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Free Knitting Pattern - top down cardi

I am actually trying to work on writing out the pattern for a top down cardi - its super easy!

pattern now available! I wrote it while knitting so if you find any mistakes please let me know.
You can vary it - add long sleeves, frills, appliqués etc etc

 Update 2. There is a pattern, very similar, and adult size HERE

Finished Size: 19 (21, 23)" chest circumference,
to fit 3–6 (9–12, 18–24) months. Sweater shown
measures 21".
Yarn: Double Knitting yd [115 m]/50 g; ):
4 (4, 5) balls.
Needles: Body—size 4 (3.5 mm):
Adjust needle size if necessary to
obtain the correct gauge.
Notions: Markers (m);
Gauge: 23 sts and 33 rows

Stitch Guide:
• This sweater is worked from the top down in one piece. Body is picked up and worked downward after the sleeves
is completed.
• Keep the first and last five stitches in garter stitch throughout for front bands.
• A Make button holes every 20 rows starting from the 1st one indicated in the pattern

Top Body
Neckband: CO 70 (75, 80) sts.
Knit  3 rows,at the end of the 4th, knit to last 5 sts.
K1, yarn over needle, k 2 tog k2. Do this every 20 rows for buttonholes)
Knit 4 rows.
Next row: (RS) Knit and inc 10 (11, 12) sts evenly across 80 (86, 92) sts.

Establish patt and shape raglan:
Row 1: (and all odd numbered rows)(WS) Purl.

Row 2: (RS) K5 (front band; see Notes) K 12 (14, 14) sts,
k1f&b, ( knit one stitch in the front of stitch on left handed needles and knit one in the back of same stitch – you are increasing a stitch)
place marker (pm),  
k1f&b, k8 (8, 10), k1f&b, pm,
k1f&b, k22 (24, 26), k1f&b, pm,
k1f&b, k8 (8, 10), k1f&b,pm,
k1f&b, K 12 (14, 14) sts,
k5(front band)—8 sts increased.

Row 3: Keeping front bands in garter st. P

Row 4: K5, k12 12 (14, 14) , *knit to 1 st
before m, k1f&b, sl m, k1f&b; rep from * 3 times, knit to
last 17 (19, 19) sts, K 12 (14, 14)  k5—
8 sts increased.

Cont in patt and rep last 2 rows 17 (19, 21) more times, ending
with a RS row—232 (254, 276) sts total: 62 (68, 74) sts for
back, 48 (52, 58) sts for each sleeve, and 37 (41, 43) sts for
each front. Work 1 row even.

Divide sleeves and body: (RS)


Knit to first marker,
Knit across 1st sleeve (sts between 1st and 2nd marker0
continue on these sts 48 (52, 58) and knit 10 rows in stocking stitch (1 row K 1 row P)
Knit 10 rows in garter stitch (k both sides)
Cast off
Rejoin yarn and knit to next marker (that’s the back)
Then knit to the 4th marker and turn, knitting on these 48 (52, 58) sts that are the other sleeve
K 10 rows in stocking stitch and 10 rows in garter stitch.
Cast off.

Bottom Body

Rejoin yarn to remaining 37 (41, 43) sts (the other front) turn and knit across all remaining stitches so that you have a front, 37 (41, 43) sts  the back: 62 (68, 74) sts and the other front 37 (41, 43) sts.

Knit until back measures 9 (10, 11½)" from CO, measured straight
down back, ending with a RS row. Knit 7 rows. In garter stitch.
Cast off all sts.

