Confusing Pattern instructions

Hello all. I have been crocheting for several years now and am in the process of making a dress for my niece. As i was moving along in the pattern i hit some confusing instructions.

" Ch 4 (counts as dc, ch 1 here and
throughout), dc in first st (beginning V-st made), skip next
dc, *V-st in next dc, skip next dc; repeat from * around; join
with slip st in 3rd ch of beginning ch—35 (37, 41, 43) V-sts."

The part I am confused with is the " Ch 4 (counts as dc, ch 1 here and throughout)" I’m not sure if it means to ch 4 and then chain a fifth before continuing or what. Any opinions are greatly appreciated.

Welcome to KH!

Your ch 4 takes the place of the first dc and ch 1 to make the first part of the V-stitch. Next you would dc in the “first stitch” (probably the same stitch that your ch 4 comes out of–I’m basing that on the fact that V-stitches are almost always made all in one stitch).

Does that make sense?

I take it to read: 4 chains is 1 double crochet followed by 1 chain