This easy, cotton crochet cardigan pattern for beginners uses a very simple construction to create a show-stopping look with entry level skills. Get Part 1 of the free pattern and video tutorial below including plus sizes or purchase the complete ad-free, printable PDF with schematic here. Find Part 2 here.
This crochet cardigan pattern for beginners is part of a collaboration with Lion Brand Yarn. This post contains affiliate links.
The Pattern Lowdown
With the main fronts and backs of this easy crochet sweater pattern for beginners worked in one piece and the sleeves crocheted in the round in Part 1, you'll eliminate many of the seams you'd find in a crochet or knit sweater. Instead in Part 2, you'll focus your energy on a few specific accent details like a rolled collar and comfy pockets that'll elevate the entire look of your handmade cardigan. Keep reading for lots more pattern details or scroll down for Part 1 of the video tutorial and the free crochet cardigan pattern for beginners.
Can a Beginner Really Crochet This Cardigan?
For the longest time, I thought that learning how to crochet a sweater had to be this mind-numbing process of counting, increasing and decreasing, only to end up with something that would get passed over in a thrift store. Guys, I was so wrong.
Crocheting a sweater is a little like following a recipe. The pattern tells you each step of the process and your job is to execute those steps in order. Well, the Up North Cardigan is a very simple recipe.
To make this easy crochet cardigan pattern, you only need to know how to half double crochet, work in the round and sew a very simple seam. (Don't worry though, a tutorial on that is included in the free pattern below!)
For me, these steps represent my favorite kind of crochet sweater pattern--each one on it's own is quite easy and beginner-friendly, but the sum of the steps creates something that looks far from entry level.
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What Makes This Crochet Cardigan So Beginner Friendly?
Often I think the overwhelm in figuring out how to crochet a sweater comes in the idea that there are so many complicated pieces to make, only to then need to figure how to not ruin them in the process of putting them together.
In the case of easy crochet cardigan pattern though, the entire main body of the sweater is worked in one large, slightly tapered piece. This means the only seaming necessary to turn your odd-shaped table cloth into something wearable is some simple shoulder seams. If you like the sound of this, you'll love the free Remix Cardigan pattern too!
Next you'll work the sleeves in turned rounds, which means they're very similar to crocheting regular rows of half double crochet, but you'll slip stitch to join each one so that you don't have to seam the sleeves once they're finished. (Sound confusing? The video tutorial below covers each part of crocheting this sweater step-by-step!)
Lastly, you'll use more half double crochet stitches to make a coordinated ribbed collar and pocket cuffs.
AND THEN...you'll have your very own completely handmade sweater that looks and feels like a luxury splurge!
New to making cardigans? Don't miss How to Crochet a Sweater for our best beginner tips
Cotton -- the Perfect Fiber for an All Season Crochet Cardigan
Cotton is one of my favorite fibers to crochet with (like in the Urban Nomad Boho Bag pattern or for crochet shoes with flip flop soles), but I hadn't ever come across an affordable cotton that I also thought had the right softness and drape for a crochet sweater pattern.
Enter Lion Brand's Comfy Cotton Blend! This yarn is a fairly new addition to Lion Brand's line up and as it sounds, it's a blend of 50 percent cotton and 50 percent acrylic. The result is this really beautiful marled yarn that is lightweight enough to drape elegantly, but also heavy enough to make for a really comfortable, sophisticated-feeling sweater.
It's hard to explain, but this sweater just has a different weight to it that is so incredibly pleasant to wear. I really hope you give this yarn a try because everyone who I've chatted with about it on Instagram has loved it too. (If we're not Instagram friends, come over and say hello!) There are a bunch of really lovely nature-inspired colors of Comfy Cotton Blend and you can check them all out here.
UPDATE: Lion Brand has turned the Up North Crochet Cardigan into a crochet kit! You’ll receive all the yarn you need to make your own, plus a printed copy of the pattern. Grab your kit here!
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How to Crochet the Up North Cardigan Video Tutorial
No matter how easy the pattern, I know some of us just learn better visually, so below you'll find Part 1 of the step-by-step video tutorial for crocheting the Up North Cardigan. (And if crochet video tutorials are your jam, you can find all our video tutorials here!) Once you're finished with Part 1, move on to Part 2 of the video tutorial and free pattern.
Up North Crochet Cardigan Pattern For Beginners
Free Pattern - Part 1
Purchase the ad-free, printable PDF with schematic here on LoveCrafts.com or here on Etsy.
Save this pattern to your Ravelry here.
Pin it for later here.
This easy crochet cardigan pattern for beginners uses a very simple construction to create a show-stopping look with entry level skills. With the main fronts and backs of this pattern worked in one piece and the sleeves crocheted in the round, you'll eliminate many of the seams you'd find in a typical sweater. Instead, you'll focus your energy on a few specific accent details like a rolled collar and comfy pockets that'll elevate the entire look of your four-season cotton cardigan.
Advanced beginner skills required, including half double crochet, working in the round and basic seaming. (See photo below in Seaming section for tutorial.)
