Crocheting with the Victorians – pattern included


In 1846 Madmoselle Eleonore Riego de la Branchardière put out a small book of knitting, crochet, and netting patterns. Inside were the very first (published) Irish Crochet patterns. In the world of Victorian needle work, Mlle. de la Branchardière was a superstar. She made crochet lace fashionable with the Victorian ladies of England and that kept many a Irish family fed during the the Great Famine of 1845 to 1852.

Victorian era pattern books

It was a time when fashionable ladies wanted to be seen with their needlework. Mlle. de la Branchardière helped make that happen. She did just about every kind of needle work there was. In fact, she is known for more than just Irish crochet. She is also the mother of modern tatting. She published 13 books on tatting alone. She published 72 books total. She owned a “fancy warehouse” in London and counted the upper crust of society among her students.

Basically she was the cat’s ass in lacemaking.

Eleonore Riego de la Branchardière was born in 1828 in England to an Irish mum and a French dad. She took to being called Madmoselle de la Branchardière. It was very fashionable to be French in England those days. She published her first book, the one with the first Irish crochet patterns, at the age of 18. (Its cited all over the internet that she was 12 years old when she published it but… 1846 -1828 = 18. Math. Its your friend.)

So I decided to try one of her Irish Crochet patterns. She was popular in her time for making lace simple and do-able. How hard could it be?

Scollop crochet pattern from 1846
From Knitting, Crochet, and Netting. You can download the book for free from Project Guetenburg.


Here is one of her “Six Round D’Oyleys”. It doesn’t look much like a modern pattern. It doesn’t tell you to join at the end of the rounds. It doesn’t tell you how to make the first stitch (like “chain 2” or “standing double crochet”). It doesn’t tell you what stitches are repeated. If you take a closer look at those instructions, when you end a round, you won’t always be in the right place to start the next round. And its written on old-English-pattern-ese.

Looks like fun right? Right!


Here I go:

(A translated version of the pattern is included below. There is plenty of room for individual interpretation so please consider this to be my version of the Scollop D’Oyley by Mlle. de la Branchardière.)

  • plain = single crochet
  • treble = double crochet (to Americans anyway)
  • Join all rounds with a slip stitch
  • When needed, slip stitch to the right place to start a new round

After the 5th round I had this. Not bad.

in-progress Irish crochet doily

Another thing to keep in mind is that I’m using worsted weight yarn (Cascade 220) and a Size G hook (4 mm). No self respecting Victorian lady would make this pattern with worsted weight yarn! They would use a teeny tiny thread and the hook to go with it. Specifically, Mlle. de la Branchardière recommends “Boar’s head cotton, No. 16, or Berlin wool”.

From Enlightment!Derbyshire who did a great little article on the Boar’s Head Mill. Click the picture to read it!

But I don’t do thread crochet if I can help it. I have a deep and unshakable belief that thread crochet will make you go blind and crazy. I’m loopy enough already.

So I pushed ahead with my thick wool. After the 11th round I had this. I thinks its lovely. Nice pattern Mlle. de la Branchardière.

Irish crochet doily, pattern from 1846 by Mlle de la Branchardière

There is a 12th round but I didn’t like it. I tried it a few different ways but in the end I pulled that back. I like it as it looks after the 11th round.


The original Scollop D’Oyley pattern with my extensive notes:

sc = single crochet (double crochet if you’re in the UK)

dc = double crochet (treble crochet is you’re in the UK)


Make a chain of 9 stitches. and join with a slip stitch to work in the round

1st round—1 treble, 1 chain, in every stitch.

Chain 2 (counts as a dc), chain 1, *1 dc, chain 1* in each stitch (9 dc & 9 chain 1 spaces). Join with a slip stitch.

2nd round—2 treble, putting the needle through the chain of round before, 2 chain.

1 Slip stitch, in first chain-1 space: chain 2 (counts as a dc), 1 dc, chain 2 *in all remaining 8 chain-1 spaces: 2 dc, chain 2. Join with a slip stitch.

3rd round—3 treble in the chain of last round, 3 chain.

2 Slip stitch, in first chain-2 space: chain 2 (counts as a dc), 2 dc, chain 3 *in all remaining 8 chain-2 spaces: 3 dc, chain 3. Join with a slip stitch.

4th round—5 treble in the chain, 2 chain.

3 Slip stitch, in first chain-3 space: chain 2 (counts as a dc), 4 dc, chain 2 *in all remaining 8 chain-3 spaces: 5 dc, chain 2. Join with a slip stitch.

5th round—7 treble in the chain, 1 chain.

4 Slip stitch, in first chain-2 space: chain 2 (counts as a dc), 6 dc, chain 1 *in all remaining 8 chain-2 spaces: 7 dc, chain 1. Join with a slip stitch.

6th round—10 chain, miss 7, 1 plain in the middle of the 7 treble in last round.

5 Slip stitch, *chain 10, skip next 7 stitches & sc in next* repeat to end. Join with a slip stitch.

7th round—1 treble, 1 chain, in every stitch for 8 stitches, miss 3.

Chain 2 (counts as a dc), chain 1, *dc, chain 1* seven times in 1st chain-10 space. Skip sc from previous round and *dc, chain 1* 8 times in each remaining chain-10 space. Join with a slip stitch.

8th and 9th rounds—1 treble, 1 chain, miss 1.

Chain 2 (counts as a dc), chain 1, *dc in next dc from previous round, chain 1* repeat to end. Join with a slip stitch.

10th round—3 plain, 6 chain, miss 5.

Chain 1, *sc in next chain-1 space, sc in next stitch, sc in next chain 1-space, chain 6, skip next 3 dc from previous round* repeat to end. Join with a slip stitch.

