Barbie's Rainbow Ball Gown

This strapless dress is knitted from the bottom up. Its broad skirt has a knitted-in hem, and is decorated with a column of bows over a purl background running up the front. The waist is shaped by ribbing, and another bow graces the front of the bodice. [Note: another view of this dress is on the Barbie's Wardrobe page.]

Double-pointed needles, US size 1.
One ball fingering weight (baby or sock) yarn. I used Fortissima Cotton Colori in bright colors. A plain color would show the bows better. Sparkly yarn is always nice. I think smooth yarn is better for this than fuzzy yarn.

Cast on 80 stitches and join into a circle without twisting the stitches.
Knit 5 rounds plain. Purl one round. Next 5 rounds: K 26, p 11, k to end of round.
Fold the hem up along the purl line and knit the cast-on edge into the next round this way: for each stitch of the round, pick up the cast-on loop directly below it with the tip of the left needle and knit it together with the stitch. Be very careful to get the stitch which is directly below, or the hem will be twisted. (Purl the purl stitches.)
Knit two more rounds as established, knitting the knit stitches and purling the purl stitches.

Make a bow:
Round 1: Knit until you reach the purl stitches. Slip the purl stitches with the yarn in front of the work. Smooth the stitches out on the right needle to make sure the floating yarn is not too tight or loose. It shouldn't pull in or droop. Knit the rest of the round.
Round 2: Knit the knits and purl the purls.
Repeat these two rounds four times more. On the last round, when you come to the center stitch of the purl stitches, gather up the bow by reaching below the stranded yarns with the tip of the right needle to purl the center stitch. Pull the stitch down behind the strands and back up in front of them. Continue to finish the round.

Decrease round:
Decrease by knitting 2 sts together in 8 places spaced evenly around the skirt. On the side where the purl stitches are, make the two decreases at the edge of the purls, reducing the number of purl stitches by two (slip, slip, knit together at the first edge, and k 2 together at the second edge). (72 stitches remain) Work 6 rounds, knitting the knits and purling the purls.

Repeat the "make a bow" and "decrease round" instructions three more times. These bows will be 9 stitches, 7 stitches, and 5 stitches wide. (48 stitches remain).

*p1, k 2 tog* around.
Work in *p1 k1* rib for about an inch.

Knit plain, making a 9-stitch bow centered above the bows in the skirt.
Knit 5 more plain rounds. Optional back shaping (makes the back lower and firmer): for the back half of the bodice, alternate a round of *k1, slip 1 with yarn in back* and a round of *slip 1 with yarn in back, k1*.
Bind off firmly.

Copyright ©Judy Gibson, 1997. No commercial use or publication of this pattern is permitted, in print or on the Internet. All copies made for personal noncommercial use must carry this notice.

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Judy Gibson
Descanso, California
Email to jgibson (at) cts (dot) com