS EVERYTHING.

I bought the design/instructions of this dress in Irish crochet style HERE and, of course, the first thing I needed to do was to buy the yarn.

This particular Irish crochet dress is a colorful one so I needed to make sure I got the right colors and shades. I bought most of required yarn from Casa Cenina HERE.

Irish crochet lessons

The yarn I had to buy according to the author’s recommendations turned out to be quite expensive…

…I don’t even dare to quote how much it ended up costing me…

…but now I see that the cost will be justified.

Why?

The bottom line is that no matter how brilliant your technique is if your yarn is some cheap synthetic product, your final item will not look as beautiful as it would when made from higher quality material.

I hope to wear my dress to some special occasions, therefore, I had to get the highest quality yarn possible.

I think this also applies to other knitting, sewing or crochet projects – if your primary material is excellent quality, the finished product will look good too.

2. PRACTICE WITH CHEAPER YARN AND SIMPLER IRISH CROCHET ELEMENTS FIRST.

If you’ve never tried Irish crochet before, it’s best to get some cheaper yarn and learn to crochet those separate elements (roses, leaves, cords, etc.) before you start working on your main project.

Here’s a great video where you can learn to crochet some basic Irish Crochet lace elements.

You could, for example, crochet a smaller item such as a cushion cover, or a small dress for a little girl.

This will give you an opportunity to develop the skills in creating small fiddly items, as well as the understanding of how the process works.

3. START WITH LESS PROMINENT BACKGROUND ELEMENTS FIRST.

When I started this dress in Irish crochet technique, I made the mistake of starting with the most colorful elements first.

I reckoned there were fewer of them so I will see the result faster.

This, unfortunately, turned out to be a bit of a disaster…

I had to stop and start again, this time creating simpler background elements first.

Background leaves
Simple cords.
Background roses.

This is a good idea because, if your background leaves and flowers don’t turn out to be as perfect as you pictured them, they will still work well on a finished dress simply because they are not the elements your attention will be drawn to.

4. TAKE CARE OF YOUR EYES.

Irish crochet technique is often fulfilled using fine yarn and small size crochet hook, which means your eyes will get tired quite quickly since you’ll be constantly looking at minute details.

So make sure you take breaks when working on your project and if at all possible, work in daylight.
If not, switch on all the lights in the room to avoid extra strain on your eyes.

Your fingers will also get tired, especially at first, when you are still learning. So take breaks, do some exercises for your fingers…

…no need to become crippled by the time you finish your spectacular project!

5. BE PATIENT, IT’S NOT A SPRINT, IT’S A MARATHON.

If you are one of those lucky people, who can afford to do nothing else but crochet all day, then you might finish the project quickly enough.

It seems it takes a few months to complete a dress in Irish Crochet technique for a professional.

… but if you are like me and apart from your crochet you have a life with family, work and other commitments, then chances are, you will be lucky if you can devote 2 hours a day to your Irish Crochet project.

For the purposes of entertainment, I timed myself when making different elements for this dress.

For example, it takes me 50 minutes to crochet a background rose for this project (the green ones above). I had to crochet 70 of them.

Irish crochet lessons

Another example, the large rose above from start to finish takes me 3 hours. I needed 6 of those…

…you can do the maths yourself…

…the time adds up.

Therefore simple advice is: don’t be over-ambitious.

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

The last thing you want to do is buy some expensive yarn, start the project and abandon it half-way through just because that party you were going to wear your new dress to is over a long-time ago but you are still sitting here with a hook in your hand…

TIP. I keep my project close to me as much as possible, so as I could crochet a line or two every time I have a free minute. I even take it on picnics for those downtimes when everyone is happily asleep on the grass after a hearty meal and I can get on with my crochet. It’s my way of making sure I keep going forward with this project.

It’s a somewhat messy process in my life 🙂

I hope these simple lessons above will help those who want to take up a larger Irish crochet project.

The most important thing is to keep your eyes on the finish line – you will reach it if you keep going!

Create beauty one stitch at a time!

Next post in this series. Irish Crochet Project: Main Rose

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