How do I start this blog post? It's funny because when I was starting to make this crochet Belle dress for my niece, that was also the first question I had while holding the hook and yarn. All I had was a what, a when but I don't know all of the hows. And like any other confused crocheters like me, the first thing to do is obvious. Consult Google.
In the Beginning...
In the beginning, there was nothing. I know the concept, I looked at a lot of pictures. And I mean a lot. My phone memory consisted of screencaps from different websites with photos of how a Belle dress should look like. Then I had to convert it into a crochet design. I wanted it as personalized as possible, and I wanted it made with my own pattern too. (I'd love to share the exact pattern, but with the long time it took to finish this project, plus the many times I needed to redo it, the exact pattern got lost somewhere.) But sure enough, this is my brainchild. It is a product of multiple
inspirations yarnspirations merged into one project to make it look like my version of the Crochet Belle Dress.
I learned how to do a zigzag stitch for the top part of the dress. It took me some time to figure out how to do that off-shoulder effect, I sought the advice of @jonalyn2020 on how to create it. Would you also believe that my husband also had input on that off-shoulder part? I shared my process for the off-shoulder where I used the shell stitch pattern. Maybe I should have made a video on all the processes so I could have taken note of the pattern. But then again, with all the frogging and redoing, it would still be confusing. LOL.
And then there's the tricky part...
I wanted the skirt to be "balloon-y" if there's such a term. I wanted it to look like those gregorian gowns where the wearer will have to put on a petticoat to make it balloon to make that ball gown effect. But then I realized that not all my visions can come to fruition. That sounds a little bit uninspirational, but that's just how it is. There are times in life when you know what you want to do, you know how to do it, but it just doesn't turn out to be what you expect it to be. I had two choices: to continue and hope it would look the way I hoped it would or frog the dress right there and then and start on a new design.
I am both hopeful and stubborn but this time, these two traits mislead me into wasting my time and efforts. I have already used almost 3 cakes of the polycotton yarn when I decided to call it quits and start over. The skirt I was starting to get heavy on my arms and in my heart. It did not turn out the way I had hoped. So, on New Year's Eve, while everybody else is out celebrating, I was there in the corner of my mother in law's house, frogging and restarting my work.
It was a lesson learned the hard way, but still a lesson, nonetheless. I talked to my new crocheter friend and told her that I should just have started the project late if I only knew I'd finish it in January. But she said if I had started it just last month, then I would still have made the same mistake and I would still have ended up reworking it. The lesson will be learned a little bit harder. That made me realize that it is true, all things happen for a reason.
And so for the finale...
My sister and my nieces managed to visit us last weekend to pick up the dress. It's a good thing they were able to because there were a lot of mending that needed to be done. Remember, I worked on the entire dress based on just the measurements I took of my niece? It would have fitted just right but then she got sick just a couple of weeks ago. She shrunk a bit. Don't worry, she's recovering and is her usual perky, playful self when she came over to our house. I got worried about the top because I needed to cut a huge chunk off of it. But the thing is, the off-shoulder piece is attached to the entire bodice. It just so happened that the part where I placed the pull string is composed of a different piece entirely so the frogging was much easier. It was just as if I cut 2 inches of fabric at the back of the dress.
The skirts though needed some adjustments. I thought I was going to need to frog the waistline which I really dreaded. One small mistake and it would mean I'll have to redo the entire crochet skirt. So to remedy the size, I converted it into an adjustable waist by attaching a string belt. It turned out to be a good accent to the back of the dress because of the ribbon.
It's all in the details
Beauty and the Beast story revolves around the enchanted rose. And so, why not add that to the ensemble, right? I made a slightly oversized red rose and attached a wire to serve as its long stem. I've made quite a number of roses for this dress, what's another one, right? Instead of just covering it with green crepe paper, I hand crocheted a green yarn around the wire. Of course, my little one had to have one of her own.
The entire tulle skirt is surrounded by crocheted roses which my sister helped out in attaching. It's my way of arousing her curiosity on crocheting. She's in her mid-20s but until now, I still see the little girl whom I taught to eat veggies and trained to be confident and strong. I am hoping that I can also influence her to love crocheting as much as our mom and I do.
The off-shoulder top is also highlighted with yellow roses. The unfinished look doesn't resemble the Belle dress that much which is why those crochet roses are important. This one I had to myself because I needed to make those creases carefully so the end result will be as I want it to be. I am a little bit of a control freak so letting other people touch my work entirely is not easy for me.
I am better than my self yesterday
I am really proud of this project. I have learned a lot of lessons from crocheting techniques, design making, decision making, and so much more. Some lessons are very much applicable to my life actually and for that, I am really happy.
But what I am most joyful of is the fact that I have seen a lot of improvements from my first crochet dress to this last one. I can say that I have grown both as a blogger and as a crocheter over the past two years. The lessons I learned on my past projects have been very useful to this dress. I am sure that the new lessons I learned here will also be carried into my next projects. The confidence and comfort I feel when I am crocheting are reward enough for me. And seeing myself evolve in my technique really brings happiness to me. I know that there are a lot of crocheters that are so much better than me, but there really is no competition. As long as we all are having fun, learning lessons, and creating to our hearts' content, for that alone, I am feeling contentment.
Thank you for all the encouraging words here in my blog and in real life. Please do forgive me if I have been really inactive for the past few weeks. Time hasn't really been my best friend this last month. But now that I have that major project is done, I can go back to my usual self. I am thankful for the friends who checked up on me on messenger. Even my friends in real life did not know where to find me because I have been really inactive because of all the work that needed to be done. They found out that I was living in my crochet cave trying to finish this project. Lots of love to you all! I am back!
@romeskie is a full-time stay at home mom juggling homeschooling, crocheting, and homemaking. A Business Administration graduate with a major in Marketing who ended up in the contact center industry, on the frontlines, climbing her way up to Workforce Management where she found her passion in real-time analysis and management. A once self-proclaimed careerwoman who soon realized homemaking was her real calling. Her passion varies from reading, writing, photography, and most of all, crocheting.