If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may have read my sordid tale of yarn ordering difficulty, in which I ended up with pink yarn (coincidentally, my least favorite color) where I had ordered orange yarn. I then owned 400 grams of pink sport weight yarn that I had no idea what to do with, and so began searching for patterns. When searching for a simple dress or tunic pattern I could easily edit for my daughter, I came across this adorable (and free!) “Maxi Top/Dress for babies” by Elena Nodel. The sizes go up to 24 months, which happened to be the size I needed, and the pattern creator explained that she specifically wrote this and one other baby dress pattern to provide people with a simple dress pattern they can easily edit for their own use. In other words, it was exactly what I was looking for! Of course, the pattern calls for double-knit weight yarn whereas I had sport weight yarn, so I had to do a little mathematical editing anyway in order to make up for the differences between our gauges, but I was very pleased with the end result.
(Well, I was pleased as far as design is concerned. The yarn itself still leaves something to be desired, having been 100% cellulose and therefore too heavy and stretchy for the type of garment for which I used it. It would have been better to use a different yarn, but the whole purpose of this exercise was to use up this yarn, as mentioned above, so I had little choice. In future, if using 100% plant fiber yarn, I would string along nylon thread to help the garment hold its shape. I just want to be very clear that the original pattern’s designer, Elena Nodel, can’t be held responsible for my poor yarn choice. Her pattern calls for animal fiber yarns.)
My only criticism (if you can call it that) of the pattern is that it comes out a bit bigger than one would anticipate, even with the correct gauge. This is not necessarily a bad thing or a fault with the pattern. Different brands will fit children differently—e.g., a “24 month” Gymboree might fit a certain child while a “24 month” Carter’s will not—and when gifting children’s or babies’ clothing to someone else, you never know whether the recipient is using the smaller-fitting brands or the larger-fitting brands. Therefore, when converting any handmade garments, whether sewn or knitted, to conventional sizes, you must always accept room for error. I usually use Craft Yarn Council standards and I find that their standards are very similar to the clothing my daughter wears—i.e., if my daughter is wearing 24 month clothing and I knit something to 24 month sized Craft Yarn Council standards, it fits her perfectly (note: my daughter wears clothing of many different brands from the U.S. and Japan, so I’m not comparing to just one or two brands when I make this statement). The aforementioned Maxi Top/Dress pattern comes out significantly larger than Craft Yarn Council standards for all of the sizes in question, and so the end result of the 24 month size, even adjusted for gauge, is that it’s more of a 3T size. Therefore, my daughter’s Maxi Top is a little too large for her at this time. It’s not really an issue as she’ll grow into it, but I just wanted to mention this in case it does make a difference for someone.
I ended up knitting pants to match and I loved the end result so much that I decided to share it here on my blog for anyone interested in creating matching pants to go with the top. It’s a casual shape, knitted top-down with minimal seaming (a tiny bit of the waistband and the crotch). I decided to use the same fit as the top, and therefore the 24 month pants I created are, in my opinion, really a 3T. Nevertheless, if you knit the 24 month top and the 24 month pants, you can trust that they will probably fit the recipient at the same time (allowing, of course, for differences in babies’ and children’s body shapes). At this time, the pants fit my daughter if I roll down the waistband, but because the top is too large, I’ve put the pants away for now as well. I’m glad I knitted her something that she’ll have to grow into—especially as compared to the risk that I might have knitted something too small for her—but I wanted to make note of the fact of sizing discrepancy in case it’s an issue for someone using this pattern.
I want to specifically mention that the pants are designed with the same fit and positive easing as the top/dress pattern. In other words, excepting differences in body shapes, if you knit the 24 month top, you should knit the 24 month pants to match.
Please note only the 24 month size has been tested.
So without further ado, here is the pants pattern, provided in DK weight yarn to match the original top/dress pattern and with the same gauge as the original pattern.
(I apologize for the formatting here. A pdf download of this pattern is available on Ravelry.)
- Yarn Weight: DK / 8 ply (11 wpi)
- Needle Size: US 6 (4.0 mm)
- Gauge: 5.5 sts and 7.25 rows per in or 22 sts and 29 rows per 4 in / 10 cm
- Sizes Available: NB to 24 months
- Errata: elastic band 0.5 inches or 1.25 cm width
(To match the original pattern, the hip has 1 inch / 2.5 cm positive ease, but for a very relaxed/casual fit on the legs, the thighs have 2 inches / 5 cm positive ease.)
For NB (3 mo, 6 mo, 9 mo, 12 mo, 18 mo, 24 mo)
- Holding two strands, CO 105 (105, 110, 112, 114, 118, 118) sts, turn
- begin double knitting:
- Row 1: (bring both strands to back, k1 MC, bring both strands to front, p1 CC), rep to end*
- Row 2: (bring both strands to back, k1 CC, bring both strands to front, p1 MC), rep to end*
*Note: In double-knitting, if you desire a single fabric, you work in this manner, but use both strands to k2tog at the first two and last two sts; this connects the edges. However, if making a tube that is open on both ends, you simply work in the above described manner straight across. The holes on each end are important in this case because that’s where you’ll weave in the elastic for the waistband.
- Continue until fabric measures 0.5 inches / 1.25 cm (approx. 4 rows)
- ssk across
- Cut elastic band to 17.5 (17.5, 18.5, 18.875, 19.25, 20, 20) inches or 44.5 (44.5, 47, 48, 48.9, 50.8, 50.8) cm. Weave through the waistband*. Overlap the ends of the elastic band by 0.5 inches or 1.25 cm and sew together.
