|

Knitted Baby Cardigan (Free Knitting Pattern)

THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS THAT SUPPORT HANDY LITTLE ME CONTENT AND FREE PATTERNS.

In this post, you will see a knitted baby cardigan for beginners with photographs to help you along the way.

You will need to know the techniques of casting on, casting off, knitting in garter stitch, knitting 1×1 ribbing, decreasing through K2tog, and picking up stitches.

The baby cardigan is knit in five pieces: the back, two fronts, and two sleeves.

All are knit flat with straight needles and later seamed to finish.

Please scroll down to view the free pattern, or grab the ad-free printable PDF in my shop here.

Newsletter
Get the latest in your inbox!

Weekly news, free patterns, tutorials, and more.

Knitted Baby Cardigan (Free Knitting Pattern)

Baby Cardigan Knitting Pattern

Skill Level – Basic

Grab the inexpensive, ad-free, PDF printable pattern in my shop here.

You can purchase three beginner-friendly patterns, including the baby booties, hat, and cardigan, in a discounted bundle here.

You can also find this pattern in this Baby Knitwear Ebook here – 10 Baby Knitting Patterns Ebook.

Copyright Info

  • Please do not copy, sell, redistribute, or republish this pattern. 
  • If you wish to share this pattern, link to the pattern page only.
  • You may sell items produced using this pattern.
  • Do NOT use the copyrighted photos for your product listing.
  • For the copyright T&C, please read my Terms of Use.
baby cardigan knitted

Size Information

Size

  • This pattern is to fit baby size 0-3 months / 3-6 months / 6-9 months.
  • The first set of numbers applies to the small size, the second set to the medium size, and the third to the large size.

Gauge – 20 sts and 40 rows in 4 × 4 inches/10 x 10cm

The Supplies You Need

Yarn

  • DK Baby Yarn.
  • Main Colour/Yarn A – 1 (1, 2) x skeins of Baby DK yarn = 100g/250m/273ds.
  • Total yards needed for the main color – 273 (273, 546) yards.
  • Yarn Weight Guide (+ Conversion Chart)
  • Any medium-weight yarn.
  • Choose a baby friendly washable yarn.

Needles

4.5 mm (US 7) straight knitting needles

Notions

knitted baby cardigan

Knitting Abbreviations

Knitting Abbreviations And Terms (US And UK)

  • Alt = Alternate
  • Beg = Begin(ning)
  • Cont = Continue(ing)
  • Foll = Following
  • K = Knit
  • K2tog = Knit 2 sts together
  • P = Purl
  • Rem = Remaining
  • Rep = Repeat
  • 1×1 RIB = K1, P1
  • St(s) = Stitch(es)
  • WS = Wrong side
  • YO = Yarn over
knit baby cardigan

Knitted Baby Cardigan – Free Knitting Pattern

Ready to knit your first baby cardigan?

Our easy-to-follow pattern with step-by-step photos is perfect for beginners.

Create a cozy, adorable cardigan for a newborn with simple stitches and clear instructions.

Whether you’re a novice or just looking for a quick, satisfying project, you’ll love making this sweet little cardigan!

Time needed: 1 day, 5 hours and 30 minutes

Baby Cardigan Knitting Pattern

  1. The Back

    With Yarn A cast on 42 (46/52) sts and work 1″ in 1×1 ribbing (k1,p1).
    Change to Yarn B and work in garter stitch until the piece measures 4″ (5”/6”) from the cast-on edge.
    Shape the armholes
    Cast off 2 sts at the beg of the next 2 rows.
    Next row: cast off 1 st, K to last stitch, cast off 1 st.
    Decrease 1 st at each end of the next 3 rows in the same way.
    Continue straight in garter st until the work measures 7″ (8”/9”) from the cast-on edge.
    Shape the shoulders
    Cast off 7 (8/10) sts at the beg of the next 2 rows.
    Leave the rem sts on the stitch holder for later.Baby cardigan back piece

