Knitted vests are versatile layering pieces that you can wear year-round. From breezy summer vests to fitted fall layers, it’s hard to find an occasion when a vest isn’t a great option. And the best part is, they’re relatively easy to make! Here are 21 free vest knitting patterns for everyone, from beginners to expert knitters. Happy knitting!
Knitted Vest Patterns
Vests are fun to knit because they’re similar to sweaters but a bit quicker and easier since they don’t have sleeves. They’re the perfect wearable project for those who have some knitting experience but don’t feel like committing to a full sweater project.
Vests come in many styles, like open-front designs, pullovers, button fronts, v-necks, turtlenecks, and even hooded vests. You can wear them alone, over a t-shirt, layered with a button-up shirt, or under a coat.
Knitting Techniques to Know
Though knittings a vest is simpler than knitting a sweater, you’ll still need to know a handful of basic knitting techniques. Some of these include:
Not all of the skills listed above are required for every vest – check your individual pattern for more information.
Can a beginner knit a vest?
Yes, beginners can knit simple vest patterns once they know basic knitting techniques like casting on, binding off, and knit and purl stitches. Vests are fantastic for beginning knitters because they have simple shapes and no sleeves.
This simple vest is worked from the top down using a broken ribbed stitch. It features a cozy, mock turtleneck collar to help you stay warm on those chilly mornings. The pattern suggests a two-tone design, but of course, you can keep it a solid color if you prefer!
Whether bundling up for your favorite hiking trails, heading to the office, or staying in, this versatile slipover knit vest is a must-have! It’s easy to dress up with a collared undershirt or relax in with your favorite t-shirt. This easy pattern is suitable for both beginner and advanced knitters.
This gorgeous, crop top vest is perfect for wearing either layered in the winter or solo in the summer months. If you prefer a longer vest, it’s easy to lengthen the bottom hem. This bottom-up, slipped-stitch vest is available in six different sizes.
This super easy, sideways knit vest is like wearing a blanket that won’t slip off your shoulders! It’s open in the front so it’s easy to pull on and off when needed. Made using basic knit stitches and simple slit armholes, this is a perfect pattern for beginners.
You’ll adore this brioche stitch pattern with its deep ribbing and rich texture. It features gorgeous, feminine shaping, a snug turtleneck, and side slits that make it ideal for layering. This pattern is best for intermediate knitters.
This bold, modern knit sweater vest pattern features a v-neck and is a great beginner project. With this pattern, you can practice color changes using the stockinette and rib stitches. It’s available in six different sizes.
Perfect for the holidays and the cold, winter months, this turtleneck vest will warm you while providing a layered style for your favorite outfits. It features stockinette stitches with ribbed sides. The side slits also make it versatile to wear and flattering on many different body types.
Yarn weight: Worsted
Suggested yarn: Red Heart Super Saver Brushed Yarn
With a button-up front, a hood, flattering ribbing, and even pockets, this vest has it all! Throw it on over a t-shirt to run some errands or layer it under a coat for extra warmth. It’s available in seven different sizes.
Featuring European shoulders and a high, chunky neckline, this beautiful vest is incredibly cozy! If you need a review of any of the techniques used in this pattern, you’ll find plenty of video tutorials included with the pattern to help you out.
Wear it casually, or dress it up! This pattern features a ribbed v-neck, with additional ribbing along the sleeves and sides. This design includes a diagram as well as written instructions and is perfect for intermediate knitters.
Here’s a lovely, cable-knit design with a v-neck and slit sides. It’s knit with two strands held together and is worked in pieces, with sewn shoulders and buttons to fasten the sides. This pattern is best for those who have tried cable knitting before, but a video tutorial is included if you need a refresher.
This vest is knit using a DK-weight yarn, making it light and perfect for wearing on mild days. It features a stylish cable knit design and a v-neck that make it simple to dress up. This pattern is best for intermediate knitters.
This detailed pattern is worked in the round from the bottom up. It features an airy, diamond- motif pattern that works well for summer outfits or can be layered for colder weather. It also has a lovely, scalloped bottom edge for a finished look.
This intricate pattern is offered in a variety of sizes. It has cable panels and a v-neck that give this piece a professional look. There are some trickier techniques included in this design that make it best suited for advanced knitters.
Here’s a vintage vest with a sophisticated style. Wearing this lacy, button-up pattern, you’ll feel right at home strolling in the garden or sipping on a warm cup of tea. The cropped design makes it ideal for wearing with dresses, skirts, or high-waisted pants.
Enjoy layering over your favorite t-shirts with this simple tunic design. It has a mock turtleneck to keep you cozy and is comfortable for everyday wear. This pattern is one that you may find yourself making over and over!
This classic vest is both comfortable and eye-catching. Its lovely eyelet top and moss stitch hem make it unique while still offering a simple look. It can be made with or without fringed shoulders.
Yarn weight: Worsted
Suggested yarn: Patons Classic Wool Worsted
Tips for Knitting Vests
Take your measurements to choose the right size.
Most knitted vest patterns are available in a variety of sizes. Since you’ll want your vest to fit just right, it’s important to consult your pattern’s size chart before getting started. Take the time to take measurements so you can choose the best size option for you.
Make a gauge swatch.
After you’re confident that you’ve chosen the correct size, it’s time to knit up a gauge swatch. It may not feel fun at the moment when you just want to get started, but it will be SO worth it when you end up with a vest that actually fits well!
After knitting your gauge swatch, you can adjust your needle size up or down if needed to achieve the correct gauge.
Block the finished pieces.
After you’ve finished knitting, block your vest so it looks great and keeps its shape. To block your vest, soak or spritz it with water, pin it in the correct shape, and then let it dry.
More Knitting Patterns
If you love knitting, here are some more free patterns to take a look at.
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Sarah Stearns has helped millions of makers find their next craft project with free patterns and step-by-step tutorials on her blog, sarahmaker.com. Read more.
With over a decade of experience in knitting and crochet, she has been featured in prominent publications like The New York Times, Scientific American, Good Housekeeping, Vox, Apartment Therapy, and Lifehacker.