Red Dress Pattern for Knitting

Designed by Valerie Pollock for the MMIWG Memorial Project. This project is being developed by Dr. Shannon Leddy and Dr. Kerry Renwick, professors in Curriculum and Pedagogy at UBC. They will be assembling a work of art of small red dresses and red earrings which will be permanently installed in the south stairwell of Scarfe building at UBC in honour and remembrance of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Needles: 3.25 or 3.5 mm

Yarn: worsted weight, red, approx 6 – 8 grams.

Gauge is not critical as these are not for wear! However, gauge attained on 3.25 mm needles is approximately 20 st and 28 rows over 10 cm or 4”. You may adjust your needle size and yarn weight according to your desired size. On 3.25 mm needles, finished garment is about 11 cm or 4 1/2” tall by about 7.5 cm or 3” wide at hem, and 4.5 cm or 1 3/4” wide at bodice.

Instructions have been written for beginning knitters, and experienced knitters may wish to read through and make minor adjustments to suit their abilities. For example, the garment is begun worked flat to allow an edge to reduce twisting the stitches when joining to work in round. You may choose to begin working in round immediately, and begin with a purl round.

The instructions for the skirt and part of the bodice have been written in two sections, front and back. Ordinarily, these instructions would simply read ‘k2’ across the division for ‘back’. This is to help beginners keep track of how many stitches there are on front and back sides of the garment.


Cast on 30 stitches. Knit 1 row.

Row 2: onto 4 separate needles, knit 8 stitches onto needle 1, 7 stitches onto needle 2, 8 stitches onto needle 3 and 7 stitches onto needle 4.
Join to work in round. Place a stitch marker on the first stitch on needle 1.
Needles 1 and 2 are the front of the skirt, and needles 3 and 4 are the back of the skirt.

Round 3: front: k1, ssk, k9, k2tog, k1 back: k1, ssk, k9, k2tog, k1. (26 st)
Round 4: knit.
Round 5: front: k1, ssk, k7, k2tog, k1 back: k1, ssk, k7, k2tog, k1. (22 st)
Rounds 6 – 12, knit.
Round 13: front: k1, k2tog, k1, k2tog, k1, k2tog, k2 back: k1, k2tog, k1, k2tog, k1, k2tog, k2. (16 st)


Round 14 – 18: knit.
Round 19: front: k1, m1, k6, m1, k1 back: k1, m1, k6, m1, k1. (20 st)
Round 20: knit.
Round 21: cast off 1 stitch, k8, turn work. (9 st)

At this point, you will be working the front only. Work back and forth on two needles. Leave stitches for back on their needles and ignore them for the moment.

Row 22: cast off 1, p7, turn. (8 st)
Row 23: knit.
Row 24: purl.

Next, you will divide front into left side and right side.
Row 25: k2, k2tog. (3 st)
Leave the remaining four stitches for the right side of the bodice on the needle, and turn and work on 3 just-knitted stitches.
You are working the left side of bodice.

Row 26: p3.
Row 27: k1, k2tog. (2 st)
Row 28: p2.
Row 29 – 36: knit
Cast off two stitches.

Return to the 4 remaining stitches for the right front. Join yarn at the centre front.
You will be working from row 25 again but on the other side of the bodice.

Row 25: ssk, k2.(3 st)
Row 26: p3.
Row 27: ssk, k1. (2 st)
Row 28: p2.
Row 29 – 36: knit.
Cast off two stitches.

You have completed the front of the bodice.
Now return to the back stitches.
Join yarn at the right side.

Row 21: cast off 1, k8. (9 st)
Row 22: cast off 1, p7. (8 st)
Row 23: k8
Row 24: p8.
Row 25: k1, ssk, k2, k2tog, k1.
Row 26: p6.
Cast off.

Sew straps to the back of the dress.
Work in ends.


K: knit
P: purl
ssk: slip one stitch knitwise from left needle to right needle, slip a second stitch knitwise from left needle to right needle, return both stitches to left hand needle without changing orientation, and knit the two stitches together through the back loop.
k2tog: insert right hand needle into the first two stitches on left hand needle at the same time.
Knit the two stitches together as one stitch.
m1: make one stitch – make a backwards loop with working yarn, place it on right hand needle. (You may also use the method of inserting the right hand needles into the bar between the stitch just worked and the following stitch. Pull the bar up, place on left hand needle from front to back and knit into the back loop of this bar.)