There is something called “Bebe Irish Crochet” in antique patterns and these usually consist of an Irish rose center with the double picot filling all around it. As square motif or medallion is made and can be joined together to make the lace fabric.
I have collected some examples of this “bebe Irish crochet” pattern and have decided to use them to make crochet garments. I am making the motif in size 8 cotton thread and 1.24mm hook, and came up with a shrug. Why not give it a try?
Here are various examples of the motif in antique and modern publications.
Here’s another antique pattern, a very interesting construction for a crocheted garment – The Boudoir Jacket.
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 http://www.antiquepatternlibrary.org/html/warm/vhooks.htm 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.
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.
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.
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.
Some 8 years ago I made this bag, my very first Irish crochet project. This is from a pattern published in 1917. I would like to make this bag again. I make a copy of the pattern here for you below. Let’s try making this bag. I will use crochet cotton thread size 8 in beige colour, and hook size 1.24mm. There are some minor errors in the pattern which I will try and point out in the step-by-step photos below.
MAKING THE BAG
My crochet friend Natalia gives the following helpful suggestions in making the lining for the bag: The lining is quite simple: make it the same size as the outer bag. Do not fall in the temptation of making it smaller. Just two squares put together, sew together three sides, finish the fourth separately. Put inside the bag and secure. Tips:
do the finishing on the mouth side first and it’ll look neater when you’re done. Since the bag is lace and it shows through, you want the public side of the lining on the outside, or better a fabric that’s reversible.
Secure the lining along the lips of the bag; it takes tension out of the fabric. Also, attaching the lining at drawstring level ensures it will close and open along with the outer bag, which is more user friendly than having it stand alone.
To make seams that look the neatest even if they’re visible, do French seams: sew pieces together face out, trim seams, turn inside out, seam again close to the first line of stitches. Turn again and place in bag.
EDITED INSTRUCTIONS FOR PRINCESS LOUISE CROCHETED BAG
Princess Louise Crocheted Bag No. 275
Ch 10, sl st in first ch to make a ring.
Rnd 1: Ch 3 (count as dc), 23 dc in ring, sl st in first dc to join (24 dc made).
Rnd 2: Ch 6 (count as dc, 3-ch), sk second dc, dc in next dc, *ch 3, sk next dc, dc in next dc, rep fr * all around, ending with ch 3, sl st in first dc to join (12 3-ch sps made).
Rnd 3: Make 12 spokes as follows: *Ch 15, dc in fourth ch fr hook, dc in each remaining 11 dc, sl st in next dc of round 2; rep fr * all around. Now working behind the spokes, sl st in next 3-ch sp, **ch 15, dc in fourth ch fr hook, dc in each remaining 11 dc, sc in next 3-ch sp; rep fr ** all around (24 spokes made). Fasten off.
Rnd 4: Join thread to tip of spoke with sc, *ch 5, sc in tip of next spoke, rep fr * on all 24 spokes. End with ch 5, join with sl st to first sc.
Rnd 5: Sl st in 3-ch sp, ch 3 (count as dc), 2 dc in same sp, *ch 3, 3 dc in next sp; rep fr * three more times to make 3-dc in each of five sps; in next sp work (ch 3, 3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc) to form a corner; **ch 3, 3 dc in next sp; rep fr ** four more times, in next sp work (ch 3, 3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc) to form a corner; rep all around to make three corners ending with ch 3, 3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc in the last 3-ch sp to form the last corner; ch 3, sl st in first dc to join.
Rnd 6: Sl st back into the sp just after a the corner, ch 1, sc in same sp, then *ch 7, sc in in sixth ch fr hook to make a picot, ch 8, sc in fifth ch fr hook to make second picot, ch 2, this forms one set of picots; 1 sc in next 3-ch sp and rep fr * all around, widening by putting an extra set of picots in each corner. Sl st in first sc made to join.
Rnd 7: Sl st up to sp between two picots, ch 1, sc in same sp; proceed all around as in round 6. Fasten off.
Rnd 8: Fasten thread in sp at corner picot, ch 6 (count as dc, 3-ch), 1 dc in same sp, *ch 4, work (1 dc, ch 3, 1 dc) in the center sp of next picot and rep fr * all around, not widening at the corners.
Rnd 9: Sl st to sp between dc, ch 3 (count as dc), 2 dc in same sp, *ch 1, 3 dc in next sp; rep fr * all around, widening at the corners as in the fifth round. Ch, sl st in first dc to join. Fasten off. This completes one side of the bag. Make second side in the same manner.
JOINING Join the two sides of the bag by putting 1 sc through first sp of both sides, *ch 5, sc in second ch to form picot, ch 1, sc through next sp and rep fr * all around, putting an extra picot in each corner. Fasten off.
BORDER Sc in sp, *ch 4, sc in next sp, rep fr * all around. Then make a round of beading as follows: *Two treble crochet stitches in sp, ch, rep fr * all around. Fourth Round – One sc in sp, *ch 5, 1 sc in next sp and repeat fr * all around. Final Round – Same as the joining round.
