How to Knit a Baby Sweater

Easy Garter Stitch Baby Sweater
Mollie Johanson
Overview
  • Skill Level: Beginner

If you're a brand new knitter wondering how easy is it to knit something for the babies in your life, this adorable yet straightforward baby sweater will set your mind at ease—even if you just learned to knit this morning. It's small, portable, and it knits up so fast, you won't have time to get bored—perfect for a first project.

This simple double-breasted sweater pattern is available in sizes preemie to six months and features modified drop shoulder sleeves, a square neck, and wooden duffel coat toggles. You don't even have to know how to purl—it's all in garter stitch. If you can knit, you can do it. Give it a try; you just might surprise yourself!

Sizing / Finished Measurements

The pattern directions are given for the smallest size, with changes for the larger sizes given in parentheses. Note that ages in sizing are given as a reference only and are based on yarn industry standards. Every child will grow at a different rate. Select size based on actual chest measurements whenever possible. When in doubt go up a size for baby garments.

Sizes: preemie (newborn, 3 months, 6 months) 

Chest circumference: 14 (16, 18, 20-1/2) inches

Length: 7-1/2 (8-1/2, 9-1/2, 11) inches

Gauge

14 sts and 32 rows = 4 inches in garter stitch

Abbreviations

  • k = knit
  • k2tog = knit two sts together as one
  • rep = repeat
  • RS = right side; the public side of the work
  • st(s) = stitch(es)
  • WS = wrong side; the inside of the work
  • yo = yarn over
  • [ ] = repeat instructions within brackets as directed

Notes

The pattern directions are given for the smallest size, with changes for the larger sizes given in parentheses. When only one instruction appears, it applies to all sizes. You may wish to highlight the instructions for your size before you begin knitting.

You will need 335 (335, 335, 670, 670) yds heavy worsted weight yarn, preferably washable. The sample was made with an 80% acrylic / 20% nylon blend.

The garment consists of five almost-rectangular shapes: two sleeves, two fronts, and a back.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • US 9 (5.5 mm) knitting needles
  • Yarn or tapestry needle
  • Scissors

Materials

  • 220 yard heavy worsted weight yarn
  • 4 duffel coat toggle buttons

Instructions

  1. Create the Back

    Using the knit cast-on or your own favorite cast-on, cast on 24 (28, 32, 36) sts. Work in garter stitch (knit every row) until piece measures 4-3/4 (5-1/2, 6, 7) inches.

    Armhole: bind off 3 (3, 4, 4) sts at the beginning of the next 2 rows—18 (22, 24, 28) sts.

    Work even in garter stitch until piece measures 7-1/2 (8-1/2, 9-1/2, 11) inches. Bind off for shoulders and back neck.

    Knit the Back of the Sweater
    The Spruce Crafts / Mollie Johanson
  2. Button Front

    Using the knit cast-on or your own favorite cast-on, cast on 16 (18, 22, 24) sts. Work in garter stitch until piece measures 4-3/4 (5-1/2, 6, 7) inches.

    Armhole: bind off 3 (3, 4, 4) sts at the beginning of the next row—13 (15, 18, 20) sts.

    Continue in garter stitch until piece measures 6 (7, 7-1/2, 8-1/2) inches, ending at the neck edge, opposite the armhole.

    Neck: bind off 9 (10, 12, 12) sts—4 (5, 6, 8) sts.

    Continue in garter stitch until piece measures 7-1/2 (8-1/2, 9-1/2, 11) inches, or same as back to shoulders. Bind off.

    Knit the Two Front Pieces
    The Spruce Crafts / Mollie Johanson
  3. Buttonhole Front

    This front is a mirror image of the one you just finished, with buttonholes. The buttonholes are made by decreasing two stitches into one with a knit 2 together ("k2tog"), then re-creating the missing stitch with a yarn over ("yo").

    Using the knit cast-on or your own favorite cast-on, cast on 16 (18, 22, 24) sts. Work in garter stitch until piece measures 3 (3-1/4, 3-1/2, 4-1/4) inches.

    Make buttonholes: k1, k2tog, yo, k4 (5, 5, 6), k2tog, yo, knit to end.

    The side where you made the buttonholes will be the neck edge, and the side opposite will be where you bind off the armhole stitches. Continue in garter stitch until piece measures 4-3/4 (5-1/2, 6, 7) inches, ending at the armhole edge.

    Armhole: bind off 3 (3, 4, 4) sts at the beginning of next row—13 (15, 18, 20) sts.

    Make buttonholes: k1, k2tog, yo, k4 (5, 5, 6), k2tog, yo, knit to end.

    Continue in garter stitch until until piece measures 6 (7, 7-1/2, 8-1/2) inches, ending at the neck edge, opposite the armhole and above the buttonholes.

    Neck: bind off 9 (10, 12, 12) sts—4 (5, 6, 8) sts.

    Continue in garter stitch until piece measures 7-1/2 (8-1/2, 9-1/2, 11) inches, or same as other shoulder. Bind off.

  4. Sleeves (Make 2)

    Using the knit cast-on or your own favorite cast-on, cast on 20 (21, 25, 28) sts.

    Work in garter stitch until piece measures 5 (6, 7, 8) inches. Bind off.

    Knit the Sleeves
    The Spruce Crafts / Mollie Johanson
  5. Assemble the Pieces

    To assemble the pieces, you will sew the front and back shoulder seams together, sew the top and part of the side of the sleeve into the armhole, then sew up the sides of the garment from underarm to wrist. There is no obvious wrong or right side in garter stitch, however you do need to make sure your fronts will mirror each other in order to end up with a neck opening and proper armholes.

    Use yarn from the sweater to sew pieces together.

    Tip

    Men's and women's shirts traditionally button on opposite sides: men's buttonholes are on the left and women's are on the right (from the perspective of the wearer). If you know the gender of the recipient and want to hold to the traditional, arrange your pieces accordingly.

  6. Seam

    Lay the cardigan back and one of the fronts out on a hard surface, with right sides together and matching shoulders.

    • Beginning at the sleeve end of one shoulder, sew across to neck opening. Repeat with other shoulder and front.
    • Fold the sleeve in half lengthwise; match the center of the top of the sleeve to the shoulder seam. Sew sleeve into armhole opening. Repeat for other side.
    • Using mattress stitch, sew back to front on left and right sides; sew sides of sleeves together.
    Assemble the Baby Sweater
    The Spruce Crafts / Mollie Johanson
  7. Finish

    Weave in ends.

    Fold buttonhole front on top of button front; reach through buttonholes and place markers for buttons. Unfold and sew toggle buttons in place at markers.

    For a cute finish, cuff the sleeves.

    Attach the Buttons to the Sweater
    The Spruce Crafts / Mollie Johanson