Here is an offering - an original knitting design (yes, designed by me) based on some classic dress designs for children and adapted for knitting (and my tastes). To be honest, I also had the urge to use up some yarn I had laying around and this seemed the perfect use of it.
With some extra yarn I had laying around the house and a little girl anxious for a new dress I designed this A-line jumper with simple color-pattern details and a matching tam. This is a fairly quick project which looks impressive but is easy to modify to suit your (or your child’s) tastes and moods. I like old-fashioned but timeless looking clothing for my daughter and have found that the best way to achieve this look is by designing and sewing and/or knitting the clothing myself. We live in the Pacific Northwest where it is damp and cool for a lot of the year. Wool is the fiber of choice for my outdoor girl – it can get damp, or even wet, and still feel warm. I only knit jumpers (versus dresses with sleeves) because while it is cool here it is rarely cold and I want to be able to choose her blouse or shirt to correspond with the weather or circumstances.
Photo credit [model/Samara, photographer/Ellen Lebitz]
Children’s size 4[6, 8]
Chest: 24[26,28] inches
Length: 24.25[26.75, 29.25] inches
To fit head sizes: 20.5[21, 21.5] inches
[MC] Lion Brand Yarn Fishermen’s Wool [100% wool; 465 yd/425 m per 8 oz/227 g skein]; color: Nature’s Brown; 1 [2, 2] skeins
[CC1] Patons Classic Wool [100% wool; 223 yd/205 m per 3.5 oz/100g skein]; color: Natural mix; 1 [1, 1] skein
[CC2] Patons Classic Wool [100% wool; 223 yd/205 m per 3.5 oz/100g skein]; color: Cognac heather; 1 [1, 1] skein
1 set(s) US #3/3.25mm double-point needles
16-inch US #3/3.25mm circular needle
24-inch US #3/3.25mm circular needle
4 markers, one a different color
Stitch holders or contrasting yarn and yarn needle to hold stitches
Sharp yarn needle for weaving in loose ends
16 sts/23.5 rows = 4" in stockinette stitch
This pattern has two optional features inspired by the designs of Elizabeth Zimmermann; the phoney seam and the afterthought pocket. The phoney seam is described at the appropriate place in the pattern and the afterthought pocket is described at the end.
The pattern also features applied I-cord trim, also described at the end of the pattern.
Jumper [beginning at the bottom of the main part]
With MC and circular needles CO 120[128, 136] sts and join being careful not to twist.
Rnds 1 – 2: With MC k.
Rnds 3 – 7: K pattern as indicated in chart A.
Rnds 8 – 11: With MC k, using markers to define front and bac with 3 “side seam” sts as follows:
(beginning of rnd)K2, marker, K57[61, 65] for back of garment, marker, k3, marker, k57[61, 65] for front of garment, marker, k1 (end of rnd)
For size 4:
Rnd 12 (and all future inc rnds): K2, pass marker, SSK, k to within two sts of marker, k2tog, pass marker, k3, pass marker, SSK, k to within two sts of marker, k2tog, k1 (116 sts).
Rnds 13 – 55: K every rnd, dec (as in rnd 12) in rnds 23, (112 sts), 34 (108 sts), 45 (104 sts).
For size 6:
Rnd 14 (and all future inc rnds): K2, pass marker, SSK, k to within two sts of marker, k2tog, pass marker, k3, pass marker, SSK, k to within two sts of marker, k2tog, k1 (124 sts).
Rnds 15 – 63: K every rnd, dec (as in rnd 14) in rnds 27, (112 sts), 39 (108 sts), 51 (112 sts).
For size 8:
Rnd 16 (and all future inc rnds): K2, pass marker, SSK, k to within two sts of marker, k2tog, pass marker, k3, pass marker, ssk, k to within two sts of marker, k2tog, k1 (132 sts).
Rnds 17 – 71: K every rnd, dec (as in rnd 16) in rnds 31, (112 sts), 45 (108 sts), 59(120 sts).
Note: Optional “phoney seam” is inserted at this point. See pattern notes. rnd 56[64, 72]: With CC1, k 1 rnd
Rnd 57[65, 73]: With CC1, k, dec as in rnd 12 (100[108, 116] sts).
Rnds 58 – 66[66 – 74, 74 – 82]: K in pattern indicated in chart B.
Rnds 67 – 68[75 – 76, 83 – 84]: With CC1, k.
Rnd 69[77, 83]: Change to MC, k, dec as in rnd 12[14, 16] (96[104, 112] sts).
Rnds 70 – 83[89,95]: K.
Rnd 84[90,96]: K90[98,106], p6.
Rnd 85[91,97]: P7, k35[39,43], p13, k41[45,49].
Rnd 86[92,98]: K89[97,105], p7.
Rnd 87[93,99]: P8, k33[37,41], p15, k40[44,48].
Rnd 88: K88[96,104], p4, p4 and put sts on holder.
Rnd 89: P5 and put sts on holder with previous for sts, p4, k31[35,39], p4, p9 and put on holder.
Beginning of back of bodice:
Right side facing and continuing is same direction as above:
Row 1: P4, k to end of row (39[43,47] sts), turn (you will now be working back and forth. The other 39[43,47] sts for the front of the bodice can be put on a thread or holder for later).
Row 2: (For first stitch of every remaining row worked back and forth slip with the yarn in front, move yarn to back and proceed with row) Slip 1, k2tog, k2, p to within 4 sts of end of row, k4, turn (38[42,46] sts).
Row 3: Slip 1, k2tog, k to end of row, turn (37[41,45] sts).
Row 4: Slip 1, k2tog, k to end of row, turn (36[40,44] sts).
Row 5: Slip 1, k2tog, k to end of row, turn (35[39,43] sts).