DISCS Chain 4 and join in a ring. 8 sc in ring. Do not join Second Round – Two sc in each stitch taken through the double thread. Third Round – *Ch 3, 1 sc in each of the next 2 stitches and repeat from *. On four discs, ch 10. On two more discs, ch 13 and fasten off.
SLIP BALLS Chain 6 and join in a ring. 12 sc in ring. Second Round – Two sc in each stitch. Make 6 more rounds of 24 sc followed by 2 rounds skipping every third stitch. Fasten off but leave long end of thread. Slip ball on cord and after running the end of cord through the beading and fastening it firmly, fasten 3 discs on the joining, then slip ball over the joining, fill with cotton and draw up with the thread left. Run the second cord through the other beading and proceed as before, working from the other side of the bag to make the cords draw properly. Line the bag with pretty pink, blue or any other colour silk or pongee.
“Delancholancholing Stat” is a blouse made up of crocheted motifs. There are two flower motifs and one leaf motif used here. The motifs are found in Zhurnal MOD 524. The motifs are placed over a blouse as guide. Then the motifs are sewn together at the back using polyester cotton thread.
After sewing, the holes between the motifs are then covered by small round motifs. This is crocheted onto the holes. A second way of sealing the holes is by crocheting at the back, working across the motifs and over the holes.
I used multi-colour crochet cotton thread size 8 and 1.24mm and 2.0mm hook for this project. I made this project partly to use of a small stash of multi-colour thread. Photos and notes on the project are below.
I used 4-ply cotton yarn and 3mm crochet hook, this is a shorter, tighter version of “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.
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.
You’d be surprised how easy it is to make a pair of crocheted knickers. Get ready with your favourite close-weave crochet pattern and your favourite lace trim pattern.
This is made with Lotus Yarns Tibetan Yak fingering weight yarn in natural white colour and 2.25mm hook. It is very simple – just two rectangles crocheted separately, joined at the sides, then the crotch added. Afterwards, the legs are crocheted in the round. Waistband is crocheted all around last.
Here are progress pics:
Start with two rectangles each the size of half your hips plus an inch or so. OR, if you’re lazy, just start with a crocheted cylinder that fits around your hips.
Join the rectangles at the sides. Use stitchmarkers to mark the crotch.
Make the crotch. Usually minimum standard is 5cm wide and 16cm long.
Join the crotch from front to back. Then start crocheting the leg in the round.
Make lacey edging around the leg.
Here the legs are finished, the next is the waistband.
The waistband has gaps for ribbon. Extra rows are made so that it is folded towards the wrong side and sewn behind the gaps/ribbon.
Here is a dress I made without use of a crochet pattern. I found this construction method very useful because I do not have a tailor’s dummy or dress form. The method I used for Maja and Corinthia is to begin with motifs. In Corinthia the motifs lie over the waist. In Maja the motifs lie over the bust. The motifs begin the shape of the dress.
Once these motifs are made to the measurement you need, then it is easy to work upward (for the bodice, neckline and armholes) and downward (for the skirt) to construct the full dress. The three motifs make up the front of the dress bodice. There is no complicated shaping used in this dress. Crocheting the trim all around the neckline and all around the armholes is sufficient to make the shape. The trick is to use a basic stitch pattern that is flexible, for example, the trellis stitch, the trellis with picot stitch or the simple mesh.
Maja is made up of two sections – Front and Back – and Front starts with three motifs. The three motifs in Maja lie directly over the bust and its width includes the armholes. The upper chest/neckline is added next, working upwards with left and right shoulders worked separately. After the front and back bodice are joined together, the skirt section is worked downwards, in the round.. The back is worked similarly without the motifs. There is no shaping other than the use of smaller hook at the waist.
Maja is then decorated with Irish crochet motifs.
Maja is worked in Maharaja dyed silk from Silk Indian and 2.5mm hook.
Here, below, is the silk yarn. I wind the yarn into balls using a home-made yarn-winder.
Here are photos showing the basic dress in progress – starting with the 3 motifs that go at the front bodice of the dress. From there the top and lower section of the dress are crocheted.
Here are photos showing the Irish crochet motifs. I used worsted weight yarn of pink colour to match the silk as padding cord.
And here are the motifs being sewn onto the dress. And the finished dress below.
I made this skirt using motifs from The Crazy Motif Bolero. If you don’t have that pattern, you can experiment using motif patterns that are freely available on-line or motif patterns that you already have. Check out your crochet books and magazines for patterns for doilies and coasters. Check out the stitch/pattern dictionaries. There’s plenty available. You can also see the motif blouse, Sundance, made in a similar way.
I used 4-ply cotton yarn in light blue and yellow colours. The motifs join-as-you-go. The skirt has a mesh waistband which I made wide enough to be secure. I added the waistband in the round after the skirt is seamed.
The next step is to add length to the skirt using natural colour cotton threads. I have lots of these undyed threads of size 5, just a bit thinner than the 4-ply cotton yarn. My plan was to create a lighter undyed colour lace at the hem of the skirt.
