simple sweater dress pattern wanted


i've been knitting since this past october (my girlfriend ann bought me a "kit" for my birthday) and have only done 4 scarves in total. the sad part is that none of the scarves have been for ann. i'm now ready to thank her for introducing me to a craft that has brought me so much pleaure by making her something a bit more interesting than another scarf. it may be a bit out of my league but i'm thinking of a sweater dress. she has been scouring new and used clothing stores for one that fits her body and sense of style but has not had much luck. does anyone know of a simple pattern that won't drive a relative beginner to the crazy house? i would like it to be sleeveless and fall just above the knee - possibly a simple a-line number with an oversized sagging neckline. if anyone can help direct me to a source for such a pattern please respond.



trucker945's picture

So, you've lost your mind and gone insane have you? Suddenly you have become the 'Master Of Knitters'? Dude, let it go... you are a beginner, as are we all, and no matter how much you want to be 'YODA', none of us are or ever will be. Knitting is a skill and an art, that no one will ever master. Just try to do your best, and live with it.

did I mention I'm a cheap S.O.B.

ulf's picture

I must agree with Kieth that it's not easy, especially if you haven't a readymade pattern. Maybe there is such a thing, look in books and yarnshops. Especially books and pattern from the 50ies and 60ies when knitted dresses were popular. However, if you do want to try you can use a pattern for sewing and knit the parts. In that case you must use a smaller size than you should have in fabrics, the stretch makes it a size larger. If I should do it I would use a thin 100% cottonyarn on needle 3 mm, that makes it wearable and soft. Draw the parts on a paper and use the paper as pattens that you knit after. As I understand the neckline, you should make the neck a bit wide and knit a wide poloneck or increase the poloneck so it's  wider at the top. I haven't tried it my self but I know people how crochet after pattern for sewing. If you want a femenin touch you can knit with pearls that are sliped on the yarn and added one by one in the knitting. Please let us know how it goes, good luck! In swedish but further down you can see how you knit with pearls.

if you find a sweater pattern you like, you can convert it to a dress by extending the length and shaping it a little (increasing past the waist.) you may also want to shape it in under the arms a little by decreasing, but most female patterns have body shaping written in.  If you find a sweater with the collar pattern you like, it wouldn't be hard to use it as a base. you could edit out the sleeves (substituting a cap sleeve is very easy, especially if its a raglan) and add the length with minimal design experience.

Bill's picture


9 sts to inch... needles...US11&13...recommends Patons Upcountry wool...very simple shape...ribbed cuffs and hem...
JPaul's picture

I say ignore the cynics.  My advice to beginners, relative or otherwise, is "Be Bold!!!"  If you want to be the "Master of Knitters", Dude, go for it!  Judging from your description of the dress you want to knit, you've got some design sense and vision.  You've knit 4 scarves, so you have experience.  How many scarves do you have to knit before you're qualified to knit a sweater or a dress?  There's knit and there's purl.  If you've got those figured out, the rest is variation.

Since you have a really good idea of what you are looking for, why not use some of the resources available to you in San Francisco.  Talk to the people who work at your favorite yarn store.  They are  experienced knitters, often designers as well.  If you go to ArtFibers in downtown San Francisco, they will sit down with you in front of a computer and whip up the design of your dreams.  They also sell the design software for $100 from their website.  Here is a link to a pattern on their website created with the software (called Knitscape) which, coincidentaly, is a sleeveless sweater dress, not unlike what you have described. 

You could even chart out the design yourself.  Knitting Architect is a great handbook to learn how to chart your own designs and there are some other great books on designing available.  Here's the link again for Knitting Architecth (the entire book is now available online!)

Finally, if you've got the time and inclination, find a group to knit with!  I've never been more inspired in my knitting than I have been since I started going to Monday Night Knit at the 3 Dollar Bill Cafe (Monday nights at 7pm at Octavia and Market in SF).  Great mix of people, skill levels, ideas, etc.  It's a really fun group.  Join us or find a group you like to knit with that inspires you.  And remember to have fun!

kiwiknitter's picture

Well said, John!  I try to remember to always approach my knitting with the Zen "beginner's mind" so that I never lose the fun or challenge.  I would add here my own opinion that there is only 1 stitch in knitting; knit or purl depends on how one views the same stitch.  All the different "stitches" are really only how one places this sole stitch.  Cheers!  Jesse

Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on.  ~Billy Connolly

Darrel's picture

An email from said:

Please tell him that has two free sweater dress patterns available. They are in a range of sizes and are very acceptable looking. One for winter and a sleeveless one for warmer times.

I come from a long line of knitters. YES, men too. After a certain age if you wanted new mittens or socks you made them yourself, according to my Grandpa, who would have been 86 this year. He was part of a large farming family ( 10 boys and 8 girls ), and said someone was always knitting. He and his brothers also said it came in handy when they had to darn their own socks during WWII.

Happy knitting!!!!


There was someting in the Men's Vogue Knit:1 magazine about knitting a top & adding fabric to the botttom & using a t shirt, sew some ric rac at the bottom & them add a knitted skirt!

My friend Jim Muzzi made a knitted top & added a fabric skirt for his daughter this Christmas it looked great. I thought that you could knit a top & then buy a dress from TK Maxx or Filene's & cut the skirt bit off & sew it to  the knitted top. 

Hope that helps.


Knit away, knit away

"They say best men are moulded out of faults; and, for the most, become much more the better for being a little bad." William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure