This pattern is for a very simple baby/ toddler size crochet cardigan (American terms). I like to think of it as a blank canvas for you to ‘paint’ with your own choice of colours, textures, embellishments, edgings, ribbing, buttons, zipper or whatever takes your fancy!
For my first one, pictured here, I used a cotton/linen mix DK weight yarn and added ruffles, crab stitch and some surface slip stitching for a girly, summery look. Swap ruffles for ribbing and surface crochet for stripes, and you will get a distinctly boyish cardigan. Or leave as is for a classic, gender neutral version. I’d love to see how you choose to personalise it – Please share your cardigans on Ravelry!
Sizes are guides only, all kids are different. If you can, try on the yoke before continuing to the body section. If trying on isn’t possible, use the size guidelines below. When laying the yoke down, folded at the shoulders, fronts meeting in the middle, the measurement across the lower edge (what will be across the chest) should be about half of the circumference measurements below. Hopefully my illustration explains it:
Chest circumference of finished cardi:
3 months: 18 in/ 46 cm
6 months: 19 in/ 48 cm
9 months: 20 in / 51 cm
12 months: 22 in/ 56 cm
18 months: 24 in/ 61 cm
2 years: 26 in/ 66 cm
4 years: 28 in/ 71 cm
6 years: 30 in/ 76 cm
- DK yarn. I used Drops Belle. You can use thicker or thinner yarn if you like – just make the yoke large enough to match the chest circumference measurements above (or try on). When the yoke is the right size, continue to the body section. If you do use different weight yarn, gauge and row count is irrelevant.
- 4.5mm hook – or hook to meet gauge
- Buttons, zip or whichever closure you prefer
15 dcs x 9 rows= 10 cm / 4 inches
Row 1: Dc in 4th ch from hook (first 2 dc made), dc in next 7 chs, 3dc in next ch, dc in next 9 chs, 3 dc in next ch, dc in next 18 chs, 3dc in next ch, dc in next 9 chs, 3dc in next ch, dc in last 9 chs, turn. (66 dcs)
Row 2: Ch 3 (counts as first dc), dc in next 9 sts, 3 dc in next st, dc in next 11 sts, 3 dc in next st, dc in next 20 sts, 3 dc in next st, dc in next 11 sts, 3 dc in next st, dc in last 10 sts, turn. (74 dcs)
Row 3: Ch 3 (counts as first dc), dc in next 10 sts, 3 dc in next st, dc in next 13 sts, 3 dc in next st, dc in next 22 sts, 3 dc in next st, dc in next 13 sts, 3 dc in next st, dc in last 11 sts, turn. (82 dcs)
Row 4: (90 dcs)
Row 5: (98 dcs)
Row 6: (106 dcs) Stop here for 3M & continue to BODY
Row 7: (114 dcs)
Row 8: (122 dcs) Stop here for 6M & continue to BODY
Row 9: (130 dcs)
Row 10: (138 dcs) Stop here for 12M & continue to BODY
Row 11: (146 dcs)
Row 12: (154 dcs)
Row 13: (162 dcs) Stop here for 18M & continue to BODY
Row 1: Ch 3 (counts as first dc), dc in each st across to, and including, the centre dc in the first corner, skip all sts up to the centre dc in the next corner (first sleeve opening made), dc in this st and in every st up to, and including, the centre dc in the third corner, skip all sts up to the centre dc in the last corner (second sleeve opening made), dc in this st and in every st to end, turn. (3M: 64 dcs; 6M: 72 dcs; 12M: 80 dcs; 18M: 92 dcs)
Row 2: Ch 3 (counts as first dc), dc in each st around, turn.
Repeat row 2 until required length. Compare with a cardigan that fits the child or try on.
Round 1: Join yarn to centre of underarm, ch 3 (counts as first dc), and work dcs evenly around the arm hole: 1 dc in ea dc around + about 5 dcs into the underarm area (inc. the beginning ch-3). Join to beginning ch-3, turn.
Exact stitch count doesn’t matter too much here, just make sure both sleeves have the same number of sts. You don’t have to turn after each round of the sleeves, but doing so will give you the same fabric texture in the sleeves as in the yoke and body.
Round 2: Ch 3 (counts as first dc), dc in each st around, join to beginning ch-3, turn.
Round 3: Ch 3 (counts as first dc), 2dctog, dc in all sts to last 2, 2dctog, join to beginning ch-3, turn.
Repeat round 2 & 3 until sleeve is required length. Try on or compare with a cardi that fits the child.
You may find that the neck opening is too wide, especially for the smaller sizes.
If you need to make the neck opening smaller:
Row 1: Join yarn to neckline at top corner of right front, ch 3 (counts as first dc), dc in each st of neckline until the first corner, (where there’s 3 dcs worked into the same st), *work 3dctog into the st before, into the corner st and into the st after the corner st, dc in each st to the next corner, repeat from * to end of neckline at top corner of left front.
Row 2: Repeat row 1 if required.
If you just need the neckline neatened up a bit:
Join yarn to neckline at top corner of right front, ch1 (does not count as a stitch), sc in each st around neckline.
Button band with holes
Girls: right, boys: left
Row 1: Join yarn to bottom corner of cardi, ch 1 (does not count as a stitch) and work 2 sc around the post of each dc all the way up, turn.
Row 2: Ch 1 (does not count as a stitch), sc in ea sc all the way down, turn. Now, with stitch markers or yarn scraps, mark where you want your button holes along the button band. Each button hole will be 2 sts. Space them out evenly.
Row 3: Ch 1 (does not count as a stitch), sc in ea st until you get to where you want your first button hole, *ch 2, skip 2 sts, sc in ea st until you get to the next button hole, repeat from * until the end, turn.
Row 4: Ch 1 (does not count as a stitch), sc in ea st, work 2 sc into each ch-2 space all the way down.
Button band with buttons
Girls: left, boys: right
Same as other button band (4 rows of sc along the edge), just omit the button holes. Sew buttons.
Row 1: Sc in each stitch, turn
Row 2: Work 3 dcs into each st, turn
Row 3: Working into front loops only, sc in each dc.
Crab Stitch/ Reverse Single Crochet
In addition to the ruffles, I chose to work crab stitch, or reverse sc, around the neckline and down the fronts for a more finished look. To do this, start in the bottom corner of the left front and work backwards up the left button band, around the neckline and down the right button band. I find that my crab stitch looks neater if I go down a hook size or two. Here, I opted for a 3.5mm. Tamara Kelly has a great tutorial on how to crochet the crab stitch over on Moogly.
Surface Slip Stitches
This is a great way to add interest to plain crochet fabric. I free handed the little heart shape on this cardi. Start with a slip knot, and always hold the yarn at the back of your work. Insert your hook into the fabric from front to back where you want your stitches to start, get the slip knot on your hook and pull it through your work, from the back to the front, insert hook into the next place where you want your stitches to go, yarn over at the back of the fabric, pull through your work and through the loop on your hook to complete the slip stitch. There’s a great tutorial on Dedri Uy’s blog here.