Tulipfield Dresses: Saskia

comments: 93

Saskia2

PATTERN: Mine (a prototype I am working on)
SIZE: 12 months
YARN: Various DK- and sport-weight yarns in cashmere-wool and baby alpaca

As you can imagine, it wasn't hard at all to be inspired by the tulip fields. The rows of color (and soil) stretching out beneath the chilly spring skies seemed perfectly suited to soft, wooly rows of half-double and double crochet, and tulip-shaped skirts. I had three ideas for wee dresses inspired by the tulip fields; this tiny groovy Dutch girl is the first, called Saskia.

Saskia is a cousin of the Morning Glory dress, which I was gushing about last month. I don't think anyone guessed this dress specifically when I flashed what I had done so far of the bodice last week. :-) I loved the simple construction and hippie vibe of that MG dress so much. Saskia's bodice, like MG's, is constructed as a long rectangle (with an opening for the head), folded in half lenthwise. The skirt is worked in rows turned vertical, and shaped somewhat on the principal of short rows in knitting (at least, this is how I thought of them): The first 12 stitches in the row are half-double crochets, the second 36 stitches are double crochets, which stack a bit taller and ultimately give you a wider-at-the-bottom, tulip-shaped skirt. The top edges of the two skirt panels are attached to the bottom edges of the bodice pieces, and then the side seams and underarm seams are quickly stitched up with slip stitches. A few more rows around the bottom to finish things off, and with a cute little button and a few single crochet stitches around the neck and sleeves, done. So! Easy!

Saskia3

It's been a long time since I designed a crocheted piece to fit a specific size, and there is something oddly satisfying about how the process works, I must admit. I don't know exactly how other people do it, but when I have an idea like this, I start with a sketch of the general shape I want to achieve. Then I use a standard measurement chart (I like this one) to determine exactly how wide the neck opening should be, or how deep the armhole, or how wide around the top of the skirt, how long the sleeves, how long the skirt. I plug those measurements in for the size I want to make (usually one of the smaller sizes, since it goes faster, and if you are really on the wrong track you'll find out pretty quickly), and then I multiply each measurement by my gauge (the number of crochet stitches or rows per inch). Then I look at each piece of the dress separately (in other words, I'll draw out what that bodice piece would look like if it were unfolded, for instance), and transpose the general measurements again, and then make some decisions — round neck? Square neck? Tapered sleeves? Full sleeves? Skirt length? Stuff like that. I plug in all of those measurements, get a stitch count again, and then start thinking about how to achieve those shapes by increasing or decreasing stitches and rows to create curves, or openings, or fullness, or whatever.

Then, when I have all of those theoretical numbers, I pull out the hooks and the yarn, and give it a go. Crochet crochet crochet, kiss puppers, crochet crochet, watch another episode of Psych on DVD, crochet crochet, let one of the pets either in or out, crochet crochet, talk on phone, crochet crochet crochet, bake bread so there's something for people to eat, crochet crochet crochet crochet. Make notes occasionally (though not very good ones; I wish I was better at this). But basically I just keep crocheting like a maniac because I really want to see if my idea is even going to work, and there's no shortcut for that. And I thought this one pretty much worked just like I imagined! So then I go back to the drawing board and make a few changes, and start grading the schematics for different sizes, write a formal pattern, and start testing it again to see if I'm making sense to anyone besides myself.

Saskia4
Back view

It's really fun. Just a cool process, when you think about it: From tulip field to brain to string to piece of clothing. I have two more sort-of-related ideas for stripey crocheted dresses I am working on at the same time (naturally I have two more sort-of-related ideas for stripey crocheted dresses I am working on at the same time), so my hope is that I can turn them all into patterns, 'cause I think they will all be really great for beginning crocheters. And I really like the idea of these cuddly, cozy, cold-spring dresses for just this kind of (still) cloudy, chilly April weather, so I want to finish them all before it warms up outside for reals.

93 comments

gosh... this is pretty.
so sorry i've never had a baby girl for many reasons... (not that i'm complaining)

really love this design! and thank you for sharing an insight into your designing process. the sizing issue has always been a mystery to me. looking forward to pattern availability, and seeing your other versions.

just the cutest ever...

Yes 4T, 5T, 3T....please!

it is beatiful, I would like to try something like tis for my bears!
The colours are also lovely!

Hugs
Danielle

I have 2 supervisors, A cat and a dog :)))

I wonder if you will see this since it is so old now - the name "Saskia" was given by my friend to her faithful female Corgi who lived to be 16!!!! I thought that it was a very interesting "coincidence" since you both adore Corgi's and I'll bet you have a fondness for Tasha Tudor as well.

martha stewart says: January 17, 2013 at 09:02 AM

Could yo possibly share the pattern?

Are you willing to share the pattern?? I would so love to make this dress but would need a pattern

Christina says: April 04, 2014 at 06:59 AM

How do I get a pattern?

Christina says: April 11, 2014 at 10:39 AM

Is it possible to get a pattern?

This is stunning, beautiful work, it looks so simple to make yet so stylish, I love it.

This is stunning, beautiful work, it looks so simple to make yet so stylish, I love it.

This is stunning, beautiful work, it looks so simple to make yet so stylish, I love it.

pat bertolini says: October 02, 2015 at 07:33 PM

Where.can I get the pattern?

Have you made the pattern since 2010? I would love to have it.

Caroline

And this one too! Why oh why is this not published?! *sad face*

Patricia Bertolini says: October 25, 2015 at 07:11 AM

do you have a written pattern for size 12 months please. I can only read patterns. Thank You so much

Tammy Yuengel says: April 29, 2018 at 12:38 AM

Did you ever publish these patterns? I've been looking for them.

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About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.