Sew Twists and Ties: the Ruska Knot Dress


When Named Clothing released their book, Breaking the Pattern, I could hardly wait to get my hands on it! I’m not a big fan of sewing books, but the Named Clothing designs really appeal to me (here, here, and here, ). Their modern, pared-down vibe is so contemporary and elegant. So, I asked Santa for a copy and he delivered.


The book was even better than I expected. Breaking the Pattern is all about taking their basic patterns, and ‘breaking’ them apart with variations and hacks. The book comes with ten patterns with two variations each and instructions on how to do more. In fact, the ten patterns in the book can generate fifty variations (!!) which makes this book and its patterns an economical choice. The ‘easy’ patterns are at the beginning of the book..the hard ones at the end. All the patterns are included  – – you trace the ones you like.


The Ruska knit dress caught my eye right away which isn’t a big surprise. These days, I’m really drawn to knit dresses. After watching a few episodes of Marie Kondo ‘tidying up’, I’ve been ‘Kondoing’ my wardrobe. Guess what! Knit dresses and tops consistently bring me joy (secret pajamas!!). They make great layering pieces too over tights, leggings, even jeans.




The Ruska can be made as a basic dress, a tee or with a knotted tie in the front. It’s probably no surprise to anyone that I immediately went for the version with the knot in the front, LOL! Admittedly, I do have a ‘thing’ for ties, knots and twists (proof available here, here and here.) And, there’s a challenge on Instagram this month, hosted by Meg from Cookin and Craftin, Sew Twists and Ties, which I just can’t resist!


For the dress, a firm knit with good recovery is recommended. For my first version (the aubergine version above), I used stretch velor ( with medium stretch, but not great recovery. Yes, this fabric is a bit thick for this dress, but I have been trying for years to re-create a stretchy velor dress I had in high school! The dress turned out well, especially when you consider the fabric wasn’t perfect. The fit was good without fuss, and it felt stylish and comfortable So, I couldn’t resist trying the Ruska again with a another knit fabric.

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This knit from Joann’s is fabulous; a wool blend with great recovery. There’s such a difference in the look and feel of this dress. I made this version long (midi length) for fun. We’ll see if I leave it that long, LOL. I tend to favor shorter dresses because I feel more energetic in them for some reason. Maybe it’s the fabric against my legs that makes the difference? Obviously, the drape of this knit is better for the dress, and the fit is sleeker too.

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This dress went together quickly, and the instructions in the book were easy to follow. I was so pleased with the fit. I found my measurements on the size chart in the book and found it accurate. There really weren’t any construction challenges. The knot and tie look trickier to sew than they really are. The tie is part of an overlay piece that just fits over the basic dress and is attached at the shoulder and side seams.  The edges of the tie are finished with a narrow machine hem. Easy!

I’m giving this pattern a big thumbs up! The fit of the Ruska is such a winner for me, I’m going to use the basic tee option to sew to fill some gaps in my basic wardrobe. I’ll make the Ruska this summer with a colorful jersey, maybe even a stripe.

Yay!! A couple of new dresses that will ‘bring me joy’. (Are any of you as focussed as I am on ‘Kondoing’ my wardrobe, my house, my life???) This pattern was a great way to ease into using this book. I can’t wait to try a some of other patterns this Spring.

If you’ve been on the fence about buying it, give it a look. Yes, you have to trace the patterns, but the sheets aren’t nearly as crazy as they could be (Burda Style, anyone?).

Thanks to Meg at Cookin and Craftin for hosting this fun challenge! Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.

13 thoughts on “Sew Twists and Ties: the Ruska Knot Dress

  1. Thanks for reviewing that book—sounds like fun. I really like these tie dresses on you, but I prefer the short version. You’ve got a great set of legs; show them off!!

  2. I love the length on the blue one – so chic! But you do you. Both are great. I’m loving the book too. I’ve made 2 patterns so far and am eyeing a third.

    1. Thanks, Naomi! We’ll see if it grows on me! The book is soooo good!and I love your tuxedo pinafore! I’ll look forward to more breaking the pattern inspiration from you:)

  3. Love your dresses! The blue one is my favorite I think (I’ve been having a midi moment), but they’re both great! Velvet is an amazing choice for this pattern–I would never have thought of that but it totally works. Have you chosen the next thing you’ll make from the book? There are so many great designs in it!

    I made a top version of the knot dress and love it. Well, apart from how high the neckline is anyway! 😉 A friend brought me a gorgeous designer wool knit from Italy in my signature color and it’s almost certainly going to become a Ruska dress if I can squeeze everything onto the yardage!

    1. Thank-you! Yes, I’m in awe of the book too and it seems like the options are endless! A Ruska in Italian wool knit would be perfect, I will have serious Ruska envy when you get that one done. I love the tunic and the button up shirt and the Solina dress, ah heck! I’ll likely make them all!!

  4. Good old Santa bringing the book for you 🙂
    Both dresses are fab Linda. I’m kinda liking the look of the midi one (great colour), but like you, I prefer to wear shorter ones.

    And yes, I’ve been Kondo-ing like crazy, lol!

    1. Thanks, Diane! It will be interesting to see if I like wearing the long one. The look always appeals to me, but practically, I’m not sure! Yes, I read your post about your Kondo-ing:), Doesn’t it feel great?

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