Friday, May 22, 2015

From Doily to Dress

Here's a project I made in 2009. It's a dress based on a doily pattern. I made this dress without much planning, much of it is improvisation. I have been thinking of trying this kind of exercise again.

Crochetology Exercise
Given the Doily pattern:

Doily pattern with classic pineapple stitch

Doily pattern with classic pineapple stitch

Make a lace dress.

This problem is an exercise in appropriating doily patterns. There are thousands of antique, vintage and contemporary resources for doilies that can serve as starting points for new dress designs.

Roadtesting the doily-dress!

The doily pattern is selected for its complex design. Of special interest here is the pineapple stitch and the two smaller crocheted medallions. In my work, I decided to use the pineapple motif and one of the medallions for the bodice of the dress, and then use the pineapple for the lower section of the skirt.

Here is a study/sketch of the dress, which I made only for purposes of illustrating the improvisation. You might wish to begin with a study such as this, otherwise, you can improvise as you go along.

A study of the doily dress.

The back of the dress has some minor variation – where the front uses the shell trellis pattern (as shown above), the back section uses only the arch mesh (a 5-ch mesh). The arch mesh (also known as fishnet chains) is a specially useful stitch for free-form crochet.

The hip section for both the front and back of the dress are then worked in rows of alternating bars (dc) and shells (2 dc, 1 sc, 2 dc). Below is a photo of the back of the dress showing the doily pattern, the arch mesh and the bar and shell.

Detail of the back of the dress.
I used fine polyester thread and 3-ply cotton thread held together for this dress in copper and beige colors respectively. The hook is 1mm steel.

Here are new photos of the dress. You can study the photographs and then try making your own version of a doily dress either using the doily pattern above or a different one.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Simple Crochet Cardigan

This is a very easy and simple crochet cardigan I made for my sister. My sister likes simple designs, nothing too flashy. She also prefers close-weave crochet fabric, not crochet fabric that has lots of large holes. I thought of this very simple design for a cardigan using a simple close-weave lace pattern.

Here (below) is the stitch pattern that I used for the cardigan. It is from a book called "Stitchionary 4" I got from a store in Manila more than 10 years ago. The stitch pattern is worked over a foundation of 6 sts +2.

If you have a stitch dictionary and would like to use it to make finished items and garments, then this project can help you get started. There's another similar project on Using A Stitch Pattern to Make A Mini Dress.

After selecting the stitch pattern, I made a gauge swatch using the hook and yarn I have selected for the cardigan. I also made a simple schematic for the cardigan and from there, determine how many stitches I will need to make the size I want.

These three photos below show the work in progress. I am using a 35" bust dress form. There is no shaping in the design of this cardigan so it is very easy to make, Work begins at the bottom, going up, so the cardigan is seamless. There is a split for the armholes then the right and left front are attached to the back at the shoulders.

The next part is to make the collar of the cardigan. I used the same stitch pattern worked along the rows of the front of the cardigan and around the back of the neck. The collar is 6 rows wide and ends with a simple trim of 3sc-picot. Here (below) is a quick presentation of the stitch pattern (in red) for the collar, also used for the sleeve trim.

Here below are detailed photos of the collar. The last row of sc-picot is worked all around the cardigan including the hem.

I used the same stitch, one row then the sc-picot trim, all along the armholes.

Instead of buttons, I decided to make ties that attach to the front of the cardigan, shown below. The ties are simply one pattern repeat of the basic stitch pattern.

The finished cardigan (below) fits bust size 32"-36" and can be worn over a simple top or even a pretty bra top. The construction of this cardigan is one piece, seamless, and very simple.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Melody Motif

This is such a beautiful vintage motif. For this example, I used crochet cotton thread size 8 and 1mm crochet hook. The motif measures 3" across.

I think this motif is special because it is a strong, sturdy construction, with the sc all around the chain loops, and yet a fine and dainty design because of the picots.

This motif came from a vintage pattern book and was used to make a doily by connecting 37 motifs together, worked join-as-you-go at the last round, making a 6-sided doily.

Because of the sturdiness of this motif, this can also be used to make crocheted jewelry - a pendant, or joined to make a bracelet. If you are patient and can make many motif and weave in many ends, this motif can also be used to make a blouse or dress. The motif can also become part of a freedorm project, joining with other motifs of flowers, leaves and the like. Something to try next!

Motif from The Melody Doily

Starting at center, ch 10. Join.

Rnd 1: Ch 4, holding back on the hook the last loop of each dtr make 3 dtr in ring, thread over and draw through all loops on hook, (ch 6, holding back on hook the last loop of each dtr make 4 dtr in ring, thread over and draw through all loops on hook - a 4 dtr cluster made) 11 times; ch 6, sl st in top st of ch-4.

Rnd 2: *4 sc in next sp, ch 6, 4 sc in next sp. Rep fr * around. Sl st in first sc.

Rnd 3: Ch 6, *5 sc in next ch-6 sp, ch 4 - a picot made - 5 sc in same sp, ch 4, dc between 4-sc groups, ch 4. rep fr * around, ending with ch 4, sl st in 3rd st of ch-6. Break off.