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.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

How To Use A Stitch Pattern to Make Crocheted Dresses



Some of you might have encountered crochet patterns for dresses that include only the stitch pattern and a photo of the dress. If you are lucky, there is a dress schematic with measurements. You might also be given some basic information such as the yarn to use and the hook. Examples of such patterns are below.






Experienced crocheters have no problem with these patterns. They can tell more or less, using their hook and yarn of choice, how many stitches they need to begin the dress of the size they desire. They can also make the shaping (increase and decrease) without prior planning – they just ‘wing it’, or make the shaping as they go.

I used to make crocheted garments in this manner, spontaneously and without planning,  modifying stitch patterns, mix and match, improvisation.

However, if you want to write a pattern, or if you want to make the same design for different sizes, you will need a bit more planning. I would like to try a simple example.

A number of things are needed when I work with a stitch pattern. First, I need the stitch pattern and learn a number of things about it, like how may multiples do I need for a foundation chain/stitch? The multiples may change if you are using the stitch pattern in rows or in rounds.




Next, I need to know how many stitches and rows make up 4″ square of the stitch pattern. Or at least, I need to know the measurements (width and height) of the stitch pattern worked over a given number of stitches and rows. This means making a gauge swatch using the yarn and hook I intend to use to make the dress.



Next, if my dress design requires shaping, I will need to know how the stitch pattern may be modified in order to make the shape – this usually means increase and decrease of stitches. I also need to know if it will be a very steep, sudden increase/decrease or will it be gradual? How many inches change in measurement do I need to make over how many rows? Do I make the shaping in rounds or in rows?


The stitch pattern modified to create shaping. Shaping required is based on shape of garment, so a schematic of the garment with sizes must be made.


Of course, we need to know the shape of the dress we are making. This is where you will need a schematic indicating the measurements of the finished dress and for what size the dress is being made. You can use your own measurements and plot that in your dress schematic, or you can use standard sizes if you are making dresses in other sizes and not just your own.

The finished garment based on the given stitch pattern.


MAKING A MINI DRESS

I want to make a mini dress. Here is my stitch pattern, gauge swatch and schematics.

Here is the stitch pattern I want to use for the dress, I have modified it to make the shaping.

Here is the stitch pattern I want to use for the dress, I have modified it to make the shaping for the armholes and the V-neckline which will be worked in rows. The skirt and body of the mini dress will be worked in rounds and shaping is made by skipping (to decrease) or adding (to increase) stitches along the round of dc stitches.

Gauge swatch and schematic of desired measurements for a mini-dress.


Gauge swatch and schematic of finished measurements for a mini-dress. The schematic also shows the number of stitches and rows needed for the measurements. This is calculated on the basis of the gauge swatch. Remember, this is finished measurement of a mini dress and the actual body measurements are smaller. I want positive ease for this mini dress, I don’t want a fitted dress.

Hook, yarn and stitch specifics are important when making a gauge swatch.

Hook, yarn and stitch specifics are important when making a gauge swatch. Here is the hook I use, 3.5mm. The yarn is 4-ply cotton.

Mini-dress: Work in progress. The dress is worked in the round from the bottom up.

Mini-dress: Work in progress. The dress is worked in the round from the bottom up. I want 40″ around the hem of the dress, so I start with ch 201 (stitch pattern must be in multiples of 3 sts). I also allow for a bit of extra space because I don’t want a fitted or tight-fitting dress.

I always measure while working, and because the weight of the yarn will pull the dress downwards, I measure while holding up the dress. Here, subtle shaping towards the waist is made.


I always measure while working, and because the weight of the yarn will pull the dress downwards, I measure while holding up the dress. Here, subtle shaping towards the waist is made. Then I split to begin the plunging neckline, now working in rows instead of rounds.



This is a more detailed schematic that I made showing measurements and the number of rounds/rows worked. This fits bust sizes 28"-34".

And this is a more detailed schematic that I made showing measurements and the number of rounds/rows worked. This fits bust sizes 36″-40″.

This is my edited crochet symbol chart showing shaping (decreases) when working in rows, and some notes about shaping when working in rounds. This stitch pattern is very easy to shape.

This is my edited crochet symbol chart showing shaping (decreases) when working in rows, and some notes about shaping when working in rounds. This stitch pattern is very easy to shape.





The plunging neckline is crocheted in rows, until you reach the armpit. From there, you need to work on one side of the front toward the strap, then fasten off. You join the yarn to work the other side towards the other strap then fasten off. Then you join the yarn again at the back and work upwards.



Here a simple edging is made all around the armholes and the neckline. I chose a loose, not tight, edging of two rounds. First round is 2sc along row, ch 1, 2 sc along next row, etc. Second round is ch 3, sc in ch sp, ch 3, sc in next ch sp, etc. Very simple!



The finished mini-dress showing the back. This can also be worn at the front with a low back design. I decided to add this slim crocheted belt to create a gathered empire waist look and draw attention away from my large tummy.



Here is the front of the finished mini-dress, this is intended to be worn with a matching top or perhaps a suitable dress. It's also nice to wear this plunging neckline at the back instead for that low back style.



A closer look at the crocheted belt, woven through one of the dc-cluster rows lying above the waistline.



