Reading Time: 4 minutes

The Carolina cocktail crochet dress is the biggest and most complicated project I have done. Unfortunately, it has taken me a while to pluck up the courage to write about this crochet creation as it was complicated, tricky and time consuming, but boy am I proud of the result.

In this blog, I’ll talk you through the process. Be warned, expect multiple complex(ish) stitches and swearing. I made this dress to wear at a good friends wedding as I wanted something unique and had lots of Drops Paris Yarn in Rust to use up.

This pattern is in US terminology to match the stitch diagrams.

The inspiration

I considered doing a wrap style dress which is saw via Shop Daisy and Dime, but then decided on a simple V-neck which required two long rectangles, folded in half. I loved the look of thie Antheia dress by LaCrochetterie, too and the beautiful sweeping drapes, too.

Also, I wanted to final piece to hug the body nicely. So, working from the waist down, the main body would have subtle increases at the hips, then change stitch to a mermaid style finish at the shin to create a nice floaty effect at the bottom.

So, here is the initial sketch (apologies this image is in UK terms so replace anything with treble with DOUBLE) 🤪

Important tips

  • This is not a begginner friendly pattern – you have been warned.
  • Please do a test with each stitch to practice and find out how many stitches you will need to create a 5X5cm square. This will help you get the right fit and avoid having to frog and re-do.
  • Tension is normal throughout.
  • This pattern is made to measure.
  • Optional: depending how tight you would like the dress, you should crochet with a negative ease. This means you subtract 2-5cms from your final measurement. We do this as crochet can stretch over time, especially something this heavy using a 10ply yarn.
  • You can swap yarn weight and use a smaller hook than recommended if you prefer something more lightweight, I was using up what I had on hand.
  • Optional: when you reach the bottom where the zip goes (approx. where you start the wattle stitch increases), you can swap to working in the round. In hindsight, I wish I had done this to avoid a noticeable line after joining.

Breakdown of stitches used

The dress consists of 3 different panels and 5 different stitches.

X2 shoulder panels. Then 1 main body is worked down as a flat piece and sewn together with a zip at the top. The 2 shoulders are attached at the end.

Unfortunately, I do not have time to provide detailed written instructions, but I have been able to find diagrams and some other crafters instructions I can refer you to for each type of advanced stitch.

  • Shoulders: 1 row of foundation half double (or chain foundation, +2 to start new row, then 1 row of half double). Thistle stitches to finish. X2 for each shoulder. Worked flat.
Thistle stitch (multiples of 7, +4)
Thistle stitch closeup
X2 shoulder panels folded in half

Waist band: 1 row of foundation half double (or chain foundation, +2 to start new row, then 1 row of half double). Then, alternate [1 double, with 1 chain, skip]. Repeat [1 double, 1 chain, skip] on next row. Worked flat.

Main body with PINK markers showing the increases to shape the hips
  • Main body: Wattle stitch. Worked flat.
Wattle stitch (multiples of 3, +3)
Main body section with zip
  • Below knee: 1 row of half double. Alternate 1 double post, with 1 chain. Repeat 1 double, 1 chain on next row. Worked flat. Open lace shell stitch (also known as the Shell Trellis Stitch). Half double boarder along to finish.
Open Lace Sheel Stitch Mermaid Style Finish

Instructions: *** US TERMS ***


  • 800G 10ply YARN (Drops Paris yarn I used about 16 balls of 50g)
  • 4MM HOOK
  • 10CM ZIP
  • BUTTON (optional)
  • FABRIC IN NUDE COLOUR TO COVER BREASTS (optional incase there are any gaps)
R.1Take measurement A (shoulder to waist X2)
Foundation Half Double Crochet to this length
My measurement was a total of 60cm = 98FHDC
= 98 FHDC
R.2X14 Thistle Stitch (multiples of 7, +4 to build height)= 14 THS ST
R.3-15Repeat. until the rows join under the arm
Approx. 15 rows
= 14 THS ST
Fasten off, leave long end to weave to main body
R.1Take measurement B (around waist)
Foundation Half Double Crochet to this length
My measurement was a total of 80cm = 125FHDC
= 125 FHDC
R.2CH2 (to build height), [1DC, CH1, skip] Repeat across= 125 ST
R.3Repeat = 125 ST
R.4HDC across= 125 HDC
R.5X42 Wattle Stitch across= 42 WT
R.6-24Repeat= 42 WT
R.25Before reaching the hips, start increasing at 25% and 75% of the panel you have been working (see above pic)= 44 WT
R.26-64Repeat wattle stitches until you reach the desired length with appropriate increases.
My final row consisted of 58 Wattle Stitches.
= 58 WT
R.65HDC across= 175 HDC
R.66CH2 (to build height), [1DC, CH1, skip] Repeat across= 175 ST
R.67Repeat= 175 ST
R.68HDC across= 175 HDC
R.69X17 Open Lace Shell Stitch across = 17 OLS
R.70-74Repeat= 17 OLS
R.75Increase X3 evenly across at 25%, 50% and 75% of the panel= 20 OLS
R.76-78X20 Open Lace Shell Stitch across = 20 OLS
R.79HDC across= 202 HDC
Attach the zip by sewing neatly along both back seams of the panel from R.1 to length of zip.
Optional: you can add a button to the top to make extra secure.
Optional: cut out bra shape cups in a nude colour fabric and sew to the inside to hide any gaps that might reveal a little too much.
Sew the remaining panel together along the back seam.
Lastly, wash and block the dress.
A rust coloured crochet dress hanging from a tree outside in a garden

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *