What on earth have I started? I only started making dolls' clothes because the outfits that The Little Mermaid is sold with are woefully inadequate and always result in her being half naked. Now, it seems I have set a precedent for knitted/crocheted outfits and as soon as the girl gets a new doll her clothes are taken off and I'm told 'Mummy, she doesn't like her dress - she would like a knit one'. To be fair, they are so much more durable than the shop bought ones which fray so quickly!
So of course, Tinker Bell was no exception and I was told she wanted a ballerina dress. Tinker Bell just wouldn't be right if she were not wearing leaves, so I set about designing a ballerina-style leaf dress. I made three different iterations of knitted ones and threw them all away. The girl loved them all so I had to sneak them into the bin when she wasn't looking!
This isn't an exact pattern as Tinker Bell is smaller than a 'standard' doll so if you're planning on making this for your Barbie, following what I did simply wouldn't work. I will guide you through making it to measure for your doll.
I used approximately 25g of a random mystery yarn for the main body of the dress and worked the contrast vein and edging on the leaves in Twilley's goldfingering. I used a 3.0mm hook but you can use whatever yarn and hook you like. I work to quite a tight tension so you may want to drop down a few hook sizes because big stitches just won't look right on a such a small garment. Just remember not to use a hook that is far too small for your yarn because the garment will end up too tight and without stretch - a good choice would be to use yarn that knits to a 2.5mm needle with a 2.5mm hook.
The dress body is worked in entirely in trebles and treble decreases, with joining and without turning. I 'step up' to the next round with 2ch and work the first treble back into the slip stitch. You will also need to work a few doubles for the shoulder strap section. Familiarise yourself with and refer to crochet stitch summary and terminology because I write all my patterns using UK terminology.
1. Work a test length of trebles
Before you set about making your leaves, work a test swatch of a row of treble crochet. Work a multiple of four stitches that will fit around your doll's hips comfortably. Do not just work a length of chain and assume that is a good enough test - the trebles will loosen up the work!
2. Make your leaves
Divide your number of chains by 4 and make that number of large leaves and that number again of small leaves from my lovely little leaves post (I worked 24 chain so made 6 each of large and small leaves)
3. Start the body of your dress
Work a length of chain of the required length, making sure not to twist the chain, slip stitch to the first chain. Ch2 (doesn't count as a stitch) then work a round of tc working the first round in the sl st.
4. Attach large leaves in round 2The leaves are worked into the dress by inserting the hook into the round end of a leaf after the yarn over but before inserting it into the main body of the work. Draw the hook through both layers of work and work a tc in the usual manner.
Attach large leaves in the second round in the following manner: ch 2, attach first leaf into the sl st, 3 tc, (attach leaf, 3 tc) until all leaves are attached, sl st to the first tc to join the round
5. Attach small leaves in round 3:
Attach small leaves in this round in the following manner: 2 tc, (attach leaf, 3 tc) until all leaves are attached, sl st to the first tc to join the round
6. Keep working straight until the skirt is the desired length
Remembering thr 2ch 'step up', hold your work up to the doll's waist and stop when you reach the desired length
7. Decrease for the waist
Ch2, tc into the sl st, tc, tc2tog, (2 tc, tc2tog) to end, sl st to the first tc to join the round
8. Keep working straight until the bodice is the desired length
Remembering the 2ch 'step up', hold your work up to the doll's waist and stop when you reach the desired length
9. Work the straps
I like to put aside a quarter of the stitches for the front middle. After the last sl st, work a length of chain sufficient to pass over the shoulder from the centre-back, sl st to the stitch to the side of the middle quarter stitches. Dc the middle stitches, sl st to the next stitch then work another shoulder strap. Sl st to the beginning of the round and tie of securely and weave in loose ends.
The photo shows two 'looks'. Working the contrast edge on the leaves gives them a convex/concave quality - you decide which look you like best by simply popping them in the desired direction.