Free easy knitting pattern : my family’s garter stitch baby cardigan.

My grandmother knit this cardigan, my mother knit it for us, and now I knit it for the forthcoming generation.
I don’t know who invented and published the original pattern, it was probably in the 1950s. I found various versions all over the web, but this is the way I fixed the pattern I had, after knitting it a few times.
My mum says the baby feels very comfortable in it. Anyways, it’s cute and easy.

(Ravelry page for this pattern)

Skill Level: Easy. I’m a slow knitter, it takes me 2-3 weeks to make one.
Category: Knitting
Project Type: Baby, Size : Birth. Fits a chubby baby more than a preemie.
Supplies: I used 2 skeins of Bergere de France Caline (here in color Nono (blueish grey). Use a yarn for babies, easy to wash and dry. This one is a Fingering / 4 ply (14 wpi) yarn.
Knitting Needles: US 1½ – 2.5 mm and US 2½ – 3.0 mm. I used bamboo needles but use whatever knitting needle you’re comfortable with.
Gauge : 26 stitches and 52 rows with 3mm needles is 4″  in garter stitch .

Techniques used :
Garter stitch : knit every row
1/1 rib : knit one purl one rib (also known as K1P1 rib)
Decrease (k2tog): knit 2 stitches together
Yarn over (yo) : wrap the yarn around the knitting needle

Done in two pieces, the first one starting with the sleeve.

First Part :

  • Loosely cast on 48 stitches on 2.5mm needles and knit 1/1rib for 10 rows.
  • Switch to 3mm needles, increase one stitch on each side and begin to knit using garter stitch (you now have 50 stitches)
  • At 16 cm (6 1/4″) total length measuring from the cast on edge ( it means the beginning of the sleeve, not just the garter stitch, the whole sleeve) cast on 38 stitches on each side to create the front and the back parts. Total stitches : 126.
  • At 25 cm (10″) total length from the cast-on edge, begin knitting only on the first 63 stitches for the front part of the cardigan.
  • For the neckline, cast off (bind off) 4 stitches once, then decrease 1 stitch every 2 rows (this is the up part of the front piece).
  • Knit the bottom of the front piece straight until it measures 12cm (4 3/4″), then decrease 1 stitch every 2 rows, 2 stitches from the edge, shaping the front piece into a triangle. (You actually decrease 1 stitch on each side every row now, until you reach 12 stitches).
  • If you’re completely lost right now, take a deep breath and look at the photos underneath to see the general shape.
  • When you only have 12 stitches left, knit the belt, 13cm (5″) straight then cast off (bind off).
  • Resume knitting on the remaining 63 stitches of the back side and knit in garter stitch straight for 6,5 cm (2 1/2″) and then put stitches on a holder.

Second part :
This second part looks exactly like the front part we just knit but here we start with the belt and then increase.

  • Cast on 12 stitches, knit 4 rows in garter stitch, then on the next row, knit a buttonhole : knit 5 stitches, knit 2 stitches together, yarn over and continue knitting. (it’s not on this photo because I later added stripes of white to finish the belt, final result is the last picture down below).
  • Knit for 12cm (4 3/4″) from cast-on edge, then begin increasing 1 stitch every row, 2 stitches from the edge.

layette tuto

  • At 59 stitches, cast on 4 stitches on the neckline side, at the beginning of the next row.

tuto layettetuto layette

  •  Now you are going to join this piece to the first piece you knit. Move the stitches from their holder to a needle so that the stitches for the back will be ready to work first. Knit across the live stitches on the back and the second part for 9cm (3 1/2″) to join the pieces.
  •  tuto layette
  • Add stitch markers 38 stitches from each edge, and cast off (bind off) 38 stitches on each side.
  • We have 50 stitches remaining for the left sleeve. Knit across these 50 stitches in garter stitch. Work until the second sleeve is 16 cm (6 1/4″), then decrease 1 stitch at each end.
  •  then switch back to 2.5mm needles and finish with 10 rows of 1/1 ribs. Then cast off/bind off loosely.
  • tuto layette

Finishing/Sewing :

  • Sew the sleeves , then the sides, leaving a hole for the belt.

tuto layette

  • Sew the button on the end on the end of the belt without the buttonhole.
  • tuto layette

brassière grise

  • Dress the baby !

Do you know this pattern under a different name, or version ?
Please feel free to correct  any knitting or grammatical error.

Have fun and please let me know how it goes and send pictures !


  1. Thank you very much for visiting (and following my blog). I would love to knit your pattern but do not have anyone to give it too :(. It looks lovely and your knitting is so neat. I also find the US and UK terms interesting – I find it easiest to work in the one I am most comfortable in and then give people the conversion chart (is that too mean?) Hope you have a good week.

    • Thank you very much !
      I’m slowly getting used to the knitting vocabulary in english (english isn’t my mother tongue), and I’m probably mixing both UK and US terms, but well, as long as people understand the pattern (I think it’s ok to let people go through a conversion chart, you don’t always have the time to prepare everything perfectly !) and they can knit pretty little outfits, I’m fine !
      Hope you have a good week too and thanks for visiting !

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