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

That is so beautiful. Reminds me of when I was pregnant with my first baby and I knitted a lovely one piece jumper in similiar colours. Its got me all nostalgic. Minty x

@Cricket: Luckily, spacing the playdate and answering the door in pajamas will come very natural to me :-).

Gosh that is adorable. My mom always knit my sister and i matching Easter dresses...I like the weight of the crochet. This will be amazing on your little girl!!

Oh my, I gasped when I saw the first picture. I'm in love with this dress! Thank you for all the inspiration!

Please do make it into a pattern! I love your patterns, I just finished making a Bella baby dress.

Alicia! That is such a cute dress! If you are looking for test crocheters, keep us posted--I'd be a good one because I've been knitting for years but only just now picked up the hooks. I can definitely find the confusing parts of patterns. :-) Love it!

Love. This. Dress. Oh how I wish I could crochet

Absolutely adorable.

Wow, what a wonderful little dress. After she grows out of it you will have to keep it for her daughter. I have a dress my grandmother made and it is so fund to see 3 generations wearing it. It is truly a special dress like I'm sure this one will be.

I saw this little Steven Alan dress & thought of all your dresses! I have the grown-girl version (found used for a steal) & it's my all-time most-worn super-favorite dress. The grown-up version is silk & dry-clean only- what I really need is a larger version of the rugged kids' model!
http://www.stevenalan.com/product.php?defvarid=15359&productid=18023&cat=978&manufacturerid=&page=1

How lovely!

It is so wonderful! The colors, stripes, everything. I find myself turning to crochet more often lately, haven't done much in the past ten years, but feeling newly inspired these days...

Beautiful. I had to come back and see what you've created because I really could not tell and I did not even guess it was a dress! Siily me, you have been making them! Beautiful! I am working on the Tiramisu blanket pattern and so far so good. I look forward to doing more of your lovely patterns. Keep them coming! And may God bless all your precious endeavors.

so sweet! can't wait to see the next two incarnations! or in tulips. ; )

A simply precious dress--and crochet! I love it!

Absolutely beautiful and yes please do write up the pattern.

ooh, it's so lovely, great stuff!

WOW!!! Love it!!!

Oh it's such a gorgeous dress!!!

Todd Slusar says: April 17, 2010 at 05:22 AM

All I can say is WOW!

Sue, Victoria, Australia says: April 17, 2010 at 06:12 AM

It's ok for you to say so easy. This is made with love. One can tell. It is simply gorgeous.Congratulations, I'm green with envy.

First off, this is absolutely, positively so darling (I totally see the tulip fields), BUT, I see this being far more useful as a coat type thing. Imagine this split down the middle with the red trim running down both sides of the front. Also, imagine this over that really cute bishop that is pink with the brown polka dots! CUTE! I suppose if one were smart enough, they could take your dress pattern and adapt it to a coat, but unfortunately, I am only good at following a pattern. So, please, could a coat be done too?

This is just adorable! I have to learn to crochet pronto!

I'm glad to see you working with crochet. I looooove crochet. Thanks.

Sounds like fun math. I've knitted and crocheted a lot but never tackled a little girl's dress. Sounds challenging!

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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.