billow sweater vest knitting pattern

Sweater Vest Knitting Pattern

The Billow Sweater Vest is a speedy, fun knit that’s great for beginners! This comfy sweater vest is knit in the round from the bottom up, then split between the front and back for armhole & neckline shaping, then seamed at the top of the shoulders. The collar and armhole ribbing are knit in the round.

This versatile and timeless piece can be the perfect addition to your wardrobe, adding warmth and style to any outfit. So, grab your yarn, needles, and let’s dive into a sweater vest knitting adventure!

The Allure of Sweater Vests

Sweater vests have this incredible knack for blending comfort and style effortlessly. They can be dressed up for a polished office look or dressed down for a relaxed weekend outfit. The beauty of a sweater vest lies in its simplicity – a sleeveless garment that’s easy to layer and play around with.

When styling the Billow Sweater Vest you can wear it on its own over a camisole, or layer it on top of a long sleeved shirt. Wearing it on its own is perfect for those early fall days where it’s still a bit warm, or throw it on on top of something else for an extra layer if you’re out in the cool evening air.

Choosing the Right Yarn

Before we get those needles clacking, let’s talk yarn. The choice of yarn can make or break your sweater vest project. For this cozy and warm vest, I opted for this bulky pima cotton yarn in the color Celadon. It’s soft, cozy, and just feels amazing to snuggle up in! Click here to check out all the other amazing colors.

When it comes to selecting the perfect yarn for your apparel projects, pima cotton stands out as an exceptional choice. Known for its luxurious softness and durability, pima cotton yarn creates garments that offer both comfort and style. Derived from the prized Pima cotton plant, which is primarily grown in the United States, Peru, and a few other regions, this yarn boasts longer and more slender fibers compared to regular cotton.

This unique characteristic results in a yarn that produces garments with a smooth, lustrous finish and excellent drape. Whether you’re crafting lightweight summer tops, cozy cardigans, or everyday essentials, pima cotton yarn ensures that your creations are not only pleasant against the skin but also long-lasting, making it an ideal choice for apparel that seamlessly combines elegance and practicality.

Size Guide + Finished Measurements

This sweater vest is written in six sizes: XS (S, M, L, XL, XXL) with a finished bust size of approximately 33.2 (34.3, 36.4, 38, 41.2, 42.8) in/84 (87, 93, 97, 105, 109) cm. It is intended to have about 1-3 in/2.5-7.5cm of positive ease so pick your size based on your bust circumference measurement. You can also adjust body length and armhole depth as desired.

sweater vest knitting pattern

Tips For A Flawless Finish

  • Swatch First: Don’t skip the gauge swatch! It might feel like a tiny detour, but it’s your secret weapon against ill-fitting garments.

  • Blocking Magic: Once your vest is complete, give it a gentle soak and block it to ensure that the stitches settle and the piece takes its final shape.

  • Count Stitches: While binge-watching your favorite show, it’s easy to lose track of stitches. Use stitch markers to help you keep count and avoid any pesky unraveling.

  • Experiment with Colors: Who says sweater vests have to be neutral? Experiment with bold or pastel hues to add a pop of color to your fall wardrobe.

  • Personalize with Patterns: If you’re an advanced knitter, try incorporating simple patterns like cables or textured stitches to give your sweater vest a unique touch.

  • Take Breaks: Knitting is fun, but it can strain your hands and eyes. Take regular breaks to stretch your fingers and rest your eyes.

sweater vest knitting pattern

Stockinette Stitch

The body of this sweater vest is worked in simple stockinette. 

As much as I admire fancy cable stitches and intricate knit patterns, there’s just something about stockinette that appeals to me as a modern knitter. 

I find that for modern knitting, less is often more. When designing new patterns, I can’t help but have a major appreciation for stockinette <3

When working in the round, stockinette stitch is worked by knitting all stitches. 

sweater vest knitting pattern

2x1 Rib Stitch

The bottom hem is worked as 2×1 rib stitch.

2×1 rib stitch is worked as follows:

Cast on multiples of 3.

R1: K2, P1. 

Repeat R1 until desired length of ribbing is met.

1x1 Rib Stitch

The armhole & neckline borders are worked as 1×1 rib stitch. 

1×1 rib stitch is worked as follows:

Cast on an even amount of stitches.

R1: K1, P1. 

Repeat R1 until desired length of ribbing is met.


