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Baby Cardigan Knitting Pattern {For Beginners}

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

This is a basic pattern for those of you who are beginner level, and the techniques you will need to know are 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 5 pieces, the back, two fronts, and two sleeves, all are knit flat with straight needles and later seamed to finish.

baby cardigan knitted

A Basic Level Knitting Pattern

If you are learning how to knit, baby knitting patterns are great to start with before you move on to more complicated patterns that include intarsia and other advanced techniques.

The pattern uses basic knitting stitches, including 1×1 ribbing for the trim and garter stitch for the main pieces of the cardigan.

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It will also introduce you to shaping, through simple increases and decreases.

*Please scroll down to see the free pattern*

Baby cardigan knitting pattern free

The Yarn I Used To Knit The Baby Cardigan

I used Rico Creative Cotton Aran for the cardigan in the colors Smokey blue and Patina.

The cotton does on occasion split when you knit, like most cotton yarns but you can fix it and make it look neat with a little patience.

This is a medium-weight yarn 04.

You can substitute with most cotton making sure it is compatible with size 4.5mm (US 7) knitting needles.

baby cardigan cotton yarn

Resources and tutorials you may find helpful in following this pattern:

This pattern is great for any beginner knitters.

baby cardigan with buttons

More Baby Knitting Patterns

You may also be interested in making matching items to make a lovely handmade gift set.

Baby knitted set

Baby Cardigan Knitting Pattern

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

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

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

Notes

The cardigan knits up quickly and the simple design makes for a relaxing and enjoyable knit.

The cardigan is knit in 5 pieces – the back, two fronts, and two sleeves.

The cardigan pieces are knit flat on straight needles and then seamed when complete.

You may want to use a different stitch pattern – for example changing the garter stitch to stockinette stitch.

  • 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’s please read my Terms of Use.

Skill Level – Basic

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 – 16 sts and 36 rows in 4×4 inches / 10x10cm

baby cardigan knitting pattern

The Supplies You Need

Yarn

Needles

4.5mm (US 7) straight knitting needles

Notions

Abbreviations / Knitting Abbreviations List

  • 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

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.
    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 2 buttonholes > Rib 5 sts *yarn over, K2tog, rib 5 (7/9)sts*. Rep from * once 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 2 buttons that will fit into the buttonholes opposite.cardigan sleeves

  8. The finished cardigan

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

I love seeing your finished projects!

If you enjoyed making the baby cardigan, I’d love to see yours on Instagram, be sure to tag me @handylittleme.

If you are on Facebook, stop over to the handylittleme Facebook page and share a photo!  I’d love to see your work!

Happy Knitting!

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2 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