Ruska Knot Dress: Breaking the Pattern

Ruska Knot Dress from Breaking the Pattern in merino jersey from The Fabric Store

So, it seems I am sewing my way through Named Clothing’s Breaking the Pattern Book. So far I’ve sewn a Saraste shirt/top, Rae pants and an Utu Pinafore.

Today, it’s time for the Ruska Knot Dress. This was actually my favourite pattern when I first got the book.

And it was actually the very first one I sewed, in this version which was a gift for my sister.

Now it’s time to make one of my own!

I’ve now sewn my way through almost half of the patterns in Breaking the Pattern. And I have not been disappointed by them. I maintain my first instinct that this book has really raised the bar for sewing books.

Whilst it’s perhaps not the best book on the market for actually teaching people to sew, as soon as you know a few basics, the great selection of high quality patterns really makes this one really worthwhile.

Breaking the Pattern bugbears

Still, though, the more I use the Breaking the Pattern book, the more I have a few very practical beefs with it.

Not having a lay-flat spine is a bit annoying for a book of this nature. It is often necessary to go back and forth between pages frequently and when you’re sewing you often (always) need your hand-free. It would be so much easier if you could just keep the book open flat without constantly needing to re-open it and find you page. And, if a lie-flat spine is too expensive, how about just a ribbon at least, to easily hold the page with the instructions you need!

I think I’m going to have to figure out a way to add the ribbon myself (hot glue gun, here I come!)

I also second the thoughts of Rebecca Markus of Of Cotton and Wool who has pointed out that it is incredibly annoying that there is no key telling you which pattern pieces are printed on each page. Which means that, when searching for specific pattern pieces, you end up pulling out all the sheets and desperately scouring them, back and front, to check the box to see if the piece you need is printed there.

What’s really annoying is if you somehow accidentally forget to take one sheet out and then spend about half an hour desperately opening, closing and re-opening the other pieces multiple times because you can’t find the one piece you need anywhere at all.

Only to eventually discover the missing sheet tucked neatly away in the back pocket.

Ask me how I know!

The fact that the key for the sizes are not marked on the sheets themselves but only in the book can also be a bit annoying. Since I don’t have a hard surface to trace on upstairs in my sewing space, I have to go downstairs to my kitchen to trace. I’ve been caught out with the sheets only, unable to remember which form of dotted line represents my size.

But, these are pretty minor annoyances. On the whole, I continue to be impressed with the Breaking the Pattern patterns.

As you can likely see from the fact that I keep sewing them.

My Ruska Knot Dress

Ruska Knot Dress from Breaking the Pattern in merino jersey from The Fabric Store

My Ruska Knot Dress is a size 6, which is actually one size larger than the size I have sewn for the woven patterns I have made from Breaking the Pattern. When I sewed for my sister, it was a size 5 and I was pretty sure that would have been too small for me, so I sized up.

I think that was the right call, at least for this fabric. Since it is too thin and supportive, I wanted it to be quite roomy and think it could maybe be a little roomier still!

So it seems that my size for woven and knit patterns within Breaking the Pattern differs (depending on the fabric choice, at least!)

My Ruska Knot Dress uses the turtleneck that is paired with the Ruska knit dress in the Breaking the Pattern book.

(Knot dress, Knit dress, Got it?)

The fabric is, of course, the lovely premium merino jersey from The Fabric Store in the colours Navy and Marsala.

Best thing about it is I got this fabric almost free as my reward as a loyalty club member so it feels even more special. OK, yes, yes, intellectually I entirely understand that it wasn’t actually free but is rather a symbol of what an absurd amount of money I spend there. I’m choosing to ignore that reality for now.

The jersey is perhaps a little too thin for this pattern – a little more structure to hold things in might not go far astray for me.

Ruska Knot Dress Mods

Ruska Knot Dress from Breaking the Pattern in merino jersey from The Fabric Store

My Ruska Knot Dress has been lengthened by one inch. Again, I think it could do with another inch (I’m 167cm tall, for reference).

The bodice overlay, however, has been shortened by about three inches, as I wanted it to hit right at the waist, rather than the hip.

In all honesty, this one is a little bit of an entirely self-induced mess and my shortening of the bodice makes it look, well, kind of weird.

Like some kind of demented crop top. I’m not sure if I will end up wearing this Ruska Knot Dress all that much.

The main reason I shortened the bodice is that I had this plan about also making a skirt overlay that would also tie in the centre front. To do that, I raised the bodice and lengthened the ties.

Well, the skirt overlay just didn’t work and ended up in the scrap bin.

Which left me with a too short bodice and excessively long ties. The length of which means that the wrong side is quite visible.

Ruska Knot Dress from Breaking the Pattern in merino jersey from The Fabric Store

All in all, my stunted ambitions for the skirt overlay, together with the fact that the merino is just a little bit too thin for the pattern, gives me slightly ambivalent feelings about this dress. But that has nothing to do with the pattern, which I feel is a pretty solid and interesting knit dress staple with a twist (quite literally).

Plus part of my ambivalence likely comes from the fact that, after making it, I rapidly realised that my colour scheme was a little too reflective of a certain comic character I’ve been seeing way too much way of lately…

Ooops! #mumofatoddler

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6 thoughts on “Ruska Knot Dress: Breaking the Pattern

  1. I love the ties longer and higher up. The colours are great and your styling is spot on. Brilliant!

  2. I love the colors! Maybe you could shorten it a few inches and wear it as a top? It would look good with jeans. The fabric is too nice to not to wear it.

  3. I used a recipe book stand from the kitchen to keep this book open where i want it. It’s still annoying flipping between pages but you can see the main instructions easily and it also gives it a smaller footprint on my workspace.

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