5 Hour Knit Baby Sweater – A Little Smaller!


Several months ago I shared my version of a classic pattern for a knit baby sweater that can be made quickly – in just 5 hours! It’s been a popular free knitting pattern here on my blog and I’m so glad that others have found this to be a fun and enjoyable project too.

Another thing that makes this pattern a favorite is that it can be made with a basic worsted weight yarn (those types of yarn labeled as “4” ) which are the most common yarns sold.  BUT there are also lots of lovely yarns (especially for baby projects) that are a lighter weight that used to be called DK weight and is now usually labeled as “3”.  A reader recently emailed me asking – was it possible to use that lighter weight yarn for the 5 hour baby sweater knitting pattern?

My answer?  Yes!  You’ll just end up with a super cute tinier sized sweater, and tiny newborns need sweaters too!

Free knitting pattern for a 5 hour baby sweater. Includes a simple adaptation to make it in a newborn size too!

I know this first hand because my second grandbaby came along a few weeks early, weighing in at 5 lbs and 12 oz.   The 5 hour baby sweater I had knit for her (which is about a 6 month size) was way too big! And it was the middle of January and I really wanted to make her a little sweater that would fit her right away.

So . . . I went down one size in the needle to a size 6, used a size 3 weight yarn, and other than that followed the 5 hour baby sweater pattern as written.

And I was very pleased with how it turned out!

homemade baby sweaters knit by hand

Those two small changes resulted in a very cute tiny sweater that was just perfect for a newborn.  In fact she wore it for the next 8 weeks or so and it worked wonderfully.  My daughter estimated the size of that sweater to be about a 0 – 3 month size and would fit a baby up to about 10 or 12 lbs.

Using the size 6 needles gave me a sweater that was about 8″ long and 16″ around, just a smidge smaller than the original pattern (that makes a finished sweater 10″ long and 20″ around).  In the picture below where the little sweater is laying on top of the other sweater, you can see that it is just a bit smaller all the way around.   (The yarn I used for the small sweater is Lion Brand Baby Soft yarn in Twinkle).

Free knitting pattern for a 5 hour baby sweater. Includes a simple adaptation to make it in a newborn size too!

I’ve updated my free printable pattern for the 5 hour baby sweater to include this additional piece of info.   Just remember:

Size 6 Needles and “3” weight yarn = 0 – 3 month size (approx 8″ long, 16″ around)
Size 7 Needles and “4” weight yarn = 6 month size (approx 10″ long, 20″ around)

And finally, our little sweetie even wore her tiny newborn sweater in one of her first photo shoots.  If you want to be prepared with a very tiny sweater for a newborn, this small adaptation to the pattern might be just the easy adjustment you’re looking for.

Free knitting pattern for a 5 hour baby sweater. Includes a simple adaptation to make it in a newborn size too!

To read more about this pattern (which includes my updates to use the most familiar type of increase and to see my hour-by-hour pictures of how the 5 hours of knitting go by), click here: 5 Hour Baby Sweater Knitting Pattern

For the free printable pattern, click here:  Printable pdf for the 5 Hour Baby Sweater Knitting Pattern

To see more of my knitting patterns, click here:  Make Your Own Zone Knitting Patterns

Free knitting pattern for a 5 hour baby sweater. Includes a simple adaptation to make it in a newborn size too!

Need a few more bright ideas?
Sign up for the monthly email newsletter to learn about my latest content and tips for frugal homemade living.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. New to knitting sweaters, but preparing to be a first time grandma. How would I adjust if I wanted to use a sock weight 4ply yarn (100g=400m) weight yarn? Like go up three baby sizes and use needles 2 size smaller? They gifted me the most beautiful yarn (from NZ!) and I want to use it for them. Thanks

    1. Sock weight yarn is usually a very fine yarn (closer to a size 1 weight than the size 3 I used for my little sweater). So I don’t think you could use this yarn with this pattern even with a change in needle size. I think you would end up with a very tiny sweater.

  2. I just finished this little sweater for my great granddaughter who is due next week. The directions were excellent and very easy to follow. I will be making more of these. Thank you so much.

