How to knit dog sweaters for beginners

It is a cool thing to knit your canine companion a sweater. Since you'll want a sweater that fits your dog without being too loose or tight, measure the length and girth of your dog. Determine the size of the sweater you will knit. Use the basic knit stitch to make a back piece and an underpiece. Then thread a large-eyed blunt needle and stitch the two pieces together to form the sweater. Because this simple dog sweater only relies on one type of stitch, it's great for beginners!

Measuring Your Dog and Checking Your Gauge

Use a measuring tape to measure your dog's neck, chest and length

Measure around your dog's neck leaving room for two fingers. To measure the chest, wrap the measuring tape around the widest part of your dog's ribcage. Write this number down which is the chest size. To measure the dog's length, hold the end of the measuring tape at the neck near the collar and pull it to the base of the tail. Write down this number.

Determine what size to make the sweater

The number of stitches you cast on and knit for the back and underpiece will depend on the size sweater you want to make. Look at your dog's measurements and see which size matches your dog the closest. For a finished size:

Small: 18-inch (45.5-cm) chest and 12-inch (30.5-cm) length

Medium: 22-inch (56-cm) chest and 17-inch (43-cm) length

Large: 26-inch (66-cm) chest and 20-inch (51-cm) length

Extra-large: 30-inch (76-cm) chest and 24-inch (61-cm) length

If your pet falls somewhere between two sizes, we advise ordering the larger of the two.

Buy enough yarn for your sweater

Look for super chunky yarn in a color that you like. To make a small, medium, or large sweater, you'll need 1 to 2 skeins that are 6 ounces (170 g) each. For an extra-large dog sweater, you'll need 2 to 3 skeins that are 6 ounces (170 g) each.

Choose size 13 US (9 mm) needles for the project.

Use whatever needles feel the most comfortable to you. Try bamboo, metal, plastic, or wooden needles. You'll also need a large-eyed blunt needle for assembling the back and underpiece of the sweater.

Check your gauge

To ensure that your sweater will knit true to size, you'll need to knit a sample that you can measure. Cast on 8 stitches and knit 16 rows to make a square swatch. Use a ruler to measure the the square. If your yarn and needles are appropriate for the pattern, your gauge will measure 4-inches (10-cm). If your gauge is too big, use needles that are smaller. If your gauge is too small, use larger needles.

Knitting the Back Piece

1. Cast on the stitches for the size sweater you're making

Use your size 13 US (9 mm) needles to cast on:

Small: 25 stitches

Medium: 31 stitches

Large: 37 stitches

Extra-large: 43 stitches

2. Work the next 7 to 16-inches (18 to 40.5-cm) in garter stitch

Once you've cast on your stitches, keep knitting each row to make the garter stitch. Continue the garter stitch until the back piece of the sweater measures:

Small: 7 inches (18 cm)

Medium: 12 inches (30.5 cm)

Large: 14 inches (35.5 cm)

Extra-large: 16 inches (40.5 cm)

3. Work a decreasing row

Once the back piece is as long as you want it, you'll need to decrease the stitches so the piece narrows. Knit 1 stitch and then stitch together the next 2 stitches. This will combine them into a single stitch so the row decreases a little. Keep knitting each stitch until you reach the last 3 stitches on the needle. Knit 2 of them together and then knit the final stitch.

The narrow end of the piece will be near the dog's collar.

4. Garter stitch the next 3 rows

Continue to knit every stitch for the next 3 rows to make the garter stitch.

5. Work 1 decreasing row

To gradually make the back piece smaller again, knit the first stitch and then stitch together the next 2. Continue to knit until you reach the last 3 stitches on the needle. Combine 2 stitches to make 1 and then knit the final stitch on the needle.

6. Alternate garter stitch rows with decreasing rows

Knit 3 more rows and then work another decreasing row. Repeat this 3 more times if you're making a small or medium sweater. If you're making a large sweater, you'll need to repeat this 4 times, and if you're knitting an extra-large sweater, repeat it 6 times. Once you've finished the decreasing rows, you should have this many stitches on your needles:

Small: 15 stitches

Medium: 21 stitches

Large: 25 stitches

Extra-large: 27 stitches

7. Bind off the back piece

To remove the finished back piece from your needles, knit the first 2 stitches. Insert the tip of the left needle into the stitch that's closer to you on the right needle. Pull that stitch over so that it's in front of the second stitch. Drop it off the right needle. Keep knitting 1 stitch from the left needle onto the right and then lifting the stitch over the stitch in front of it until you have just 1 stitch left on the left needle

8. Cut the yarn and knot the last stitch

Cut the yarn so you have a 5-inch (12-cm) tail. Loosen the last stitch on the needle to enlarge the hole. Loop the tail through the hole and remove the knitting needle. Pull the yarn tight to knot the yarn.