*NOTE: You REALLY want to weave it through now rather than later so you can see whether you’ve accidentally crossed the yarns during your double-knitting, which would make it impossible to weave the elastic band through. If you don’t do it now and you find out after you’ve knitted quite a bit more of the garment, you’re not going to want to frog the whole thing to fix it. If you do it now, you won’t have to frog very much to fix the problem.
- join to knit in the round, pm (beginning of round or “BOR” marker)
- k1 rnd while increasing 5 (5, 6, 6, 4, 4, 8) sts evenly and pm (hind marker or “HM”) after stitch number 83 (83, 87, 89, 89, 92, 95). Total: 110 (110, 116, 118, 118, 122, 126) sts.
Short Row Shaping
- Row 1: k 10 (10, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11) sts, w&t, p to HM, p 10 (10, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11) sts, w&t, k to HM
- Row 2: k 20 (20, 21, 21, 21, 22, 23) sts, w&t, p to HM, p 20 (20, 21, 21, 21, 22, 23) sts, w&t, k to HM
- Row 3: k 30 (30, 32, 32, 32, 33, 34) sts, w&t, p to HM, p 30 (30, 32, 32, 32, 33, 34) sts, w&t, k to HM
- Row 4: k 40 (40, 42, 43, 43, 44, 46) sts, w&t, p to HM, p 40 (40, 42, 43, 43, 44, 46) sts, w&t, k to HM
- K 27 (27, 29, 29, 29, 30, 31) sts, pm (front marker or “FM”), k to end of rnd
- Paper Diapers: Work St st until combined lengths of front and back* measures 12.75 (13.5, 14.75, 15.5, 15.5, 16.75, 16.75) inches or 32.5 (34.25, 37.5, 39.5, 39.5, 42.5, 42.5) cm.
- Cloth Diapers: Work St st until combined lengths of front and back* measures 12.75 (14.5, 16, 17.5, 18.5, 20.25, 22) inches or 32.5 (37, 40.5, 44.5, 47, 51.5, 56) cm.
*Note that the back will be longer than the front due to the short row shaping, so you have to measure both to get the current total length of the rise.
- Rnd 1: k to FM, increase 1 st on each side of FM, k to HM, increase 1 st on each side of HM, k to end of rnd
- Rnd 2: k around
- Rep Rows 1-2 two more times.
- Total: 122 (122, 128, 130, 130, 134, 138) sts.
Dividing the Legs
- k to 2 sts before FM, BO 4 sts (removing marker as you come to it), k to 2 sts before HM (and place these sts on scrap yarn or stitch holders), BO 4 sts (removing marker as you come to it), k to end of rnd. Total: 57 (57, 60, 61, 61, 63, 65) sts for each leg. Remove BOR marker.
- Note: the first leg you will work is the right leg. The left leg will remain on scrap yarn or stitch holders until you’re finished with the right leg.
Joining & Decreasing
NOTE: You will work the decreases listed below, followed by St st, until 1.25 inches or 3.25 cm less than the preferred length as measured from the crotch. (See beginning of pattern for recommended lengths.) Especially for shorts for the smaller sizes like NB, you may find that in order to fit all the decreases, you have to knit a greater length than desired. In such a case, just work the decreases until you’ve reached the desired length and be sure to end with an even number of stitches. The circumference of the legs really isn’t that critical, so don’t worry about it!
Sizes NB to 12 mo only:
- Rnd 1: k to 3 sts before inseam/crotch, sl1, k2tog, psso, pm (this is the new BOR marker), join to knit in the round. Total: 55 (55, 58, 59, 59) sts.
- Rnd 2: k3tog, k to end of rnd. Total: 53 (53, 56, 57, 57) sts.
- Rep Rnds 1 and 2: 2 (1, 1, 0, 0) more time(s). Total: 45 (49, 52, 57, 57) sts.
- Rnd 3: k to 2 sts before marker, k2tog. Total: 44 (48, 51, 56, 56, 62, 64) sts.
- Rnd 4: ssk, k to end of rnd. Total: 43 (47, 50, 55, 55, 61, 63) sts.
- Rep Rnds 3 and 4: 1 (1, 2, 2, 0, 0, 1) more time(s). Total: 41 (45, 46, 51, 55, 61, 61) sts.
- Rep Rnd 3: 1 (1, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1) more time(s). Total: 40 (44, 46, 50, 54, 60, 60) sts.
- Work St st until 1.25 inches or 3.25 cm less than preferred length as measured from crotch. (See beginning of pattern for recommendations.)
Work hemline as indicated in original pattern, modified for a shorter hemline:
Hemline Option 1 (8 rnds, 1.1 in, 2.9 cm)
Change to CC:
(k1 rnd, p1 rnd) x 4
Hemline Option 2 (9 rnds, 1.25 in, 3.25 cm)
Change to CC:
Rnd 1: k 1 rnd
Rnd 2: work 1×1 rib
Rnd 3: *k1, pbaf* to end of rnd
Rnd 4-5: work 1×2 rib
Rnd 6: *k1, pbaf, p1* to end of rnd
Rnd 7-9: Work 1×3 rib
BO in pattern
JOIN YARN AND REPEAT above instructions for second leg.
Use yarn tail from CO to seam closed the hole at the waistband and weave in the end.
Use yarn tail from joining yarn for the second leg to seam together the hole in the crotch and weave in the end.