Irish Crochet Yoke

Introduction: Irish Crochet Yoke

First and foremost this is a crocheting tutorial. My goal is for anybody reading this tutorial to be able to crochet an Irish rose motif such as those seen on the shirt waist seen here. This tutorial will also include some information about drafting a pattern and some other miscellaneous skills related to the construction of the overall look. I have clearly labeled each section based on the skill it focuses on. If you are exclusively interested in the crochet, only read the steps that include "(Crochet)". If you are interested in learning more, I encourage you to read all of the steps.

Background Information

Irish crochet is a form of lace making that became very popular in the 1800's because it was inexpensive to create and did not require a lot of materials or equipment. Easy and quick to learn, Irish crochet consists of two components. The first component, the net, is exactly what it sounds like. Simple or complex, the net serves as a foundation for the second component of Irish crochet. The second component, the motifs, can be thought of as small projects or designs, often floral, that are crocheted individually. They are then attached to the net to create the final piece. Irish crochet can be incorporated into many garments, such as veils, hanker-chiefs and shirts.


  • White thread. I used two types of thread:
    • Coats & Clark Dual Duty Plus Button And Carpet Thread - White
    • Aunt Lydia's Classic Crochet Thread, size 10 - White
  • Crochet hooks. I used two sizes throughout my project:
    • 1.25 mm (when working with the Coats & Clark)
    • 1.5 mm (when working with the Aunt Lydia's)
  • Needle, scissors etc.


  • Drafting paper
  • Pins
  • Ruler
  • Pencil and eraser

Step 1: Step 1: Developing a Pattern for Your Crochet Yoke (Pattern Drafting)

If you are planning on making this, you will need a garment to place the final crochet project on top of. I already had an old Edwardian shirtwaist that I had made a few years ago that I decided to spruce up (See photo). I re-downloaded the pattern and taped it all together. If you do not want to buy a pattern for a shirtwaist, here is a vintage guide for how to draft a pattern for yourself based on your measurements. If you do want to buy a pattern, I've been very happy with the patterns from Sense and Sensibility.

1) Place the pattern on a light table. You may want to secure it with some scotch tape if you are worried about it shifting. (See photo)

2) Place drafting paper over the pattern and secure. You do not want this to shift, otherwise the pattern you create will not match the shirt pattern.

3) Trace over the outer edges of the pattern according to the size that matches your measurements. (See photo)

4) On the interior of the pattern, using a ruler, sketch out the shape of your yoke. I referred to some surviving garments to determine the shape of my yoke. (See photo)

5) Repeat for the back of the pattern.

6) On both the pattern piece for the front and the back remove any seam allowance that the designer included. Since you will be attaching the crochet yoke on top of a finished garment, you do not need to add a seam allowance. (See photo)

7) On a piece of construction paper, trace around the outside edge of both pattern pieces so you have an outline of the shape you want your final product to have. (See photo)

Step 2: Step 2) Creating a Magic Ring (Crochet)

Many crochet projects are crocheted "in the round" which means the crocheter does not have to stop and turn their project when they reach the end of a row. This is because there is no row and the project is completed as a large spiral. The best way to because a project that is being crochet "in the round" is with a "magic ring". It is a bit tricky to capture through photos, so I recommend this tutorial if my photos do not make sense.

1) Using your non-dominant hand, press your index and middle finger together. With your thumb, secure the end of the thread and bring the thread diagonally up and across your two fingers. You have created a diagonal line from the bottom left to the top right. (See photo)

2) Bring the thread under your two fingers and towards yourself. Then wrap diagonally across your two fingers (from the bottom right to the top left). Wrap the thread gently around your ring finger to keep some tension. You have what looks like an X created with the thread. (See photo)

3) Working with the part of the thread that is above the intersection of the X, bring your hook underneath the thread on the top right and "hook" the thread on the top left. (See photo)

4) Gently pull this thread underneath the thread on the top right of the X. (See photo)

5) Turn your hook that it is facing upward. This will add some twist to the thread. (See photo)

6) Yarn over and pull through. (See photo)

You now have a "magic ring"! By pulling on the loose end of the thread you can make the ringer smaller or larger based on your needs.

Step 3: Step 3) Crocheting an Irish Rose (Crochet)

There are many different motifs in Irish crochet but the Irish rose is one of the most common. It's a great one for beginners because it is very easy. It can also be made more complicated once mastered. Photos for each step are made up of three images. On the far left there is the pattern. Each new step is shown in pink to make it easier to read. The pattern reads counter-clockwise. The middle image shows the step using the Coats and Clarks thread on a 1.25 mm hook and the far right image shows the step using the Aunt Lydia's thread on a 1.5 mm hook.

1) Make a "magic ring." If you do not feel comfortable making a magic ring, chain 8 stitches and slip stitch together. (See photo)

2) Chain one. (See photo)

3) Into the circle created by the "magic ring" (or by chaining 8 stitches and connecting with a slip stitch) single crochet 11 times. Connect into the chain one from the previous step with a slip stitch. If you used a "magic ring" pull on the thread to tighten the ring. (See photo)

4) Chain three stitches. Looking at the 11 stitches you made in the previous step, skip the first stitch and then slip stitch into the second stitch. Chain three stitches and, skipping the next single crochet from the previous step, slip stitch into the next stitch. Repeat a total of six times, ending with a slip stitch into the slip stitch you made in the previous step. (See photo)

5) You now have six arches created when you chained three stitches. In the space created, single crochet once. Double crochet four times (double crochet stitch, double crochet stitch, double crochet stitch, double crochet stitch) and then one single crochet. Repeat this pattern in each of the arches (one single crochet stitch, four double crochet stitches, one single crochet stitch). When you are back where you began, slip stitch and tie off. You just created an Irish rose! (See photo)

As you go, lay out your motifs on top of your yoke pattern to determine how you want your final product to look. (See photo)

Step 4: Step 4) Creating a Netting (Crochet)

There are many different net stitches that exist. Some are more complicated than others. I select a simple one which consisted of chaining five stitches and then securing the thread with a single crochet into the chain five from the row below.

I would periodically pin the net again the pattern to make sure that the sizing was correct (see photo). Once I was happy with the part of the yoke before it started to curve up into shoulder straps, I work on one "strap? at a time. On the interior of the neck I started decreasing to create a curve and on the exterior of the neck I started increasing to match the yoke pattern. This was rather mind-numbing and I did make several mistakes (see photo) but I knew it would be covered with the motifs.

Step 5: Step 5) Attaching the Net and Motifs (Sewing)

Since this is a crocheting tutorial and not a sewing tutorial, I'll just give you the basics.

1) Pin the netting in place along the neckline and then whipstitch into place. Make sure to hide any knots on the interior of the shirt. (See photo)

2) Pin a motif in place based on your preferred design layer. Using a needle, pull the the two untrimmed threads from the motif through and knot. Trim. (See photo)

3) Around the outside edge of the lace, use a LOOSE back stitch to sew all the way around. I will use this back stitch as a foundation to more crocheted lace.

4) Attach any more lace on the shirt. I reattached the lace that I had previously had on the shirt underneath the crocheted yoke.

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