  2. The Left Front

    With Yarn A cast on 21 (23/26)sts and work 1″ in 1×1 ribbing (k1,p1).
    Change to Yarn B and work garter stitch until the piece measures 4″ (5”/6”) ending with a WS row.
    Shape the armholes
    Cast off 2 sts at the beg of the next row, knit to end.
    Next row: K to the last 2 sts cast off 1 st.
    Then decrease 1 st on each alt row 3 more times in the same way.
    Shape the neck
    With the right side facing – Row 1: K to the last 3 sts, K2tog, K1.
    Row 2: Knit to the end of the row.
    Row 3: As row 1.
    Row 4: As row 2.
    Repeat rows 3 and 4 until 7 (8/10) sts remain (the piece should measure 7″ (8″/9″) from the cast-on edge).
    Cast off.baby cardigan left front

  3. The Right Front

    With Yarn A cast on 21 (23/26)sts and work 1″ in 1×1 ribbing (k1,p1).
    Change to Yarn B and work in garter stitch until the piece measures 4″ (5”/6”) ending with a RS row.
    Shape the armholes >
    Row 1: Knit to the end of the row.
    Row 2: Cast off 2 sts, K to the end of the row.
    Row 3: K to the last 2 sts cast off 1 st.
    Row 4: Knit to the end of the row.
    Rows 5-8: Repeat rows 3 and 4 twice more.
    Shape the neck
    Row 9: K1, K2tog, K to the last 2 sts, cast off 1 st.
    Row 10: K to the last 3 sts, K2tog, K1.
    Row 11: K1, K2tog, K to the end of the row.
    Row 12: Knit to the end of the row.
    Rep rows 11 and 12 until you have 7 (8/10) sts left (the piece should measure 7″ (8″/9″) from the cast-on edge).
    Cast off.baby cardigan right front

  4. The Sleeves

    Make 2 the same.
    The cuff – With Yarn A cast on 23 (25/27) sts and work 1″ in 1×1 ribbing (k1,p1).
    Change to Yarn B and work in garter stitch, inc 1 st at each end of the first row and every 6th row that follows until you have 29 (31/33) sts.
    Continue to work in garter st until the piece measures 5″ (6”/7”) from the cast-on edge.
    Shape the top
    Cast off 2 sts at the beg of the next 2 rows.
    Row 1: K1, K2tog, K to the last 3 sts, K2tog, K1.
    Row 2: Knit to the end of the row.
    Repeat rows 1 and 2 until 17 (19/21) sts remain.
    Cast off 3 sts at the beg of the next 4 rows.
    Cast off.baby cardigan sleeves

  5. Making Up – Seam The Shoulders

    Weave in all of the loose ends.
    Lay the back piece with the wrong side facing you, then lay the right front and the left front on top with the right sides facing you.
    Seam the shoulders using the mattress stitch.seaming the shoulders

  6. Knitted Edging

    With Yarn A and the right side of the work facing you, pick up and knit 20 (22/25) sts up the right front, 13 (14/15) up the V slope, 14 (16/18) from the stitch holder, 13 (14/15), down the V slope, 20 (22/25) sts down the left front.
    Work 2 rows in 1×1 ribbing (k1, p1).
    Next row: Make 3 buttonholes > Rib 5 sts *yarn over, K2tog, rib 5 (7/9)sts*. Rep from * twice more, then rib to the end.
    Work 1 more row in 1×1 ribbing then cast off.baby cardigan collar

  7. Set in the sleeves

    After that, seam the sleeves into place into the armhole arches. 
    Sew the sleeve and side seams. 
    Then sew on the three buttons that will fit into the buttonholes opposite.cardigan sleeves

  8. The finished cardigan

    Your knitted baby cardigan will be finished now, sew in any remaining loose ends and close by fastening the buttons.baby cardigan knitted

Grab The Ad-Free Printable PDF Pattern Here

Could you share your work with us

If you enjoyed making the knitted baby cardigan pattern, I’d love to see yours on Instagram; tag me @handylittleme or #handylittleme.

If you are on Facebook, stop over to the handylittleme Facebook group and share a photo.

I’d love to see your work.

You can also find me on Ravelry, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Happy knitting!

baby knitwear

What Size Cardigan To Knit For A Newborn?

For a newborn, it’s common to knit a cardigan in a size that fits a baby from 0 to 3 months.

