Little Wing

April 16, 2014

I have a free pattern to share with you today!  Little Wing is the first in a series of free doll knitting patterns that will be published over the next few months.   Just a little something sweet and simple you can make in a jiffy for your 18" doll.  The sweater is knit top down in dk weight yarn and easy enough for a beginner knitter.  It is open in the back and closes with snaps so it's manageable for little ones to dress dolly.  The sweater finishes at the bottom with a gentle gathered peplum.  I'm also including the pattern for the skirt.  Aww, I think she looks quite adorbs.

About the yarn:  Rowan Purelife Revive is a yarn I discovered this year with which I have become totally enamored.  It's a blend of recycled silk, cotton and viscose and knits to a dk weight at 22 stitches to 4 inches.  It is surprisingly easy to knit and makes the loveliest fabric with even tension.  I'm a fuss budget with needles, but I found that Revive was pretty easy going with woods, bamboos and my metal needles, although I ended up preferring my fast Addi Lace needles.  Knitting this little sweater will give you a good excuse to try out Revive!

Little Wing is the first of 5 doll knitting patterns I have in the works, (see below if you'd like to try some easy test knitting).  In the future look for a ruffly summer dress with matching bolero in Rowan Cotton Glace, an elegant winter coat in Kid Classic, a tweedy back to school vest and skirt in the great Felted Tweed, and a party dress in Rowan Pure Wool Worsted.  Oh my gosh, I've had fun with all of them!  All my patterns are EASY and they are always FREE.  I plan to have them published in plenty of time for Christmas gift knitting.  (But Christmas, that is ages away for goodness sake!)

If you have never tried knitting top down, knitting a tiny doll sweater will be a good introduction into this useful technique.  Since this has an opening in the back, you will be knitting back and forth, knitting stockinette in the traditional way, with knitting on the right side and purling on the wrong side but you will be knitting the garment in one piece.   I recommend using circulars, but because the sweater is small you will be able to fit all the stitches onto straights so they can be used if you prefer.  You will also learn how to create a gathered peplum.

By they way, Little Wing is named after a favorite Jimi Hendrix song.  Who could have ever guessed that so many years ago, a little 15 year old fan would one day become a grandmother who would be knitting for dolls.  Imagine that!  Makes me smile.

Below is the pattern, but if you'd like to download a PDF to print, go to this Rav link.
Little Wing
Will fit American Girl Doll or any 18" doll.

You will need:

1 skein Rowan Purelife Revive
4 stitch markers
Size US6 needles, straight or circulars, and optional dpns, or any size to get gauge
3 snaps

Gauge:  22 st. per 4 in.

Knitting Terms:

KFB:  Knit into the front and back of stitch: makes 2 stitches
pm:  place marker
co:  cast on
K2tog:  Knit two stitches together to make one stitch
K2tbl:  Knit two together through the back loop to make one stitch


Cast on 36 stitches as follows:  co 7, pm, co 6, pm, co 10, pm, co 6, pm, co 7

Rows 1 and 2:  K 
Row 3: (RS)  (K to one st. before marker, KFB, slip marker, KFB), repeat 3 times more (8 sts. inc.)
Row 4: (WS) K3, P to last 3 stitches, K3

Repeat rows 3 and 4 nine times more for a total of 10 increase rows.  Your stitch count is now:
17/26/30/26/17 for a total of 116 stitches.

Separate body and sleeve stitches:

Next row: With RS facing, knit to first marker, remove marker, place sleeve stitches on waste yarn, remove marker, knit front stitches, remove marker, place sleeve stitches on waste yarn, remove marker, knit to end. Now you have 64 body stitches with your sleeve stitches waiting on waste yarn.  You will get to the sleeves after the body is complete.

Knit stockinette stitch for 1 inch continuing with 3 garter stitches at each end. This garter stitch edge will create the placket.

Create peplum ruffle:

Next row, with RS facing, K3, (KFB, K1) to last 4 stitches, K4.  You now have 97 stitches.
Continue in stockinette stitch for 10 rows continuing 3 garter stitches at each end.
End with WS facing for next row.
Garter stitch hem:  Knit 2 rows
With WS facing, cast off knitwise


To knit flat:  Move sleeve stitches from waste yarn to needle.  CO 1 st., K to end, CO 1 st.  You now have 28 sts. including the 2 extra cast on stitches for seaming.  Knit stockinette stitch for 1 1/2 in., then dec. as follows:  K 2, K2tog, K to last 4 stitches, K2tbl, K2.  Knit stockinette for another 1 1/2 inches and repeat the decrease row.  Continue knitting stockinette for one more inch, the sleeve will be 4 inches long.  For garter stitch hem:  With WS facing for next row, K 2 rows.  With WS facing, cast off knitwise.  Repeat for other sleeve.  Seam sleeves and gap under arm and weave in any loose ends.

To knit sleeves in the round: Move sleeve stitches from waste yarn to DPNs, placing a marker at underarm center.  Do not cast on seaming stitches but do follow decrease shaping as above.  For the garter stitch hem, at 4" sleeve length, you will purl one row, knit one row, then cast off. 
Seam under arm gap and weave in any loose ends.

To finish:

Sew 3 snap closures to back opening as follows:  one at neck, one at beginning of peplum ruffle, and one centered between the two.  Block lightly if necessary, being careful not to block out the gathers.

Here is what the back will look like with the 3 stitch garter placket.

Matching Skirt:

This is so easy it's hardly a pattern! 

Cut a piece of fabric 7"x22" (you can make two skirts from 1/4 yd. fabric if you are lucky enough to have two granddaughters!)

Hem:  Sew a 1/4" folded hem.

Waistband:  Sew a 1/2" folded hem.  Pin a safety pin to a 10" length of elastic.  Thread through waistband, securing elastic at both ends.  Sew back seam and iron open.  That's all there is to it.  I don't have any more directions because it's truly that easy.

While this is a beginner pattern, it's fun for anyone who loves dolls and is a great chance to try out new yarn.  With this little series of doll garments I hope to introduce you to my favorite yarns and some easy techniques that you can incorporate into your knitting repertoire! 


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  1. Loved this Kristen!!!! Sweet outfit....she is fab. Also loved the Hendrix association. Life is a journey with lots of signposts along the way!!

    1. Aww, thank you Cindi! The Jimi connection...I get so moved when I think about music I loved as a teen!

  2. This is SUCH a beautiful American Girl doll sweater! I can't wait to make it – Lo will be thrilled. And Purelife Revive is so perfect for this. Wonderful job!

  3. The sweater and skirt are adorable. Your presentation is awesome.


  4. I want to knit this exactly as is! The yarn, the color and the pattern are all adorable! Thank you for making the pattern free.

  5. Going to start making this today, and my daughter is going to make the skirt! Thanks so much for offering the pattern! I would also love to be a test knitter for the other doll patterns. I have quite a stash of Rowan yarns that I would be happy to use! Just let me know. I am purl3 on Ravelry, if you want to message me that way as well! :)

    1. Thank you Sue! That is lovely. I will be in contact in a few weeks!

  6. I love this and would love to test knit doll clothes for you. I have sent you an email with my email. I also live in California. Libby

  7. This is great! I bought my granddaughter an 18" Madam Alexander that I will give her in a couple years and I want to have some hand made outfits to go with it. You can add me to your test knitters if you don't have enough already!

  8. This is so sweet. If you are still looking for knitting testers, I would like to test your doll clothes. Let me know if you need a tester now or another time.


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