Weave in loose ends, sew up underarms, add buttons


Sassycassie said…
I like the pattern
Anonymous said…
I'm looking forward to making this pattern. Very sweet baby cardi.
Anonymous said…
Really cute pattern. I would be interested in it.
Anonymous said…
I would love to knit this pattern.
Lindsey said…
Very cute! Give it a go!
lesley clarke said…
I would also like the pattern thankyou Lesley
Anonymous said…
Love to have the pattern!
Unknown said…
This is so cute - and looks easy to customize. I'd be very interested in this pattern.
Putzycrafter said…
I love how you've customized this pattern. The pink with the ruffled bottom is darling.
jessicafairy said…
This is exactly the sweater I've been looking for! I really hope you write it up!
Rosa said…
The purple one is so lovely!!! I'm very interested in the pattern!
thank you in advance!
gramanana said…
This is just what I have been looking for. It is adorable. I thank you so much for making this pattern free.
KikoD said…
This just what I was looking for-Cute, easy znd versatile. Thank You !
sam said…
This looks like a lovely pattern but would like to find one in larger sizes like 2, 6 and 8
I discovered your lovely blog from All Free Knitting Patterns for the top down cardi. Great pattern, thanks for sharing.
MissPenny said…
Ok, I'm not into kids as there are none in my the sweater. As the largest size is half the adult measurement...could one basically double everything with keeping an eye on the length along the way?
lucinda said…
hi miss penny.
if you cast on the number of stitches that would measure round you neck (measure your neck loosely then using a swatch cast on the number of stitches.)
I think it would work!
I'd love to have the top down cardigan pattern for adults. The link on your Louise Knits page takes me to a page with a shrug pattern. Can you help?

Thanks, Caroly
anna said…
Hi there,

I have had my eye on this pattern for some time, but being a newbie knitter I am afraid to tackle it, how would you rate this, beginner, easy.....
It is so cute!!!!

BTW, thank you so much for visiting my blog.
I feel very honored that someone of your talent and great creativity would take interest and follow.

Have a great rest of your day!!!!

lucinda said…
Its really easy!!! i am sure you can do it!
Anonymous said…
thanks for the pattern. will be giving it a try in time for christmas. pics to follow if successful!
Wanda said…
I love this pattern but being a new knitter I would like to know how many stitches you ended up with on the top and bottom ruffles? Also, do you double the stitches on the knit row, then purl the next row? You don't add stitches on the purl row do you?
Anonymous said…
the pattern is not for the one with ruffles but for the one in the 1st picture
Anonymous said…
Love this pattern, however there is no download to print it. Would love to be able to print this pattern. I have tried several other ways with no success. My needles are ready to knit this adorable cardigan for Baby!
Can you provide your Printing or the download directions?

Thank you :)
Anonymous said…
i copied and past to a word documnen that way i can highlight stuff which makes it easier for me to knit
Anonymous said…
I love this sweater but, do you have directions for bigger sizes
4T, 5T, 6T? I would love to make these for my grandchildren.
lucinda said…
I am not very good at writing patterns - so far this is the only one i have managed
lucinda said…
re the link to the adult pattern - thats the closet i found to this pattern
tp said…
Th thank you so much for this wonderful pattern. I'm a fairly new knitter and want to try my hand at this. But I have a question: If I want the contrasting button band, do I..., what do I do?
arlene said…
How would I make this pattern into a size 3 or 4 childrens size? Would changing the needle size make it a size bigger--or what can I do. Do you have a top down pattern for chldrens sizes--i am having a hard time to find one and I like the idea of top down cardigans
Anonymous said…
The link to the Adult size is a dead link. Just thought you'd like to know.
amy alice said…
I am a relatively new person to knitting, and...I think I am ready for something like this. I would like to get the pattern for an adult size ~ but the link is dead. Could you e-mail me at to send me the correct link or to send me the adult pattern? thanks so much for your help!
amy alice said…
I am ready to take on something like this, but I would like to knit it in an adult size. Your link is no longer working ~ could you send me the pattern:

thanks so much for your help!

- amy alice -
storme-art said…
hi love the pattern like to find the adult version the link seems to be broken can you please send it to my email?
lucinda said…
link now fixed
lynni said…
How do you do the ruffly one? You can e-mail me directly at I would love to make this for my granddaughter. Also, how do you make the little flowers? Thanks.
BKind2others said…
If you do know how to add the neck ruffle, please post it for all to see. Thanks.
Unknown said…
I too would love the directions for the ruffle collar! So cute and the perfect project for the baby gift I need to make!
Anonymous said…
2.1) Bell Edging (↑) bottom up

Multiple of 12 sts plus 3.

Row 1 (RS): p3, *k9, p3. Repeat from * until end.

Row2 (WS): k3, *p9, k3. Repeat from * until end.

Row 3: p3, *ssk, k5, k2tog, p3. Repeat from * until end.

