The Bridget Dress is the first knitting pattern I designed. Bridget was meant to be a quick and easy knit for intermediate knitters. I believe this pattern is beginner friendly, but some beginners may struggle working with two strands of yarn at once, in addition to the short rows which shape the lower hemline. This post is a supplementary aid for knitting the Bridget Dress yourself! I hope to cover any tricky bits you might find, but would love to hear from you if you've got a question about this pattern! Please feel free to leave a comment at the end of this post or send an email to elizabethmargaretdesigns [at] gmail.com.
As I mentioned in my prior post on the creation of this pattern, the yarn I used for this dress was Juniper Moon Farm, Neve. This is a lovely worsted weight cotton chain-plied yarn. What is chain-plied yarn? This refers to the construction of the yarn itself and my best way of describing it is that the strand looks woven by tons of tiny links. The yarn itself is airy and lighter than a similar weight yarn made of many straight plies. Please note, this is a description of commercially made chain-plied yarn, my understanding is that this technique when hand spun would be different, but I'm not sure of these specifics.
As this dress is knit with two strands of yarn held together, I imagine the weight of the dress would be much higher with a different kind of ply. If you're substituting yarn, my recommendation is to look for one with a similar construction. Make sure that whatever yarn you use, you make a generous swatch (with two strands held together of course!), wash your swatch and hang it to dry to simulate the stretch that will happen when you wear your Bridget Dress. You'll also be able to experience the fabric this way and make sure that your needle size and yarn combination work together.
I used one pair of 32" circular needles in size US 10.5 for almost the entire dress. I did use DPN's to work the edging around the armholes, but magic loop can also work for sure. Of course, you may need a different size needle depending on your gauge. Always prioritize matching the gauge of a pattern over using the same size needles.
Bridget is knit from the bottom up in one piece. There is no seaming necessary making the finishing a breeze. Most of the dress is worked in the round with some short rows in the beginning, until the low back line is established. After this point you'll be working flat (back and forth in rows). Just a reminder that your gauge may vary between knitting in the round and knitting flat, you may need to change your needle size after casting off for the back.
Once you separate for the arm holes you'll have three parts (four after you then create your front neckline) so you'll be putting stitches on hold and working in sections. The shoulders are joined with a three needle bind off and a very simple edging is picked up around the neckline and the armholes.
This dress utilizes a faux seam. This seam is worked in a slipped stitch pattern on reverse stockinette stitch to give your dress a bit of definition and help it hold its shape. There are decreases from the mid thigh to the waistline, and increases as you approach the bust. You'll work further increases for the bust line in the front only (you can customize the shaping here by adding more or less stitches, but this will affect your stitch counts while completing the front of course).
Perhaps the hardest part of the pattern comes just after you work the bottom edge (right after cast on). There are two sets of short rows, one makes up the front of the skirt and one makes up the back. The short rows give the dress its flattering round hemline which is longer in the back. What I find particularly tricky about these short rows is that the bulky weight of the double strand (plus cotton being a little less stretchy than wool) makes the wraps a little bit difficult to pick up. I recommend wrapping a bit looser than you might usually.
You can see the darts created by these short rows in the image at the top of this blog on the right. Working the wraps carefully ensures the fabric will lay flat after blocking and will mostly hide the darts created by the short rows on the right side of the fabric. If you wrap too tightly, there may be more noticeable darts in this lower portion of your skirt.
For folks who have knit garments, including socks, in the past, this should be a pretty simple project. If you're new to knitting garments, I still think you can handle this pattern! I'm absolutely here for you if you need help along the way, and I would love to see your finished Bridget Dress! Use the hashtag #elizabethmargaretdesigns or tag @elizabethmargaretknits on Instagram to show it off!