The first time I tried to design my own knitting pattern it was supposed to be a warm weather tank dress similar to this one. Of course, this was about 15 years ago when I was a new-ish knitter, and I don't remember swatching at all... and you can probably see where this is going. The dress never turned out and I didn't attempt another design of my own for a long time.
Fast forward to the year 2020 and the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown. As a full time yoga teacher I would typically spend long hours outside of my home, and knitting became a side hobby to making jewelry which I sold for 7 years. Suddenly, retail came to a crashing halt effectively ending my jewelry business and I had no where to be at any time, for the foreseeable future. In fact, as I write this in January of 2021, yoga studios in New York City are still closed.
This post is not meant to be about the pandemic, but this is the story of how this dress came to be. When I locked down I immediately saw the silver lining: my time to knit as much as I always wished I could! And boy did I knit. After several months of finishing abandoned projects and ploughing through my stash, with my summer birthday approaching, I sought out to make myself a warm weather cotton dress. It felt like the perfect way to celebrate my quarantine birthday. While searching for a pattern, I just couldn't find one that matched my vision. Since the dress I wanted so much seemed pretty simple to me, I decided to go all in and try my hand at designing it myself.
The Bridget Dress felt like it was meant to be. Everything worked out on the first try (which has not been the case with all of my designs I promise!) and I loved the way it looked when I tried it on. I knit the first sample of this dress in about three days time, it was a combination of my excitement and the big needles that make this pattern a very satisfying project.
Bridget is knit with two strands of cotton worsted weight yarn held together. I used Juniper Moon Farm's Neve, which is a chain plied yarn. I haven't knit this dress with other types of cotton but I suspect the light and airy construction of Neve makes it work especially well for this dress. A cotton with traditional plying would likely be heavier, and I'm not sure how that would impact the finished fabric.
I found it vital to make a nice generous size swatch (I love swatching these days), then hung this swatch to dry while it was still wet. This helped me to estimate how much stretch to account for, and I definitely advise doing the same if you're making your own Bridget!
This pattern is part of my Brave Woman Series, my premier collection of designs meant to honor and acknowledge women who have walked their own path. Bridget Bishop is the namesake of the Bridget Dress, she was the first woman in the United States to face wrongful execution under the accusation of witchcraft. My creative energy connects me to the idea of magic and the power of independence and being self sustainable. It's a privilege to be able to spend time in creative solitude as I've done this year without facing the hardships that Bridget and others endured.
After designing this pattern I was hooked, and my new journey began. I'm so grateful for the encouragement and warm reception this pattern, and I, received from all of you knitters out there! I'm also very grateful for the Eat.Sleep.Knit Pattern Academy, which adopted me as a fellow after the launch of this first pattern. This dress really ended up being a gift for myself as it's brought me to this new place, I'm excited for what's next and to bring you more designs this year.