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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: 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: 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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