This week I have decided to focus on one of my favorite stitches, which also happens to be one of the first stitches I ever learnt, the shell stitch. The first thing I learnt to crochet was a couple of flowers for a knitted baby blanket, I wanted to add a border to it and after looking up a few I found the shell stitch. It was easy to do and looked really effective (unfortunately I don’t have a picture of it, it was before I photographed everything I made!) I have since used the shell stitch a lot as a boarder but only once have I used it in clothing.
Last year I found a pattern for a quick and easy baby cardigan using the shell stitch and I made one in rainbow wool for my daughter this year. But as she is taller than the pattern size required, I made the sleeves and body longer (she fits the width fine) plus I also added a hood. It’s made from chunky wool so I think the hood makes it more cosy for going out in colder weather. Using the shell stitch really makes this work up quickly and so I started thinking about other items I could make with it.
I had a couple of 400g balls of Aran/worsted wool in my box that I had no plans for and decided to use it for this project. I started with the skirt. I wanted the skirt to have a fairly plain waist band, as I wanted to add a cord to allow it to be adjusted allowing the skirt to last for longer! A few rows of half double crochet created a lovely waist band. The tricky bit was finding the right number of stitches that would fit Lily comfortably but also allow the shell stitch to work, 64 ended up being the perfect number. Once I had found that number the skirt worked up really quickly. I started it mid afternoon and finished it before the kids went to bed, this included nappy changes, cooking dinner and eating it and stopping for anything else the kids needed!) I actually made it a tiny bit too short as when Lily wore it the next day when her nappy was full you could see if hanging under the skirt. This was no problem, however, I had plenty of wool, I just took it off her and added a few more rows to find the perfect length.
Having finished the skirt, I loved the idea of a matching top which would create a sort of dress like look if worn together or that could be worn separately. The top took a little longer to work out the stitch counts. I knew it needed to end with 64 to start the shell stitch (I wanted the top part to be plain like the skirt waist band) for the part under the sleeves but after a lot of fiddling around I was able to make the top in an afternoon and evening (still sorting out kids in between). Once I saw Lily wearing the skirt and top I thought it might also be nice to create the two together to create a top, and I have made a note in theory of how this should be able to work. I haven’t actually had time to try this yet but it should work – I definitely plan on testing this soon!
Having this made with the thicker wool makes it perfect for use most of the year. I added tights when Lily has been wearing it on spring days and I think for extra warmth it would work well with a plain long sleeved top underneath – great for autumn and spring or winter with an added coat when outside! I probably wouldn’t put it on her in summer unless it was a cold day but it might work without any tights or additional tops. I have written up the pattern for the top and skirt with the optional rows to turn it into a dress, as well as notes on adjusting the pattern size. As always, if you decide to make this, I would love to see pictures of them via either the comments on the blog or any of my social media channels.
I hope you have enjoyed my shell crochet clothing this week and inspired you to try the shell stitch if you haven’t already! Thank you for reading and see you next week.