11th round—1 chain, miss 1, 1 plain, 1 chain, miss 1, 6 treble.

Chain 1, *skip next st, sc in next st, chain 1, 6 dc in the chain-6 space, chain 1* repeat to end. Join with a slip stitch.

12th round—1 treble, 1 chain, miss 1.

Didn’t do it.

Want to know more about Mlle. de la Branchardière? Well I found that she entered a crochet piece in to The Great Exhibition of 1851.  The Great Exhibition took place in Hyde Park, London, from  May to October in 1851 and it the first of many more World Fairs. Mlle. de la Branchardière work is noted as entry 17 in the Tapestry, Carpets, Floor Cloths, and Embroidery category.

From the Official Catalogue of the Great Exhibition, 1851. (click to download a copy)

17  Riego de la Branchardière, Eleonore. New Bond St. Inv and M??? – Crochet work. Flounce, imitation of Spanish point lace. Design, in silk and gold, for Prayer-book covers

I wonder what it looked like. It must have been amazing because it won the prize medal. 

from the Reports of the Juries, published in 1862 (click for a link to the book)

4401 Riego de la Branchardière, Mdlle E. – Crochet and other lace. For the skill displayed in the successful imitation of old Spanish and other costly laces

And I can’t find a picture of it anywhere. I guess that flounce, and the pattern to make it, slipped away into history. Such a shame. But that’s why it of vital importance for bloggers like myself to play with yarn and old pattern books and make doilys. We don’t want to be loosing anymore of our crochet history. I hope you will give the Scollop D’Oyley a try.

Print Friendly

Related Content


"There is no failure. Only feedback." - Robert Allen

22 Comments on "Crocheting with the Victorians – pattern included"

Notify of
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted

I love your history lessons! I love the challenge of translating old patterns, too, but some might as well be in Greek.

And Jenn, are you messing with the site again, or is it this stupid tablet? Everything’s different and there’s two headers.


I haven’t messed with the site at all. Two headers? Huh. As in two header images to the post or two header banners for the home page?

I am getting a big spike in traffic today (thank-you!) and I am starting to worry about load times. Hope the site stays up, lol

Glad you liked the lesson. those old grand dames really knew how to work a hook.


Sorry, it’s two banners. And the page tabs are all stacked on each other in basic links. Seems like a lot of the HTML isn’t loading. I’m pretty sure it’s this stupid tablet. I still get a 404 when I try to load photos, too.
I think all my electronic devices are out to get me 🙂


It seems we had a “server issue” today. Something about upgardes and how I should be apprecaitive that they didn’t take my site down all together.

Sigh. Computers can suck sometimes.

I think its all up now. I think.


It wasn’t just her, that was the problem I had too, I reloaded the page on chrome though and it (finally!) appears to be working. I just couldn’t read it earlier because having text on the left makes me twitchy lol.


Sorry for the trouble. It should be cleared up now.


Not your fault 🙂 I think I just had the page cached and that’s why it went on all day. I really enjoyed the post though!


At least the content seemed to get through in spite of all the technical difficulties. The web-rulers-black-magicians that host all my content for me seem to think the rough waters are behind us. But… they lie.

Glad you liked the post. I enjoyed researching Mlle. Eleanor. I imagine that she was a polite society lady on the outside and a dragon on the inside. Victorian lady, business owner, teacher, published author, and never married. yeah, she must have been one independent woman. Oh how I’d love to have afternoon tea with her! lol


I love this blog. I also love this pattern. Have to admit I’ve never made a Victorian pattern before, but I have made a few ornaments of thread Almost went blind in the process, but they were pretty on the tree–til the ants came visiting. I used sugar water to stiffen them. Huge mistake.


Yikes! I never would have considered possible ant danger.

Glad you like the blog! And thanks for the pic. It seems some readers are having trouble getting them uploaded and some are not. I, of course, have no clue why. Wish I was better at this computer stuff.

I LOVE thread crochet…My eyes and hands do not! I agree with you on that last row. From the pattern it looks totally unnecessary to the overall effect. My grandmother introduced me to crochet using thread crochet. She would crochet and tat using the string from feed sacks. (I never learned to tat) For those youngsters out there, feed for chickens and such used to come in large sacks made of a gingham like material sewed together with a chain stich in a #3 weight (guessing on the size) thread. My grandmother would save the string in balls for her… Read more »

Those old-time crfaters were so inventive. They used everything. I bet your grandma was a very talented lady.

And let me know how your “scollop” turns out. I’m sure there is more than one way to make that original pattern work.


BTW your site does have a different look. At first I thought it was because I pulled it up on my phone but on the computer still the same. The ROVING CRAFTERS logo is showing twice one on top of the other and some of the stuff and links at the top are also at the bottom. It is still great just thought you would want to know.


yeah. That particular problem started up midway through today. I’ve been on the phone with technical support for hours. It seems there were server upgrades today. I hope/think the site and all my graphics are slowly getting back to the way they were. Sadly there doesn’t seem to be anything much I can do about it all.

Again I say: computer can really suck sometimes.


Poor Jenn, what did I start? Computers do suck sometimes. A better techie will be able to help, but I know when there’s server issues, you can serve a cached page through -somwhere I don’t remember and I have to go read books, lol – But I think that might not work with the static pages of a blog.(?) And that probably isn’t any help anyways, because they actually have to let you know about the server issue before it happens.


Thanks for the heads up. I’m sure I’ll get better at his the longer I do it. 🙂


Computers may suck sometimes, but your blog is fabulous (no matter how many banners accompany it) and I thank the electronic demons for allowing me to read it. Looks to be all fixed right now.


Thanks! I’m so glad you like it because I do love writing for this blog. “Electronic demons”. That’s a very good way to describe them.