Purchase a kit with all the yarn + a printed copy of the pattern here.
• Lion Brand Comfy Cotton Blend (Weight: 3/light - 392 yds, 7 oz)
- Driftwood (#756-710) – 5 (5, 6, 7, 7, 8) skeins
[(approx. 880 (980, 1095, 1220, 1315, 1430) g)]
• Tapestry needle
• Size K (6.5 mm) crochet hook
• Stitch markers or safety pins
• T-pins and iron or steamer for blocking
Small - fits 28-32” bust
Medium - fits 32-36” bust
Large - fits 36-40” bust
1X - fits 40-44” bust
2X - fits 44-48” bust
3X - fits 48-52” bust
Sample pictured on a 5’5” model with a 32” bust.
For additional measurement details for each finished size, see schematic in ad-free, printable PDF.
13 hdc x 10 rows = 4”
Abbreviations and Glossary (US Terms):
ch – chain
dec – decrease
hdc – half double crochet
hdc2tog – half double crochet two together
hdcflo – half double crochet through the front loop only
hdcflo2tog– half double crochet two together through the front loop only
inc – increase
PM – place marker
RS – right side
sk – skip
sl st – slip stitch
st(s) – stitch(es)
WS – wrong side
Overall Pattern Notes:
• To minimize seaming, cardigan back and fronts are worked in one piece. Similarly, sleeves are worked in the round and added to main sweater piece. Collar and pockets are worked separately and added last.
• Chain 2 at beginning of row never counts as a half double crochet.
• Pattern is written for smallest size, with larger sizes following in parentheses. S (M, L, 1X, 2X, 3X) It can be helpful to circle all notes for your size before beginning.
Main Body of Sweater
• Recommended Foundation Row is worked in foundation half double crochet stitches because it’s much easier than working into a long chain. If foundation half double crochet intimidates you, use Alternative Foundation Chain followed by Alternative Foundation Row 1.
Recommended Foundation Row 1 (RS): 122 (134, 148, 160, 174, 186) foundation hdc; turn. [122 (134, 148, 160, 174, 186)]
Alternative Foundation Chain (WS): Ch 124 (136, 150, 162, 176, 188).
Alternative Foundation Row 1 (RS): Sk 2 ch, hdc in each ch to end; turn. [122 (134, 148, 160, 174, 186)]
Rows 2-39 (41, 41, 41, 43, 45): Ch 2, hdc in each hdc; turn. [122 (134, 148, 160, 174, 186)]
End with a RS row. Do not fasten off.
PM in between the stitches listed below counting from each side of sweater front edges. (2 markers total for each size)
S: 35th and 36th sts
M: 40th and 41st sts
L: 46th and 47th sts
1X: 49th and 50th sts
2X: 52nd and 53rd sts
3X: 56th and 57th sts
All decreases will take place between the two markers in the center section of the sweater.
After working the decrease stitch, remove marker and replace it in top of newly created stitch.
Row 1 (WS dec): Ch 2, hdc in next 35 (40, 46, 49, 52, 56) hdc, hdc2tog, hdc in each hdc until 2 sts remain before marker, hdc2tog, hdc in each hdc to end of row; turn. [120 (132, 146, 158, 172, 184)]
Rows 2, 4, 6, 8: Ch 2, hdc in each hdc; turn. Move markers up as row is worked.
Row 3 (WS dec): Ch 2, hdc in next 35 (40, 46, 49, 52, 56) hdc, hdc2tog, hdc in each hdc until 2 sts remain before marker, hdc2tog, hdc in each hdc to end of row; turn. [118 (130, 144, 156, 170, 182)]
Row 5 (WS dec): Ch 2, hdc in next 35 (40, 46, 49, 52, 56) hdc, hdc2tog, hdc in each hdc until 2 sts remain before marker, hdc2tog, hdc in each hdc to end of row; turn. [116 (128, 142, 154, 168, 180)]
Row 7 (WS dec): Ch 2, hdc in next 35 (40, 46, 49, 52, 56) hdc, hdc2tog, hdc in each hdc until 2 sts remain before marker, hdc2tog, hdc in each hdc to end of row; turn. [114 (126, 140, 152, 166, 178)]
Row 9 (WS dec): Ch 2, hdc in next 35 (40, 46, 49, 52, 56) hdc, hdc2tog, hdc in each hdc until 2 sts remain before marker, hdc2tog, hdc in each hdc to end of row; turn. [112 (124, 138, 150, 164, 176)]
End with a WS row. Do not fasten off. Remove markers.
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Dividing for Back and Fronts:
• Back and both fronts will now be worked in separate columns. (See photo in blog post above for what back and fronts will look like once complete.)
• When working between markers, last stitch will be completed in stitch before marker, then turn work.
PM in between the stitches listed below counting from each side of sweater front edges (2 new markers from each edge, 4 markers total). These 4 markers mark the edges of the two armholes.
