Wednesday, 8 February 2012

A skirty to make Ariel a little less flirty

I'm sure I'm not the first parent, and I certainly won't be the last, who thought it would be a good idea to let her daughter pick out a doll of her choice.  Of course she went for the beautiful Little Mermaid doll with the sparkly tail and gorgeous red hair.  I know she doesn't have shoulder straps in the Disney cartoon, but wouldn't it have made sense to put them on the doll?  Poor Ariel's boobies keep popping out and it's a little obscene.

Looking through my box of mystery yarn, I found a pink acrylic that knits to 3mm needles so I decided to get on with making a dress because 'poor Ariel is so cold Mummy because she's always naked'.  I opted for ruffles because what 3 year old girl doesn't like ruffles?  You'll need three knitting needles of the same size (I used 2.75mm needles), and as long as you can work in stocking stitch (stockinette in the US), you'll be able to make this simple dress.  Remember to choose a fine yarn and to use fine needles - whilst tension is not crucial, it's a small item and won't look right knitted in chunky yarn.

I have worked hard creating my original patterns and am happy for them to be used for free.  Please do not sell the patterns.  If you do sell the end products please state clearly that they were made using my design, and that the pattern came from  Thanks, and enjoy!

You will need:
  • Yarn that knits to a 3mm needle that has a bit of stretch to it
  • Three 2.75mm knitting needles
  • Yarn needle 

1st Ruffle

Cast on 94 stitches 
Knit 2 rows
Starting with a knit row work in stocking stitch for 8 rows
Row 11:  Knit 1, knit 2 tog across until 1 stitch remains, knit 1 [48 stitches]
Row 12:  Purl
Row 13:  Knit 2, (Knit 2 tog, knit 1) across until 5 stitches remain.  Knit 1, knit 2 tog, knit 2 [33 stitches]
Starting with a purl row, work 9 rows in stocking stitch, ending with a purl row

Break yarn but do not remove work from needle.  Put aside and start on 2nd ruffle

2nd Ruffle

Work the first 14 rows of the 1st ruffle without breaking the yarn.

You will now have two ruffles, one longer than the other, both with right side facing.


The next part is a little fiddly because you will be joining the two ruffles to make one piece.  Hold the two ruffles together with the 2nd (shorter) ruffle on top.  Knit across, knitting together a stitch from each needle.

You should now have one piece of work with two ruffles on it.

You could now knit straight and finish the dress if you are happy with two ruffles.  I thought 'the more the merrier' and have gone for three =)

Starting with a purl row, work 7 rows in stocking stitch, ending with a purl row.  Break yarn and put work aside.

Make another ruffle as per the 2nd ruffle and join as before.

Body of dress

Knit without shaping until the dress is 5mm shorter than you'd like it to be.  I wanted to make a knee-length dress so I stopped when my work was 15cm after a purl row.  I think it would look just as good as an ankle-length dress.

Arm holes

Knit 9, cast on 8 knitting the new stitches, knit 15, cast on 8 knitting the new stitches, knit 9.
Purl a row, then knit 3 rows, casting off knitwise with wrong side facing.


Close the seam of the bottom-most ruffle, weaving in loose ends.  Continue closing the seams on the ruffles until only the uppermost ruffle remains.

Sew down the back of the dress, continuing down the last ruffle.

My daughter's friend fell in love with her Ariel doll's pink dress, so I made her a full-length ruffle gown for her doll =)  
I changed it slightly and gave it bigger ruffles by casting on 132.  I worked 10 rows of stocking stitch before the first decrease row, which I worked as follows: k1, k2tog to last st, k1 [67].  I worked the second decrease row: k1, k2tog x 15, k3tog, k2tog x 16, k1 [34].  I then worked 11 rows of stocking stitch before joining in the next ruffle.

When the work reached 18.5 cm in length, I worked the arm holes: k9, co 8 knitting the new stitches, k16, co 8 knitting the new stitches, k9.

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  1. Very nice, I like the idea. I do not like the fact that it uses stockinette stitch because I cannot purl and I do not really want to learn. Any suggestions for doing it in garter stitch?

    1. Do you knit in the round? It can be a bit tricky on double-pointed needles, but if you use the magic loop and a long circular needle (there's a good tutorial here, you can achieve stockinette stitch by knitting every row. If you perfect it, you'll never need to learn how to purl =)

  2. Very pretty! I'll be making a few I'm sure! Are you designing more clothes?

    1. I'm glad you like it :-) I'm afraid my doll clothes designing tends to be a bit random and they're just made as they are required. As it happens, a Merida (Disney's Brave) will be needing a long evening gown soon because the poor doll has been dragged everywhere!