Basic doll's knitted vest tutorial

4 Feb 2010


Here we go.
This little doll is Pip and she is adorable.
She's Kate's doll and she is going to be our model for this tutorial.

I know lots of you have either bought a little jenny wren doll or have made a doll of your own and you would like some ideas for new clothes for your doll.
Do you remember when you used to make or try to make clothes for your dolls when you were a little girl.
If you were anything like me you jumped straight in and just made it up as you went along often just cutting out or knitting squares and rectangles.
Well, if you did you were on the right track.


This little vest is just two garter stitch squares joined together at the side seams and across one shoulder.


To make this you need to be able to

cast on,

cast off and

do knit ( plain or garter) stitch.

This site has a series of videos that will teach you the basics.
The casting on method that I use is the Knitting-On method.

For Pip's vest I have used 8ply ( DK ) wool yarn

and 4mm ( UK 8, US 6) needles.

I used less than half a 50g ( 2oz) ball.

Now Pip is 30cm ( 12") tall, and she measures about 22cm ( 8 1/2") around the chest.

I used 24 stitches, I am a medium tension knitter.
If you are not sure that you have enough or too many stitches knit a couple of rows and then measure across to see if it about half the chest circumference.


Because we are knitting in garter stitch the maximum stretch is from top to bottom rather than side to side as it is with stocking stitch so the width measurement of the knitting will be fairly accurate to the final fitting size with a little give or ease.

All you need to do is to knit two squares of 24 stitches
I needed to knit 40 rows.

So cast on 24 stitches ( or your required number), knit 40 rows ( or the number you need to make a square) and then cast off.
Repeat for the second square

You count the bumps on both sides of you knitting to see how many rows you have done, 20 bumps on each side.

There is no need to block your work and don't worry too much if the sides of your squares are a little wobbly, you will improve with practise.
Oh and leave long tails when you cast on and off, you can use them to stitch up your vest.

Now the cast on edge is the bottom and the cast off edge is the top.
Mark half way on each side, place one square on top of the other.
There is no right or wrong side with these squares.


Stitch the two pieces together up to the half way mark.


The open seam above halfway is the armhole.
Big armholes are good, it makes it easier for the child to dress their doll.


Now measure the width of the square, divide the upper edge into thirds and mark with pins.


Sew one shoulder seam from the edge across to the pin marker.


OK , so that is all the seams done.
Turn the vest right side out.


Pretty cute hey.


The last thing to do is to make some kind of fastening on the open shoulder seam.


I stitched a button on and made a button loop by crocheting a small chain.
I placed the button in the middle of the open shoulder seam.





You could also make a little yarn plait ( braid) and stitch that on, or a piece of ribbon.

You could stitch two small buttons on and just push them through the knitting, no button holes needed.

You could stitch two lengths of chain stitch crochet or pieces of ribbon or plaited yarn and have a tie closure rather than a button.

It's best to avoid using buttons if your child is three or under because it may be a choking hazard and regularly check that the button is secure if you have other little ones in the house.

Now you are done.


So easy and already you are thinking about the possibilities.

You could do some decorative blanket stitch around the the neck and armholes.

You could add some stripes to the squares.

If you know how to do purl you could make the square in moss stitch or you could do a band of garter stitch across the top and bottom of the squares and then stocking stitch in between.

You could look at some of those dishcloth patterns and perhaps work a motif into the middle of the square.

You could embroider a flower or two onto the front of the vest.

Maybe you could even make a bigger version for your baby or toddler.

You might also be wondering about how we can add a bit more shape to the vest to give a more tailored fit or you have had an idea about how to add sleeves to this basic vest and turn it into a jumper ( sweater) or cardigan.
Don't worry we will cover that in future tutorials.


You see, you're on your way already to being a knitwear designer and in the meantime you have a lovely , warm vest for your child's favourite doll.

A perfect first project for the beginner knitter and so much more satisfying to make than the ubiquitous scarf that never gets finished.

5 Responses to “Basic doll's knitted vest tutorial”

  1. Wow, this was fantastic Jenny, and the possibilities are endless.

    Thank you


  2. Hi Jenny! Good stuff, I am particularly looking forward to knowing how to sew for dolls.

  3. Thanks so much for taking the time to post this. It is lovely. I plan on making one for my little one's dolly.


  4. so generous! thank you; we will set to work, outfitting our dolls with new spring vests!

  5. Hi Jenny!

    Thanks for the link to my little store on your knitting post! Didn't even notice you had done that until I came back here to visit your turtorial. Still waiting for Christmas for Lucie to come out of hiding (after peeping out that first time).



Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.