I created this Irish Crochet doll dress as an appreciation piece to see what it was like to make Irish Crochet on the scale used in the 1850s. It is worked with size 80 cordonnet for the motifs and size 100 for the mesh. These thread sizes would have been on the larger size of those used in the 1850s. Working in the 18″ doll format allows use of full-sized stitches while keeping the overall size down. Still the dress took over 300 hours to complete. The dress won the PieceWork Needleworker of the Year First Place in Crochet in 2001/2002.
Here’s where the appreciation comes in. First of all, I didn’t think it would take that long to make this dress and I’m a fast crocheter. I estimate a similar full-sized woman’s dress would have taken about 5000 hours. It also surprised me how much such a little dress weighed. I asked Maire Treanor about the weight and she told me that the Irish Crochet was made in a lightly twisted thread (similar to DMC floche). A tightly twisted thread like cordonnet weights much more than a loosely twisted thread like floche.
The pattern for the dress was published as Irish Crochet Doll: Annie’s Attic leaflet 872651 in 2001. I have a few copies left. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.