I used 4-ply cotton yarn and 3mm crochet hook, this is a shorter, tighter version of “Trippletimer“, (free pattern Trippletimer) decorated with Irish crochet motifs. I started with a foundation chain (in multiples of 5 chs) that is about the length of half my underbust (you need to make the foundation chain longer if you wish to make a bolero that closes at the front). Adding 15 chains to this foundation chain, I followed the pattern instructions. The bolero is worked from the back-bottom, moving upwards, making the increase towards the front. When I have reached the desired length (from the bottom of the bolero to just below my armpits), I began to divide for the armholes.
I did not leave any loops open for the armholes and I decreased the two front sections near the neck so there is a slight curve at the neckline.
Having divided and worked upwards, the front left and right sides are joined to the back, leaving in the middle several loops as space at the back of the neck. Then the sleeves are crocheted in the round.
Before working the sleeves, you must count the number of loops on each armhole to make sure you have the same number of loops. Then you work in those loops the same trellis-picot pattern. However, you must devise a decrease in the round as you work the length of the sleeves. When you work the decrease for one sleeve, you must take note of the pattern so you can repeat exactly for the other sleeve.
For my bolero sleeve, I worked 3 rounds of 6-ch loops, then 3 rounds of 5-ch loops, then 8 rounds of decreasing 5-ch loops. Now the decrease of these loops in the round is a tricky one but I managed to find a way. What I do is simply, at the end of each alternating round, instead of a ch-5-sc in the last loop, I make a ch 2, dc in last loop, ch 2, and join to the first stitch. This results in a decrease of one loop at the last round. The next round, I work a ch 5, sc in dc, picot, ch 5, sl st in first st to join.
Another way to make the sleeve decrease is perhaps to crochet the sleeve in rows, decreasing at both sides then finish off and sew the seams together.
MAKING THE BOLERO
See Pattern at Trippletimer
Get your favourite lace trim to work along the edges of the bolero. The trim I used is this one, below.
The Irish crochet motifs are all made using the same 4-ply cotton yarn with four strands of yarn as padding cord. The photographs below show how the leaf is made in Irish crochet. The leaf pattern (in symbol chart) may be found in Zhurnal MOD No. 533.
MAKING THE IRISH CROCHET LEAVES
Prepare the padding cord of 4 or more strands of the same yarn as the working yarn.
Join the working yarn to the padding cord with a sl st and a sc.
Make a sc around the padding cord.
Continue making more sc around the padding cord. The Zhurnal MOD leaf pattern calls for 22-24 sc, then turn.
Here the piece has been turned, showing the back side of the sc stitches around the padding cord. We now need to work the second row of stitches of the leaf, this time, dropping or leaving the padding cord behind.
As indicated in the Zhurnal MOD pattern, make 2 sl st, 2 sc, 6 dc, 2 sc and 4 sl st all in the back loops of each sc of the previous row.
Here is the finished row. Back loop stitches make a nice ridge on the leaf. Now you must turn the leaf for the next row.
Work back loop sc in each st as shown here, moving towards the tip of the leaf. When you reach the tip, turn.
Here the piece has been turned and the padding cord is picked up again. The next row of back loop sc is worked along the leaf, covering the padding cord along the edge of the leaf.
The finished leaf is shown here. You must turn the piece and begin the next row and the next leaf.
Here the first row of the next leaf is being made, with the padding cord and back loop sc stitches.
But you don’t work all the edge of the first leaf. You continue by orking sc around the padding cord only, and not joined to the edge of the first leaf, as shown here. The pattern call for about 15 sc on the padding cord alone. Then turn.
Here, the open loop design of the leaf is begun, dropping the padding cord. Make a sc in the first st, then ch 4, sk 3 sts, sc in next st. make at least 3 of these then end with ch 2, sk 3 sts, dc in next st. Then turn.
The next row of the open loop design is made. Make 4-ch and sc in next loop, and so on, ending with ch 4, sc in first sc at the tip of the leaf. Then turn.
Now you will pick up the padding cord again, working around it with 4 sc in each loop of the leaf. The Zhurnal MOD pattern calls for 2 sc, dc, 1 sc to make a slightly uneven edging.
Here is the finished two leaves, one is solid and the other has open design.
To shape the leaf, you need to occasionally pull the padding cord. To flatten the piece, you can put the piece on a flat surface, then press with one hand while gently but firmly pulling the padding cord with the other.
Here is the leaf after pulling the padding cord.
And here is another solid leaf made afterwards. It is up to you to improvise on the original pattern, making 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 leaves on each motif, varying in sizes.
Wash and block the bolero before sewing on the motifs. Apart from the leaves, I made some Irish crochet flowers.
The Irish crochet motifs are arranged on the bolero and then sewn at the back. You can pin the motifs first and then turn the bolero inside out, then sew.