This is what I do when I make a dress without a pattern. I hope that this inspires you to do the same. And more.
Corinthia is an exercise in making a crocheted dress without the use of patterns and with only very minimal shaping. A basic dress is finished first then it is embellished with Irish crochet motifs.
Corinthia is worked in the round. Work starts at the waist: a strip of motifs joined together. Then the upper section is made up to the armpits, crocheting in rows with decrease at the front to shape the overlapping V-neckline. The V-neckline then commences separately towards the left and right Front shoulder. The low back and shoulder for the Back is added on separately. The skirt section is worked down from the waist, in rounds. There is no shaping as the motifs already narrow at the waist, gathers a bit then flares very slightly as work is done downwards.
The upper part of the dress is worked in a trellis with picots stitch pattern. This is easy to shape. The lower part of the dress is worked in alternating rounds of sc, dc-ch-dc, dc, etc. – just to create an interesting mesh design.
MAKING THE BASIC DRESS
After the basic dress is finished, Irish crochet motifs are made and sewn onto the dress.
MAKING THE IRISH CROCHET MOTIFS
The hook I used for this project is 2.25mm and the yarn is 3-ply silk-acrylic and thicker 8-ply cotton yarn for the padding cord.
Crochet dresses tend to stretch due to gravity. They stretch more with every washing and most specially when hang to dry. Stretch is prevented by drying flat and flat storage.
However, I tend to prefer hang dry because this allows the crochet fabric to dry faster. During the cooler and wet seasons, crochet fabric take longer to dry and have that unpleasant smell if they do not dry properly.
If you use a blocked gauge swatch, you can crochet the garment to a size approximating that of the washed finished garment taking into account stretch through washing and gravity. However, a blocked gauge can’t really account for gravity during wear.
So what I do is trial and error especially when using a yarn I am not familiar with. When I finish a basic garment (without the motifs), I try to make them shorter than the desired finished length. If the garment stretches after washing (and hanging to dry), I adjust the shoulder length. This is why I often leave tail ends undone until I am perfectly certain that the garment will no longer stretch.
Sewing a lining to the dress is another solution. The lining, especially when sewn at the seams, will keep the crochet fabric from stretching. I have not tried this before, though, so I have no experience to speak of of this solution.
Finishing stitches are also a solution. The finishing done along the neckline, armholes, and shoulders as well as the waist in some cases, provide the “back bone” for the dress. A good strong finishing/trim of solid tight stitches will have the least tendency to stretch.
Or – of course – you can use yarn that has the least tendency to stretch and change its shape due to gravity, washing or other. Cotton is one example I can think of. It has only a mild tendency to stretch.
One solution I have tried is to crochet the yarn together with polyester thread of matching colour, as polyester thread will not stretch.
“Sundance” is a Crochetology challenge – get various round motifs together to make a blouse. I thought of doing this because I wanted to use a Japanese crochet book of coasters, Christmas tree decorations and motifs to make a garment. This was also the chance to get more used to crocheting a garment without a full pattern, using motifs joined together, a basic method used in Irish crochet and in the new crochet fashion coming from Russia and the Ukraine.
For this project, I used 4-ply cotton yarn and a 2.5mm hook. This is great if you’re new to Irish crochet or joining motifs to make a garment since Irish crochet and the Russian/Ukrainian patterns often ask for fine thread and hook. It is best to practise with the yarn and hook that you are comfortable with before moving onto finer work.
There are various methods in joining motifs or filling in spaces between motifs to create the fabric and shape you need. General methods include starting in the narrow spaces and moving out from there. Often in this method, the motifs are already arranged onto a surface following the desired shape. Such a surface may be a piece of fabric cut out in the shape desired, such as a blouse. Or one may use an existing garment and baste the motifs on that.
The method I use here is more spontaneous. I don’t use a fabric or garment as base. I make all the motifs I like and make a layout that create the shape, then I crochet around a motif and join that to the next one. Some important things:
1. I don’t worry about the edges, they can be as crooked and uneven as they are. I focus on joining the motifs.
2. I don’t worry about large gaps between motifs. The motifs don’t need to fit each other like perfecting a jigsaw puzzle. The gaps are part of the design and can be filled in later if desired.
3. I choose motifs on the basis of their shape (circle, octagon, hexagon), the less spaces around the motif to fill in the better. I choose also on the basis of their size, I prefer large motifs at least 3 inches in diameter as minimum. I avoid motifs that are too heavy or solid.
4. I used 3-ply cotton yarn in natural colour when I ran out of 4-ply yarn, keeping the yarn in the area at the bottom of the blouse, then deciding to use the same yarn to make curved lines all across the blouse in surface crochet. This allows the new yarn to be more integrated with the whole design.
5. Join and fill-in stitches are mostly chain stitches joined with sl st or sc, and sometimes dc or tr for areas where chain stitches are insufficient. Working around the motifs seem to be the easiest way to join them, rather than working at one side of the motif to join to the next.
6. If you’re used to reading and following patterns in crochet, this can be a daunting exercise but you can do it. You can take that hook and yarn anywhere.