A closer look at where the dress splits from working in rounds to working in rows to make the plunging neckline.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Boudoir Jacket 1917



Here’s another antique pattern, a very interesting construction for a crocheted garment – The Boudoir Jacket. I put a copy of the original antique pattern below. I also wrote out the pattern with some notes/modifications, you can find it at the end of this post.

The pattern calls for hook size 5. I read somewhere that the antique size is equivalent to a US size F (3.5mm). However, I think that antiue size 5 is similar to current Japanese hook size standards – thus hook 5 is 3mm. This chart may also be useful in converting, see this link where antique size 5 is 4mm.

I have figured that the pattern calls for 4mm hook. The foundation chain (160 chain stitches) goes around the neck over the shoulders down to the front. So the length of this chain determines the length of the jacket on the front. I am using 3mm hook and Light Fingering (UK 3-ply) yarn. This makes a foundation (with 3 rows completed) of about 30 inches, reaching just midriff for me. You can use larger hook and yarn for larger size or you can add chain stitches to the foundation, and add rows.



Here, working through several rows, hoping the jacket gets to the right fit and length! I can imagine that some modification could make this construction fun to work with.

The jacket begins with a long chain and then double crochet stitches along the chain, with an increase in the middle to create this V shape. The jacket is worked in rows, back loop, to create that ribbed texture.

Have worked several rows today, progress is slow! However, I can now see the jacket taking shape. The back should extend downwards as the shoulders widen. Then a separate section is crocheted under the arms, joining front to back sides.



The Boudoir Jacket, work in progress.



Now have gotten this far, the width of the jacket goes over my shoulders now.


At row 28-35 of the pattern:

Count 38 stitches from the back tip of the jacket, then start crocheting from there, in my case, up to 33 dc, leaving 60 sts or so for the armholes.

The pattern asked to make 7 rows for the side. For me 4 rows is enough for the side of the jacket then join to the front with sc sts.

Count 38 stitches from the back tip of the jacket, then start crocheting from there, in my case, up to 33 dc, leaving 60 sts or so for the armholes. The pattern asked to make 7 rows for the side. For me 4 rows is enough for the side of the jacket then join to the front with sc sts.



Working on trim now.

The jacket fits really well, I think it is crucial how many rows you make along the side so you can adjust the fit.

Starting the shell border.


Finished the shell trim today. I will not put a trim around the armholes, I feel such a trim breaks the lovely lines of the crocheted fabric. I hope to wear this tomorrow when we go out for the early morning walk!

The shell border in progress.

The shell border finished! I decided not to crochet a border for the armholes because I feel that the border cuts the lovely lines of the jacket.

At first, I thought the pointed back was not so nice, but now I see how important it is to the design of the jacket. I also didn’t put the shell border around the armholes because it seems to cut the nice flowing lines of the ribbing of the crocheted fabric. Well, I am very pleased with how this pattern turned out. I will make another one with a different type of texture pattern!

Boudoir Jacket No. 476
Size 30 to 36

The jacket is worked from the neck down, completing the back and front sections. The side section is then crocheted along the back edge of each side of the jacket, then joined to the front, creating the armholes. The shell border is crocheted all around the jacket as well as all around the armholes.

Materials: I used Light Fingering weight yarn (UK 3-ply) and 3mm crochet hook. I also used a button for the front of the jacket. I decided not to make the shell border around the armholes because I feel that it cuts the beautiful flow of lines of the jacket.

Instructions:

Row 1: Ch 160, dc in fourth stitch from hook, dc in each of next 75 ch, 2 dc in 76th ch, 2 dc in 77th ch, ch 1, 2 dc in 78th ch, 2 dc in 79th ch, 1 dc in each of the next ch to the end of the row, turn.

Row 2: Ch 3 (count as dc), sk first dc, back loop dc in every stitch to the center, 2 back loop dc in dc before the ch, 2 dc in ch, ch 1, 2 dc in same ch, 2 back loop dc in next dc, back loop dc in each dc to end of row, turn.

Row 3-27: Work as in Row 2. Fasten off.

Row 28-onwards: Counting 38 dc from back tip of jacket, ch 3 (count as dc), work back loop dc in each of next 32 dc (33 dc made), turn. Repeat to make 2 rows (for size 28), 4 rows (for size 30), 6 rows (for size 32) or 8 rows (for size 36). Join with sc to corresponding st to the front of the jacket, forming the armholes. Fasten off.

Shell Border:

Work entirely around the jacket.

Row 1: Join yarn to lower edge of jacket, ch 3 (count as dc), sk 3 sts, *(3 dc, ch 1, 3 dc) in next st, sk 3 sts; rep fr * all around, putting 3 shells in each corner stitch. Join with sl st to first dc.

Row 2: Ch 3 (count as dc), 6 dc in next ch sp, *front post dc in next dc, 6 dc in next ch sp, rep fr * all around, join with sl st to first dc.

Row 3: Ch 1, sc in same dc, ch 3, sc in next dc (picot made), continue making picots in every dc of the shell skipping the dc between the shells. Join with sl st to first sc. Fasten off.

Work the same shell border around the armholes, skipping 2 stitches instead of 3.

Weave in all ends and block to size.