This free sweater vest knitting pattern is worked up entirely in one piece from the bottom to the top. 

First we’ll work in the round to create the length of the top, then when we reach the armhole shaping segment, we split the front and back and work in the flat.

Once the front and back shaping is complete, we’ll seam them together at the shoulders using a whip stitch.

Once the shoulders are seamed, we’ll pick up stitches along the collar and armholes to complete the ribbing.

Ready to take your knitting game up a notch? How about snagging the no-ads, downloadable PDF of this awesome sweater vest knitting pattern?

Why, you might wonder? Well, having that PDF right on your device or printed out in front of you brings a bunch of perks. Picture this: you can knit anywhere, anytime, no Wi-Fi needed. And the PDF style keeps things looking neat and printer-friendly, so tracking the pattern’s a breeze. Bonus points: when you get the PDF, you’re giving a high-five to the folks behind the scenes who put effort into making this cool sweater vest knitting pattern a reality (me 🙂 ).  A huge thank you to those of you who support me in this way!

So why settle for a peek on the blog when you can have your own knitting sidekick, ready to roll wherever you are? It’s like a double win!

Click here to hop over to my Etsy store and check it out!

Billow Sweater Vest Design Inspiration

The Billow Sweater Vest wraps up this year’s collection of summer knitting patterns. I wanted to design a piece that captured the end of summer transition into early fall. 

Sweater vests are perfect for that because you can wear them on their own as a sleeveless top, or layer them over a long sleeved shirt as the days get cooler. 

The other summer patterns I put out this year were the Knit Crop Top Pattern, Easy Tank Top Knitting Pattern, Rustic Tank Top Knitting Pattern, and the Simple Crochet Tank Top Pattern

The Billow Sweater Vest knitting pattern feels like a great one to wrap up the summer season!

Check Out More Free Summer Knitting & Crochet Patterns

Click the images to view the free pattern!

What Yarn Do I Need?

Let’s circle back to the amazing pima cotton yarn that makes up the Billow Sweater Vest: Billow by KnitPicks.

Billow yarn is totally into that comfy cozy vibe: big ol’ cowls and wraps that practically cuddle you, sweaters for lazy weekends, and blankets so snug they’re practically giving you a hug. This stuff’s made of eight layers of super soft pima cotton that gives it a sort of chunky, uneven texture.

It’s got this cool mix of old-school rustic and new-school modern feels all mashed up. It’s a thick yarn, so you’ll have your project done in no time, and it’s so dang soft that even the most sensitive skin will be doing a happy dance. And just wait ’til you peep the color choices – there are 18, all super chic and grown-up. You won’t be able to resist grabbing your hooks and getting started on your next masterpiece with Billow’s cloud-like softness.

Click here to shop all the gorgeous colors of Billow yarn and pick one (or several!) for your new sweater vest!

Can I Substitute A Different Yarn?

Billow is categorized as a Bulky/Category 5 weight yarn, so you can substitute it for any other yarn of the same weight. 

But hey, don’t forget the golden rule: you gotta give your gauge a once-over. This is the magic trick to making sure your sweater vest fits like a dream. Gauge is like the GPS of knitting, steering you straight to that sweet spot of the right size. So before you dive in, take a few minutes to knit up a sample and measure it. You need to make sure your stitch count matches the pattern’s gauge vibes.

And guess what? This gives you the green light to go wild with all sorts of yarn choices and let your imagination run wild. Just remember, as long as that gauge is on point, your sweater vest is going to be a showstopper, no doubt about it!

I love seeing your completed projects! Share your finished works by using the hashtag #themodernmakerco and don’t forget to tag me @themodernmakerco on Instagram or TikTok. 

Billow Sweater Vest Free Pattern

Jump into fall with the Billow Sweater Vest as the latest addition to your wardrobe. Worked in super soft pima cotton yarn and constructed in one piece from the bottom up, this versatile piece is just what you need as we veer into cooler autumn months!

NOTE: Model is 5’7″ (170cm) with a 34″ (86cm) bust wearing size S. This garment fits slightly looser than bust size with 1-2 in/3-5cm of positive ease. 


This pattern is written as XS (S, M, L, XL, 2XL).