Here are the general measurements you should aim for:

  • Chest circumference: 16 to 18 inches (40.5 to 45.5 cm)
  • Length (shoulder to hem): 8 to 10 inches (20.5 to 25.5 cm)
  • Sleeve length (underarm to wrist): 6 to 7 inches (15 to 18 cm)

Ensure that the cardigan has enough ease to be comfortable and easy to put on the baby.

Always check your gauge and adjust the pattern as needed to match these measurements.

baby cardigan knitted

What Is The Easiest Baby Item To Knit?

The easiest baby item to knit is typically a baby blanket.

Here’s why:

  • Simple shapes: A baby blanket is essentially a large rectangle or square, making it straightforward for beginners.
  • Minimal shaping: Unlike clothing items, a blanket doesn’t require complex increases or decreases.
  • Versatility in patterns: You can use basic stitches such as garter stitch (knitting every row) or stockinette stitch (alternating knit and purl rows).
  • Adjustable size: You can easily make the blanket larger or smaller based on your preference or the amount of yarn you have.

A basic baby blanket can be a relaxing and enjoyable project for knitters of all skill levels, especially beginners.

Learn to knit one here – How To Knit A Baby Blanket

how to knit a baby blanket simple for beginners

How Long Does It Take To Knit A Baby Cardigan?

The time it takes to knit a baby cardigan can vary based on several factors, including your knitting speed, the complexity of the pattern, the size of the cardigan, and how much time you can dedicate to knitting each day.

On average, here are some estimates:

  • Beginner knitters: 2 to 3 weeks, assuming you knit a few hours each day and are working with a simple pattern.
  • Intermediate knitters: 1 to 2 weeks, especially if the pattern includes some more advanced techniques but isn’t overly complex.
  • Experienced knitters: A few days to a week, particularly if you are comfortable with the pattern and can knit for several hours at a stretch.

If you choose a very simple pattern with minimal shaping and detailing, it could be on the quicker end of these estimates.

Conversely, a more intricate design with cables, lace, or colorwork may take longer.

Baby knitted set

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

8 Comments

  1. Hi,
    I’m a little confused about shaping the arm holes when knitting the back piece. I cast off at the beginning of the row, it says knit to the last stitch and then cast off. Do I knit all the stitches over to the right needle and then pull the second to last stitch over the last one? I thought it was possibly, “technically,” to cast off at the end of the row.
    Help! And thanks!!

    1. Hello Shoshana,
      Yes, to decrease that stitch at the end of the row, you can cast off the last stitch by pulling the second to last loop over the final loop.
      Alternatively, you can K2tog which will also decrease by one stitch if you find that easier.
      I hope that helps!
      Louise

  2. Hi!
    Thank you so much for this pattern! I am working on the sleeves and I’m a little confused by the 6th row. That means all stiches are added to the same side? Could you elaborate on rows 1-7 after the stockinette stitch

    1. Hello Sara,
      For the sleeves – Change to Yarn B and work in garter stitch, inc 1 st at each end of the first row and every 6th row that follows until you have 29 (31/33) sts.
      You will increase 1 stitch at each end of the first row and every 6th row that follows until you have the number of stitches needed for your size.
      You continue to work in garter stitch, not increasing each row, only every 6th row.
      For the first row – increase 2 sts (one at each end, next 5 rows knit (garter stitch) 6th-row increase by 2 sts again, then work 5 rows garter stitch, 6th-row increase by 2 sts again, and so on until you have the number of sts you need.
      I hope that helps,
      Louise

  3. Hi, I love your patterns and I’m working on the front of this pattern now. I’m confused with how to do the trim though and was wondering how I pick up the stitches. Thank you!

  4. Hi,
    I’m a little confused with the left front arm hole shaping where it says:
    Then decrease 1 st on each alt row 3 more times in the same way.
    Does this mean:
    row 1 decrease 1
    row 2 no decrease
    repeat x2?
    Thank you!

    1. Hello Natasha,
      Decreasing the alt row means to – Decrease 1 stitch on the next right side row.
      So you will decrease again on the next right side row – 3 more times.
      I hope that helps!
      Louise