  3. Oh my gosh… I did it! I knit my first baby sweater. My niece absolutely loved it! She is having her baby in January so I was wondering if/how this pattern could be made for a size 9-12 months??

  4. I love this pattern. If I were to use size 8 needles, what size would you say it would be?
    I would like it to be a little bigger than 6 month size so the baby could wear it longer.
    Thank you.

    1. My best guess on going up a needle size would be that it would add a couple inches all around to the sweater, and would probably increase it to about a 9 month size.

  5. Does anyone know the amount of yards/metres required for both sizes i.e. 6 months and newborn.
    I am in Canada and trying to find the perfect yard.

    1. I first knitted this style for my own daughter who is now 37yr old & she’s expecting her .2nd baby, due Christmas 2021, so I’ll be knitting her one or two as they are so easy for them to wear.

  6. I’ve completed both sleeves but I’m not sure where to reattach yarn to do the body. Do I start under the sleeve and knit the back or do I reattach yarn at front of sweater?

  7. I am confused with row 26. The numbers in of the 5 lines for this row do not add up to the number in parenthesis at the end of each line….help

    1. For Row 26 of the 5 hour sweater, where it says “inc” in the pattern, that should be considered as 2 stitches as you are doing an increase by knitting into the front and back of that stitch.

      So when it says K5, inc, K4, inc, K4, inc, K1 that ends up being:

      5 + 2 + 4 + 2 + 4 + 2 + 1 = 20

  8. I really love this pattern as it’s so fast to make. For a different look I did Garter Stitch until row26 and then followed pattern as set. I used Double Knitting yarn or 4 weight and 4.50 mm needles. Makes it a bit smaller but a great size for Newborns. Thank you very much for sharing this great pattern.
    For my next one I’m going to add a coloured yoke and coloured sleeve bands.

  9. Bev,
    I can’t thank you enough for sharing your 5 Hour Baby Sweater Pattern, it is surly the best one I have ever seen, so carefully planed and easy to follow. I’m making the one for 0-3 as my youngest and his wife are having twins in Feb. There have never been twins in either of the families!
    Thank you so very much,

    1. Where it says “place marker” in the instructions, you would slip a marker onto your needle before proceeding on to the next instructions.

  10. Hello!

    First of all congrats for the pattern!
    I have a question… I’m making the sleeve With dpns and after de 22 rows, when I have to work by the WS for the decrease rows, don’t know How with the dpns…. in order to make the efect of purl in those rows …. I usually use dpns for stockinette…

    Thanks a Lot!

    1. When using double pointed needles you are working in the round,
      Just knit 1 round, then purl next round , continue in this way for required no of rows
      This gives the garter effect

  11. Hi Bev, I’m just making your wonderful jacket. I’ve completed both sleeves and then it says ‘reattach yarn and knit across remaining stitches’. Do you mean the right front here?

    1. Yes, when you reattach the yarn after completing the 2nd sleeve, you will be knitting across the stitches that will be the right front.

  12. Hey there, can someone help me?! I am currently knitting this pattern and I am difficulty with the sleeves. Or rather trying to start them. I have knit 22 stitches however, the pattern then tells me to inc in next 2 stitches, k23 and then inc next 2 stitches again, which should leave me with 31. I cannot get this as I only have 22 stitches to begin with and do not have enough stitches to complete the pattern. I’m a newbie so bear with me!!! TIA

    1. The 22 stitches are for the left front and get put on a holder once they are knit. From there, you keep moving along the row, increasing in the next two stitches, knitting across the next 23 stitches, and then increasing in the next two stitches. This gives you 31 stitches that have been knit. You’ll then work on a 2nd set of needles, and start going back and forth on those 31 stitches to create your first sleeve. I hope that helps!

  13. I live in South Africa and I knit for abandoned babies and would love to try this psttern…plus have a good look at the “Make your own zone”. I will have to find out which needles and which yarn is equivalent to yours. Looking forward to the challenge. I also am 82 years of age

    1. I’m sure your donations are very much appreciated Barbara, and I love that you are still going strong with the knitting at age 82! ❤️

  14. Thank you for this pattern. I have a newborn baby granddaughter (the first one!) and I wanted to make a couple of lightweight sweaters for her. I tried one pattern and it was way too complicated and I gave up. I crocheted another one and it was cute, but bulky. This pattern is perfect. It took me longer than 5 hours because I’m not an accomplished knitter, but it turned out well. I did make a note to myself to remember to do 3 knit stitches at the beginning of purl rows. I missed a couple 😉 I look forward to making more as she grows. Again, thank you!

