Thursday 2 December 2010

How to knit a baby jumper

Today's How to comes from MrsMouse just in time for the wintry weather! Enjoy!

Last night, I was talking knitting with a friend. We're both late twenty-somethings, I have been knitting most of my life, she's recently come to it through her Grandmother's persistence that she should experience the joy of making something for her new baby (her first).

So far, my friend has enjoyed knitting scarves, but is unsure both on casting off and is put-off by the overwhelming nature of patterns.

This is the set of instructions (rather than a potentially more overwhelming pattern) I designed for her in order to make a jumper for her baby. These instructions should work on most children from birth (including preemie babies) to two years and may also work up to three for some children.

I have referred to the baby as "her" throughout, but the same instructions should work for a boy baby just as well.

To begin with, there's one tricky part - measuring the baby! You need 4 measurements:

1) For the width of the jumper you can pretty much just measure the waistband of one of her nappies and add 5cm each side.

2) Then you need the measure from her armpit to as long as you want (if you go to kind of mid thigh she'll still fit it when you've made it).

3) Next you want the measure of her shoulder to her middle fingertip if you can get it (if not go to her wrist and add 5cms).

4) Last, you want to measure the width of the cuff of the coat she's in now (will be about the same as the next size up for her in jumpers).

Once you've got those four measurements, it's dead easy:


a) Cast on enough stitches to get the width of the jumper.
If you want to, you can do 2-3cms of rib (k1,p1 along each row) or you can just knit in stocking stitch all the way up as per a scarf.

b) Keep going until it's the length of measurement 2.

c) If you have an even number of stitches, work out where the middle 4 are. If you have an odd number, it's 3.

On this next row, when you get to the middle 3 (or 4) cast them off. (Have put a note at bottom how to do this) Then keep going to the end of the row.

d) At the end of the row, cast on enough new stitches to get measurement 3.

e) Work just on this one sleeve (you can either just forget you have the others on the needle or grab a spare so you don't have to use the one they're on) until it's half the length of measurement 4. (or the nearest row heading towards the middle at about that point).

f) On this next row, when you get to the stitches that make the body part of the jumper (it should've started looking like a T shape by now so you should be able to tell which ones are sleeve and which are body) only knit half the body stitches and cast off the others (note at bottom). Cut off the yarn leaving a tail (easier to tidy up later).

g) Go back and make the other sleeve the same way.

h) When you get to this point, cut off the yarn so you leave a tail hanging (easier to tidy up later) and can start the yarn back at the beginning of the whole row again (both sleeves are now a whole row)

i) Work across one sleeve, then cast on as many stitches as you cast off at the neck edge, then work across the other sleeve.

j) knit all these stitches until the sleeve is the length of measurement 4.

k) Next row: Cast off the sleeve stitches, knit across the body section, cast off the sleeve stitches on the other side (note on casting off at end).

l) work the remaining stitches until this body panel is the same length as measurement 1 & cast off (note at end).

NB - If you go for the rib waistband at the start, you really need to do the same at the end too.

Fold the whole thing in half and sew the sides.

Casting off: (Called binding off in some patterns)

Knit first two stitches. Focusing just on those two stitches on their own needle, catch the back one and bring it over the one in front and drop it off the end of the needle. It should pull tight on the one that's left (but not too tight). Knit one more stitch and repeat. Keep repeating all the way across.

I quite like to add a blanket-stitch around the edge for decoration, but that's just my taste. You can easily visit sites such as,, or for free guides on how to decorate your knitting, with everything from stripes, to decorative embroidery. This can also seem overwhelming at first, I know, but once you've made your garment, it really is worth making the effort to make it look exactly as you pictured in your mind's eye, whether that's plain, or patterned.


  1. What a thorough post! Nice work, MrsMouse!

  2. well done Mrs Mouse! Love your shop name btw.

  3. Thanks guys - been feeling pretty low about Etsy/crafting etc since car died on way to fair yesterday - was just the right hing to hear!

  4. I don’t think many of websites provide this type of information.
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