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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…


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…


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 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.


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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Irish crochet rose finished Pin
Irish crochet rose finished Pin

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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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