Row 6: Slip 1, k2tog, k to end of row, turn (34[38,42] sts).
Row 7: Slip 1, k2tog, k to end of row, turn (33[37,41] sts).
Row 8: Slip 1, k2tog, k7, k13[17,21] and put on holder, k10, turn.
Now working back and forth on strap with right side facing knitter:
Row 1: Slip 1, k2tog, k7, turn (9 sts).
Row 2: Slip 1, k2tog, k6, turn (8 sts).
Rows 3 – 32: K every row with no shaping, remembering to slip the first stitch of every row.
Put sts on holder and work the second back strap similarly.
Front of bodice
Put the 39[43,37] sts for the front bodice from the holder onto a needle and with the right side facing the knitter:
Row 1: Slip 1, k2tog, k to end of row, turn (38[42,46] sts).
Row 2: Slip 1, k2tog, k2, p to within last 4 sts, k4, turn (37[41,45] sts).
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until 33[37,41] sts remain and then work even (without dec) for 7 more garter ridges (14 rows) ending with a right-side row.
Beginning with wrong side facing kter:
Row 1: Slip 1, k3, p4, k17[21,25], p4, k4, turn.
Row 2: Slip 1, k to end of row, turn.
Row 3: Slip 1, k3, p3, k19[23,27], p3, k4, turn.
Row 4: Slip 1, k to end of row, turn.
Row 5: Slip 1, k3, p2, k4, k13[17,21] and put on holder, k4, p2, k4, turn.
With right side facing knitter:
Row 1: Slip 1, k to end of row, turn (10 sts).
Row 2: Slip 1, k2tog, k2, p1, k4, turn (9 sts).
Row 3: Slip 1, k to end of row, turn.
Row 4: Slip 1, k2tog, k to end of row, turn (8 sts).
Rows 5 – 12: K every row with no shaping, remembering to slip the first stitch of every row.
Put sts on holder and work the second front strap similarly remembering to do the shaping only on the neck edge.
From bottom edge of skirt PU 120[128,136] of the CO sts and work back and forth as follows:
Row 1: [K2, m1] repeat to end, turn.
Rows 2 - 20: K, turn.
CO and use mattress stitch to sew seam.
Join the front and back straps using 3-needle cast off.
Finishing openings with applied I-cord:
Slipping the first stitch of each back and forth row with the yarn in front creates a pretty braided edge which conveniently supplies one “stitch” to be picked up for every two rows (every one garter row) which is perfect for applied I-cord. For the neck opening begin at the middle back and pick up 8 or so “live” stitches from the holder as well as a couple of edge stitches and make applied I-cord trim. Continue around opening picking up one thread of each braided edge stitch (one stitch every two rows or every one garter ridge). Continue around neck, picking up live stitches at front of neck opening and then up and down the next strap until you come to where you began. Graft the beginning and the end together.
Similarly finish the armholes beginning at the middle of the underarm. The I-cord keeps the straps from stretching too much from the weight of the dress.
Make an EZ afterthought pocket by snipping one stitch where you want the center of the top of the pocket to begin. I did my pocket 4 rows below and 12 stitches over from the side seam on the front of the dress. Unravel 8 stitches (for on each side of the snip) on top and bottom.
With the 8 stitches on the bottom of the opening knit a placket in garter stitch for 3 ridges. Cast off and tack down sides.
With the stitches from the top edge plus one stitch picked up from each edge of the opening (10 stitches total) knit in stockinette stitch keeping first 2 stitches in garter stitch and increasing 1 stitch at the beginning of each row 6 times (16 stitches). Knit for 2.5 inches total keeping first two stitches in garter stitch. Knit 3 ridges in garter stitch.
Tuck pocket to the inside of the dress and tack down edges and “live” bottom stitches.
Put the pocket on the front bodice. The placket can be knit in one of the contrast colors.
To lengthen the dress as your child grows, add length via the ruffle. Just pick up the cast off stitches and make a few more rows.
Beginning at bottom edge with 16 inch circular needle and CC1 CO 74[76, 78] sts. Knit back and forth in garter stitch for 3 ridges. With right sides facing join to knit around, being careful not to twist.
Knit 2 rows in CC1.
Next 9 rounds: With CC1 and CC2, knit pattern C.
Next: With CC1, knit 2 rounds.
Size 4: With MC, m1*k2, m1*37 times around (112 stitches).
Size 5: With MC, k2*k2, m1*36 times, k2 (112 stitches).
Size 6: With MC, m1, k1, m1, k1, m1*k2, m1*38 times (119 stitches).
For all sizes: With MC work even for 2[2, 2.5] inches.
Rnd 1:*K15[15,16], k2tog* around (105[105, 112] sts).
Rnd 2: Knit.
Rnd 3: *K14[14,15], k2tog* around (98[98, 105] sts).
Rnd 4: Knit.
Rnd 5: *K13[13, 14], k2tog* around (91[91,98] sts).
Rnd 6: Knit.
Rnd 7: *K12[12, 13], k2tog* around (84[84, 91] sts).
Rnd 8: Knit.
Switch to double pointed needles when necessary, and decrease as above every remaining round until there are seven stitches remaining. Cut yarn, feed tail through remaining stitches and pull tight. Weave loose end in well.
Make pompom in MC and sew onto top.
Dampen and block over a plate or other circular base.
ABOUT THE DESIGNER
A friend in graduate school gave Ellen her first knitting lessons as a birthday gift over 20 years ago. Along with that gift came a used book discarded from the library on the topic of traditional knitting. Both gifts have been used on an almost daily basis ever since! When Ellen isn’t knitting (and sometimes even when she is) she can be found hanging out with her family on their farm in the Pacific NW.