  • Yarn: approximately 272 (289, 321, 339, 372, 396) yards of Billow by KnitPicks (or similar category 5/bulky weight yarn)
  • US size 10.5 (6.5mm) circular knitting needles
  • US size 7 (4.5mm) circular knitting needles
  • Stitch markers
  • Tapestry needle
  • Scissors

Stitches Used

  • Stockinette.
    • Worked in the round: R1: Knit All. Repeat R1.
    • Worked in the flat: R1: Knit all. R2: Purl all. Repeat R1&R2.
  • 2×1 Rib Stitch
    • Worked in the round: Cast on multiples of 3. R1: K2, P1. Repeat R1. 
  • 1×1 Rib Stitch
    • Worked in the round: Cast on an even number of stitches. R1: K1, P1. Repeat R1.


  • 14 stitches by 21 rows = 4×4 in (10×10 cm) in stockinette stitch


  • R = row
  • St = stitch
  • RS = right side
  • WS = wrong side
  • K = knit
  • P = purl
  • K2tog = knit two stitches together
  • P2tog = purl two stitches together

Size Chart

Choose your size based on your bust measurement. Please also reference the Finished Object measurements.

size chart

Finished Measurements

sweater vest knitting pattern

Main Body

Worked in the round from the bottom up.

This pattern is written as XS (S, M, L, XL, 2XL). Follow the stitch counts based on your corresponding size.

Using US 7/4.5mm knitting needles, cast on 117 (120, 129, 132, 144, 152).

R1: K2, P1.

Repeat R1 for 7 (7, 7, 8, 8, 8) rows.

Switch to US 10.5/6.5mm knitting needles. Work 49 (51, 53, 53, 53, 55) rows of stockinette in the round. 

Transfer the last 59 (60, 65, 66, 72, 76) st to a st holder. Continue to Front & Back Shaping Charts.

Front & Back Shaping Charts


  1. Read the chart from the bottom up. The shaded area represents the body of the pattern piece and the various sections you will knit/shape. 
  2. Choose the corresponding chart based on the size you are knitting. You will start the Front Shaping Chart at Bottom of Armhole row.
  3. Using the Inches/Cm and/or Row # columns as your guide, follow the increases and decreases as indicated by the + and – numbers on each side of your work. If you are on a RS row, you will k2tog to decrease 1. If you are on a WS row, you will p2tog to decrease 1. At any point in time, you may use the # of Stitches column to cross-check your position in the piece. 
  4. When you get to Bottom of Neck, work the right side of the chart and transfer remaining st to a st holder. Once the right side is completed, bind off the number of st indicated in between the two sides and continue working left side. 
  5. When you reach the end of the chart, bind off the number of st in the last row.
  6. After completing the Front Shaping Chart, pick up the transferred off stitches and continue to Back Shaping Chart at Bottom of Armhole.

XS: Front Shaping Chart

XS: Back Shaping Chart

S: Front Shaping Chart

sweater vest knitting pattern

S: Back Shaping Chart

M: Front Shaping Chart

M: Back Shaping Chart

sweater vest knitting pattern

L: Front Shaping Chart

sweater vest knitting pattern

L: Back Shaping Chart

XL: Front Shaping Chart

sweater vest knitting pattern

XL: Back Shaping Chart

sweater vest knitting pattern

XXL: Front Shaping Chart

XXL: Back Shaping Chart

Collar Ribbing

Once you have completed Front & Back Shaping, whip stitch the shoulder seams together.

Using US 7/4.5mm circular needles, pick up an even number of stitches around the neckline (1:1 ratio of knitted st to picked up st). 

Work two rows of 1×1 rib stitch (K1, P1).

Bind off. Weave in yarn ends.

Armhole Ribbing

Using US 7/4.5mm circular needles, pick up an even number of stitches around the right armhole (1:1 ratio of knitted st to picked up st). 

Work two rows of 1×1 rib stitch (K1, P1).

Bind off. Weave in yarn ends.

Repeat on left armhole, making sure you pick up the same amount of st as on the right armhole.

Block your finished garment.

There you have it – a simple yet stylish knitting pattern for the classic sweater vest. Whether you’re an experienced knitter or just starting on your yarn journey, this project is perfect for anyone looking to add a touch of homemade charm to their wardrobe.

From cozy nights by the fireplace to casual coffee dates, your new sweater vest will keep you warm and fashion-forward all season long. So, gather your supplies, put on your favorite tunes, and let’s create a wardrobe staple that’s uniquely yours. Happy knitting!

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