Row 4: k3, *p7 k3. Repeat from * until end.

Row 5: p3, *ssk, k3, k2tog, p3. Repeat from * until end.

Row 6: k3, *p5, k3. Repeat from * until end.

Row 7: p3, *ssk, k1, k2tog, p3. Repeat from * until end.

Row 8: k3, *p3, k3. Repeat from * until end.

Row 9: p3, *sl2tog, k1, psso, p3. Repeat from * until end..

Row 10: k3, *p1, k3. Repeat from * until end.

Row 11: p3, *k1, p3. Repeat from * until end.

Row 12: As row 10.

Bell edging knitted from bottom up.
2.2) Bell Edging (↓) top down

Multiple of 4 sts plus 3.

Row 1 (RS): *p3, k1. Repeat from * until the last 3 sts, p3.

Row2 (WS): *k3, p1. Repeat from * until the last 3 sts, k3.

Row 3 and 4: Repeat rows 1 and 2 once more.

Row 5: *p3, (k1, p1tbl, k1) into the next st. Repeat from * until the last 3 sts, p3.

Row 6: *k3, p3. Repeat from * until the last 3 sts, k3.

Row 7: *p3, yf, k3, yb. Repeat from * until the last 3 sts, p3.

Row 8: *k3, p5. Repeat from * until the last 3 sts, k3. When you work the yo (i.e. yb and yf) made in the previous row, make sure to twist these sts to prevent holes being made. The same applies to the subsequent rows.

Row 9: *p3, yf, k5, yb. Repeat from * the last 3 sts, p3.

Row 10: *k3, p7. Repeat from * until end.

Row 11: *p3, yf, k7, yb. Repeat from * until the last 3 sts, p3.

Row 12: *k3, p9. Repeat from * until the last 3 sts, k3.

Row 13: BO.

lynni said…
Do you knit this up separately and attach? Thanks so much!
susanne collyer said…
love the simplicity of this pattern just wondering how you made the flowers.
susanne collyer said…
love the simplicity of this pattern as well as the color. Would love to know how you made the flowers. Did you knit them?
DebbieCz said…
had this pattern for adults/children - bought all the yarn, put the pattern in tooo safe a place - HELP - I need to find this pattern for adults and 8 y.o. girl - please if anyone can help I would be so very grateful
Pascale said…
Very cute! I like this pattern! Merci beaucoup pour ce tuto! Bonne journée! ;) Pascale
Patricia said…
I would like to make this with the ruffled collar and bottom for my new baby great-granddaughter. Are the ruffles made separately and then attached? Is there a pattern for them?
Anonymous said…
Really cute. I love the pink one but I suspect it has gone beyond the "easy" status on the original. I particularly like knitting it all in one piece. I did that before years ago and would like to give it a go!
Beth said…
When it gets cooler, it 's about 38 C outside these August days,will definitely knit this charming sweater.Thanks so much.
Ellisen said…
Adorable Cardi. Thank you.
Anthony said…
Am currently knitting it for my baby grandchild hope it turns out well as i am not a proffessional knitter
Unknown said…
I love this pattern, thank you! is there an option for long sleeves?
granmaknit said…
I also want to know about the long sleeves. Do to decrease or just knit to desired lemgth? I have already started and am ready to divide for sleeves.
codalie said…
i love this pattern ;
thank you a lot for your pattern ,it's very beautifull
Do you have it in french ,because i never had knitted in english ?
Unknown said…
Thanks for this super easy pattern. Doing a little every night after work, it took me just a week to complete my first attempt. I'll definitely be knitting more.
Anonymous said…
Been looking for a pattern from the neck down, this looks lovely , just need to decide if I want to do bigger than 3 months, thank you
Dawn said…
Louise, you are an inspiration! You make it all sound so achievable! Thanks very much. I am trotting off tomorrow to purchase yarn!
Gembreska Anita said…
I’ve been looking for more top down patterns that have raglan sleeves. Your instructions are similar to a pattern from Coats and Clark’s in 1968.
The raglan portion is worked differently with a purl row on the WS, and the neckline is worked out to a gradual curve after 10 rows.
I want to try your method and see what develops. Thank you for offering this method of a top down cardigan .

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