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Sunday, April 17, 2011

the best of both worlds: fabric and crochet toddler dress

When I was a child, crochet magazines used to be a staple in my Granny's home.  While I think she mainly made afghans and doilies, I remember that these little tutorial books often featured clothing.  Exceptionally tacky clothing.  At the age of 5, I swore that I would never wear a crocheted cardigan.  Ever.

 My Granny did teach me to crochet a little, and my Grammie followed up with real lessons.  If a solitary stitch was incorrect, I had to pull the whole dag-gone thing out and start again.  It was torture at the hands of an old lady, truly.  But, the lessons taught me to work carefully and take pride in my finished product.

I never finished a project, though, because I worked so slowly.  I would get bored quite easily.  Finally, as a teen, I fashioned a doggie sweater out of granny squares.  Then, as a young mother, I made a monstrous afghan to top my son's bed.  I made it full-sized, so he'd be able to use it forever.  After all, every young man wants to tote around a giant heavy crocheted blankie that his mommy made when he was a baby.

Over the years, I've worked on other projects as well, but always in spurts.  I've made scarves, baby blankets, and various things.  I have, however, never finished a doily or toilet-paper cover.  So, I'm not quite my Granny.  Not yet.

Then, a couple of months ago, I was perusing Prudent Baby, one of my favorite sewing sites, when I came across a tutorial for the Quick Crochet & Fabric Top.  Wonder!  I had stayed away from crocheting actual clothing because of the stigma it was assigned as a young child.  Besides, if I couldn't finish a project, or properly read a pattern more complicated than a flower, then how would I make an article of clothing that could actually be worn?

Anyway, I fell in love with the little shirt that was displayed that day.  I started a search for the perfect fabric, and then the perfect yarn.  Deciding to make  a dress instead of a shirt, I cut my pieces a little longer.  Wanting my daughter to be able to wear it more than one season, I also cut my pieces a little wider.  Then, I sat down to crochet.

Here's a hint: Make sure your chain doesn't twist as you're slip-stitching it into a circle.  I had to crochet that darn neckline three times before I had it right.  But, that was mainly because I wasn't working slowly.  I was trying to whip it out, and didn't pay attention to the details.  I added a second row of treble crochet, which made the neckline more substantial and allows it to really lay in a proper circle.  When I sewed it to the dress, I attached it so that the collar would fold down over the top of the dress as well.  I noticed that, otherwise, the collar stands out from the neck in a rather strange manner.  Altering the pattern in this way requires a binding of some sort around the neckline so you don't have unfinished stringies showing, but I used a piece of scrap ribbon on the inside and it turned out fine.

I also whipped up a little flower hair clippie to match.  To be honest, this is the first thing that I've made Katie that she has willingly put on when I was finished.  Most of the time, she runs and screams when I come after her with a new garment.  I don't know why, but she just prefers to shop.  Maybe she has the same prejudice against handmade that I had as a child.  Maybe I'm tormenting her with pictures of projects that I'd like to accomplish.  Or, maybe she just doesn't like to model.


  1. New follower from the Relax and Surf Hop! Hope you can stop by and return the follow :)


  2. I can't believe you made that, or that you can "whip up" a hairclip. I have to get all my good from talented people like you! So impressive! Thanks for coming by my blog :)

  3. I'm a fan of anything crocheted. I used to crochet before my kids came in our lives. It's so beautiful (and the girl is so cute). Thanks for sharing this at the Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop :)


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