  15. Proceeded nicely with the sweater until row 26
    K5, (inc, K4=5 stitches) (inc. K4= 5 stitches) (inc. K1=2) comes out to 17 stitches=14 stitches plus the 3 additional increases., yet the pattern indicates (20 stitches for front). What am I doing incorrectly? Thanks for the help.

  16. Thank you for sharing your easy and cute baby hat and sweater patterns! It’s always nice to be able to knit something in a matter of a few short hours, not that I’m afraid of complicated mind you, just nice to do something quick!

  17. I am making the 0-3 month version and wanting to know the gauge I should be aiming for with size 6 and lighter yarn.. 5 sts to the inch? Thanks.

  18. Hi Bev, I just knitted the Small 5 Hour Baby Cardigan and used DK (8 ply here in Australia) with U.S. 6 (4mm here) needles. However, I found the neck to be way too small. I use a Cable Cast On which is slighter tighter than your Knitted Cast On, so I used a size larger needles. The rest seemed okay for a newborn, albeit a small one, but the neckline would have strangled the child! I tried going back and cutting the top off (after watching several videos) but it was a mess so out it came. Now looking for an alternative, but I think it will be a bottom up so I can change it more easily if need be.

    1. Susan, I just ripped my sweater out because of the neck also. I kept thinking that it would be okay, but it became painfully obvious that baby would strangle if the top button was done up! I’ll try it again by going up to 50 stitches for the neck and eliminate one of the “bands” on the yoke.

  19. One more question on increase stitch. Do you think a YO would work to make lacey instead of using KFB to increase?

  20. My last comment was mistyped, should say: attach yarn at underarm on right side of work and K across body (80 sts). So my question is, will this be where I will end each row at, the under arm?

  21. The 5 hour patter by Bev Zualheim say attach the yarn under right are and work across the 81 stitches. I don’t see how this is possible because I’ll be leaving out the right front stitches. Please help.

  22. Love this pattern. I made it with the smaller needles and yarn in anticipation of my grandson. Worked up quickly and easily. This was the first ever sweater for me. I was so pleased that I have started it again with the size 4 yarn and #7 needles for as he grows.

  23. Just finished this and am so grateful for the very clear instructions. Did not have a minute’s problem. Thank you! : )

  24. How many skiskeins is that approxamately for a smaller sweater. I am on bed rest and have to give my husband luck up instructions.

    1. You probably need about 4 ounces of yarn. I used a 5 oz skein for this smaller sized sweater and had plenty leftover.

  25. Thank you for the pattern. I knit a lot for a charity (just Started) so am very thankful for quick patterms

  26. Hi Bev, we are expecting a grandchild in April so I went right to work making a blanket, hat, booties, and wanted to find a nice sweater pattern too. This pattern is perfect! Thank you for sharing it. I am totally in love with the ending result of a cute and adorable sweater!

  27. This pattern needs some revision. The stitch count is off in several places. I’m really disappointed, because I had high hopes for this pattern.

    1. No, I disagree, the stitch count is correct. I have made the sweater several times. Some others have emailed me saying they get more stitches in the increase rows and I’m not quite sure how that is happening. The increases are the “knit in the front and the back of a stitch” type of increase. I think I will have to make a video of how I am doing the increase rows to help clear up any confusion.

      1. Was also looking forward to making this item,,,there is no way you can end up with 47 sts at row 6. Start with 33 sts, knit 3, end with knit 3, equals 27 sts, if you increase every second stitch,you would increase the total number of 61.. Can you please revise the pattern, as I would really like to knit this item.

      1. Hi I agree with kim i just tried it and if i co 33 after the first increase i ended up with 61 not 47 for final count (#4) i would love to make this but still new to knitting and i dont know how to adjust the stitches