You should now have a finished back piece that's off of the needles.

Knitting the Underpiece

1. Cast on enough stitches for the size sweater you're making

To make the underpiece for the sweater, use your needles to cast on:

Small: 11 stitches

Medium: 13 stitches

Large: 15 stitches

Extra-large: 17 stitches

2. Work the next 4 1/2 to 10 3/4-inches (11.5 to 27.5-cm) in garter stitch

To make the garter stitch, knit each row until the underpiece of the sweater measures:

Small: 4 1/2 inches (11.5 cm)

Medium: 7 1/4 inches (18.5 cm)

Large: 10 1/4 inches (26 cm)

Extra-large: 10 3/4 inches (27.5 cm)

3. Work a decreasing row

Knit the first stitch and then knit the next 2 stitches together to make just 1 stitch. Keep knitting the rest of the stitches until there are only 3 stitches remaining on the left needle. Knit 2 of the stitches together to decrease a stitch and then knit the last stitch.

4. Garter stitch the next 4 rows

Keep knitting every stitch for the next 4 rows.

5. Work another decreasing row

To make the underpiece narrow near the collar, knit the first stitch and stitch together the next 2 to make 1 stitch. Keep knitting until you reach the last 3 stitches on the needle. Knit together 2 stitches to make 1 and then knit the last stitch on the needle.

6. Alternate garter stitch rows with decreasing rows

Knit 5 more rows and then work another decreasing row. Repeat this 2 more times if you're making a small sweater or 3 times for a medium sweater. If you're making a large sweater, you'll need to repeat this 4 times and if you're knitting an extra-large sweater, repeat it 5 times. 

7. Bind off the underpiece

Remove the finished underpiece from your needles by knitting the first 2 stitches. Insert the tip of the left needle into the stitch that's closer to you on the right needle. Lift that stitch over so that it's in front of the second stitch. Drop the stitch off the right needle.

8. Finish casting off the final stitch

Continue to knit 1 stitch from the left needle onto the right and then lift the stitch over the stitch in front of it. Keep doing this until you have just 1 stitch left on the left needle.

9. Cut the yarn and knot the last stitch

Cut the yarn to make a 5-inch (12-cm) tail. Pull the last stitch on the needle a little to make the hole bigger. Loop the yarn tail through the hole and slide out the knitting needle. Pull the yarn tight to knot it.

You should now have a finished underpiece that's a little smaller and narrower than the back piece.

Assembling the Dog Sweater

1. Thread the large-eyed blunt needle 

Pull about 18-inches (45-cm) of yarn and thread it through the large-eyed blunt needle. Use the same thread that you used to knit the pieces of the sweater.

2. Line up the back piece and underpiece

Lay the back and underpiece on top of each other so the right (front) sides are facing each other. Line up the edges evenly.

3. Sew together the back and underpiece

Insert the large-eyed blunt needle into the narrow side that you cast off. Sew the sides together and repeat this for the opposite side of the sweater. To ensure that you leave room for the dog's front legs, keep sewing the pieces together for:

Small: 2 inches (5 cm)

Medium: 2 1/2 inches (6.5 cm)

Large: 3 inches (7.5 cm)

Extra-large: 3 1/2 inches (9 cm)

4. Leave an open space for the legs

To keep space for the legs, stop sewing and leave the next several inches open. Leave:

Small: 3 inches (7.5 cm)

Medium: 3 1/2 inches (9 cm)

Large: 4 inches (10 cm)

Extra-large: 4 1/2 inches (11.5 cm)

5. Sew the remaining length of the sweater on both sides

To seam the back and underpiece together, finish sewing the pieces until you reach the end. Tie off the last stitch and cut the thread. Turn the sweater inside out to hide the seams and put it on your dog.


Post time: Aug-16-2022