I recently finished working on a crochet dress that I’d had on the hooks for awhile. But now that I’ve tried it on I think maybe it actually needs some more work.
Awhile ago I started working on a series of crochet dresses where I took tops I was done using and upcycled them by adding crochet skirts to them. The striped top on this dress was one of the first tops I pulled out because I knew it would look great with crochet. However, it took me awhile to figure out how to make it work.
I knew that I wanted to use a laceweight yarn. I originally thought I was going to do large granny squares in orange and then green panels to make the skirt shape. I actually started on those orange squares which took quite awhile since the yarn was so thin. As I made them I started thinking instead of making a bunch of squares in orange, green and yellow and somehow pinning them from the top so they’d hang down in panels to make a skirt.
I got off track for a long time because I got sick of working with a laceweight yarn and a small hook. Then recently I picked it up again. When I did, I decided to forget the orange squares I’d made and just crochet in the round using a green laceweight yarn. So that’s what I did. I used a variety of stitches including some granny-square style treble crochet blocks, some mesh / filet rows and some hdc. I just kind of went with whatever felt right as I got to that row. There was no plan.
I kind of thought this was going to be a maxi dress but then at some point it felt like it was done, so I just added a shell of orange for some more color and then ended it.
How to Make It Work
The problem is that I like the dress on the hanger but I don’t like it on me. The main reason is because the waist falls at the wrong place for my body. The whole reason I never wore the tank top is because the length it falls at isn’t right for my body. I prefer empire-waist dresses in general because I’m short and want to create the illusion of more height. And this one ends right at the thickest part of my middle which makes me look fatter than I am and who wants that? I should have realized this as I started and shortened the tank before adding crochet but I guess I was lazy about it.
The next problem is that the skirt is tight instead of flowy. That might have worked out okay for a maxi but I think it ends up kind of just looking cheap as a short, tight skirt. And I think it’s just a tad too short. It’s not actually too short in inches but it looks too short. It’s just not the right proportion which you can see in this straight-on image:
You can see that I added a nice chunk of straighteness down from the tank before increasing to flare. In my mind this would create the illusion of length that was lacking from the tank itself but then the shortness of the skirt just looks awkward.
And finally the openness of the design means that I have to wear something underneath it. Extra layers under a short, tight dress that isn’t proprotioned correctly just adds the appearance of additional weight.
So my first thought was that maybe I could make this work by adopting a bohemian style for it. I layered it over a long denim hippie skirt and some brown openwork fishnets. I added a thick drapey scarf.
It doesn’t work for me. It just looks like I threw on everything but the kitchen sink. It looks even worse from the front – so much worse that I’m not even going to share one of those photos!
So then I thought I’d just wear a slip underneath it. I added a jean jacket that hits at a better length on my hips to try to make the outfit work.
That one doesn’t look terrible in the photo but it doesn’t move very well. The slip rides up, the skirt doesn’t drape right. It wasn’t comfortable. And it really just felt cheap-looking.
What also continued to bother me with the dress was the pooch it created around my tummy. So I thought perhaps a corset would make it work:
I should have switched to black fishnets here, probably striped ones. I do think that this is the best of the options I’ve tried so far. I used a longer slip than in the previous photos and that gives an overall better proportion to the outfit. The black corset and black slip kind of look too format with the casualness of the dress. I think it’d be better if I had something in another color, but I don’t.
I’m going to try a few more things before I give up on the dress. One thing that I think might work is to actually wear it as a top but I need to do that with skinny jeans and I currently don’t have any skinny jeans. (I wore out my favorite pair and they split in the crotch so they had to be thrown out. That’s actually what inspired my post a little bit ago about upcycling denim with crochet!) So I need to get a new pair of skinny jeans and try that. I also think it’s possible that the dress might look okay over a pencil skirt so I could try that. And I might play around with belting the dress to create a fake empire waist and alter the proportion.
If none of that works, I’m going to go back to the idea of making this a maxi dress. If I do that I think I’ll work in some of the white and yellow from the stripes into the bottom portions of the maxi. So we’ll see. I’ll keep you posted!