The unfinished pieces of this dress are waiting to be rewound into balls. I got pretty far before I discovered that I made a pretty big mistake in the pattern. I’ll start from the beginning.
The dress is done by making the front and back with armhole shaping. Then you sew the front and back together and crochet the sleeves into the openings.
The back starts out with a row of 71 chains and then double crochets back the other way. I did 69 foundation double crochets to match their row one where they give you the stitch count. Row 2 is single crochets in each stitch across. Row 3 is double crochet in each stitch across for 69 double crochets. Then the instructions say, “Repeat last 2 rows for pattern, dec 1 st each end of row on second row and every 3 rows thereafter until 45 sts remain.”
So off I went, decreasing 1 stitch in every third row. Checked my gauge which was 4 rows = 1.25 inches and that was perfect. Do you see what the problem is yet?
In the picture below the dress with the gray portion is now 20 inches and I still had more than 45 stitches across.
Part of the directions tell you to work until the piece measures 12 inches so I knew something was seriously wrong but hadn’t figured out where I went wrong yet. I started by counting the rows in the photo. There are somewhere around 60 rows for the whole dress so I knew that either I read the decreases wrong or the pattern had it wrong. Next, I pulled out a spreadsheet (because of course I would) to figure out how many reductions I’d need to get to 45 stitches from 69 and realized that I should have hit that number by the time I hit row 39. I was at 57 stitches in row 39.
Time to pull the pattern out again and read it over carefully.
And there it is. User error.
When I read the instructions I misread “dec 1 st each end of row” as “dec 1 st each row”.
Written crochet patterns are like another language and each era, parts of the world, and even individual designers have their own grammar and punctuation that they use. Every word, comma and asterisk are important in crochet patterns. My mistake was thinking this was a super simple pattern and just skimming it. If it was a mosaic crochet pattern or overlay crochet where stitch placement is complex I would have read it much more carefully. This shows you that even simple patterns should be read carefully. Lesson learned. I hope.
Next week is the July vote. Get out your ABBA and BTO albums, we're only moving ahead one year to 1974.
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I'm from Minnesota and have been crocheting since 2003. I inherited a box full of Workbasket Magazines from my mother-in-law and became obsessed with the vintage patterns.