S: 22nd and 23rd sts
M: 24th and 25th sts
L: 24th and 25th sts
1X: 27th and 28th sts
2X: 30th and 31st sts
3X: 32nd and 33rd sts
S: 30th and 31st sts
M: 35th and 36th sts
L: 41st and 42nd sts
1X: 44th and 45th sts
2X: 47th and 48th sts
3X: 51st and 52nd sts
Continuing with yarn attached:
Row 1 (RS): Ch 2, hdc in each hdc to first armhole marker; turn. [22 (24, 24, 27, 30, 32)]
Row 2 (WS): Ch 2, hdc in each hdc to end; turn. [22 (24, 24, 27, 30, 32)]
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until 20 (20, 22, 24, 24, 26) rows total are completed in First Front. End with a WS row. Fasten off leaving a 24” tail.
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With RS facing, attach yarn in 31st (36th, 42nd, 45th, 48th, 52nd) stitch, right on the other side of armhole from First Front.
Row 1 (RS): Ch 2, hdc in each hdc to armhole marker; turn. [52 (54, 56, 62, 70, 74)]
Row 2 (WS): Ch 2, hdc in each hdc to armhole marker; turn. [52 (54, 56, 62, 70, 74)]
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until 20 (20, 22, 24, 24, 26) rows total are completed in Back. End with a WS row. Fasten off.
With RS facing, attach yarn in st after last st marker.
Row 1 (RS): Ch 2, hdc in each hdc to end; turn. [22 (24, 24, 27, 30, 32)]
Row 2 (WS): Ch 2, hdc in each hdc to armhole marker; turn. [22 (24, 24, 27, 30, 32)]
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until 20 (20, 22, 24, 24, 26) rows total are completed in Second Front. End with a WS row. Fasten off leaving a 24” tail.
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• Sleeves are worked in turned rounds. After slip stitch to join at end of each round, TURN work so next round can be worked in opposite direction.
• See photo above for completed sleeve.
Foundation Round: Ch 30 (30, 34, 34, 36, 38), sl st to join taking care not to twist ch.
Round 1 (RS): Ch 2, hdc in each ch, sl st to join; turn. [30 (30, 34, 34, 36, 38)]
Rounds 2-4: Ch 2, hdc in each hdc, sl st to join; turn. [30 (30, 34, 34, 36, 38)]
Round 5 (RS inc): Ch 2, 2 hdc in first hdc, hdc in each hdc until 1 st remains, 2 hdc in last hdc, sl st to join; turn. [32 (32, 36, 36, 38, 40)]
Repeat Rounds 2-5 an additional 11 (11, 11, 2, 5, 4) times. Sleeve should have 54, (54, 58, 40, 48, 48) sts.
Sizes S and M only: Increasing completed, go to All Sizes.
Size L only: Repeat Round 5 once more. (60 sts)
Increasing completed, go to All Sizes.
Sizes 1X, 2X, and 3X only:
You will work 2 even rounds followed by 1 increase round.
Repeat Rounds 3-5 an additional - (-, -, 12, 9, 9) times. [-, (-, -, 64, 66, 66)]
Size 1X only: Repeat Round 5 one more time. Increasing completed, go to All Sizes. (66 sts)
Size 2X only: Increases Completed, go to All Sizes.
Size 3X only: Repeat Rounds 4-5 twice. Increasing completed, go to All Sizes. (70 sts)
There should be 49 (49, 50, 50, 52, 52) rounds completed before starting next section.
Remaining rows are worked without a sl st to join so as to create a slight “V” in top of sleeve.
Size S only:
Rows 1-3: Ch 2, hdc in each hdc; turn. [54 (-, -, -, -, -)]
Size M only:
Rows 1-5: Ch 2, hdc in each hdc; turn. [- (54, -, -, -, -)]
Sizes L, 1X, and 2X only:
Rows 1-8: Ch 2, hdc in each hdc; turn. [- (-, 60, 66, 66, -)]
Size 3X only:
Rows 1-10: Ch 2, hdc in each hdc; turn. (70 sts)
Fasten off leaving a 30” tail.
Woohoo! Your Up North Cardigan has come so far. Now you're ready to move onto Part 2 where we'll crochet the ribbed collar, add pockets and join everything together.
That was so fun! Now what?
Invitation to our Facebook group
Come discuss crocheting Up North cardigan patterns and lots of other crochet projects and techniques in our Make & Do Crew Facebook group. Here thousands of helpful crocheters answer each others questions and share their stitches. Come join us here.
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Sandi Richmond says
I am going to make the Up North cardigan. I am 5'4" and weigh 137 so I am unsure whether to make the medium or large size. I can't seem to access the measurement chart which was a link in the pattern. My bust size is 36" which puts me at the top edge of a medium. I hate to put a lot of money and effort into crocheting the sweater only to find out I should have made a large rather than a medium. Please help.
By the way, I truly appreciate your patterns and greatly enjoy your videos. Thanks for giving us ideas. I am anxious to try the hdc starter row rather than chaining the first row.
Joy Rose says
I'm working the up north country cardigan. Can you please tell me where, in inches from the front sides, the stitch markers go before I begin to decrease? I started using another stitch and now I'm all confused. But inches would save me!! Thanks!
Judy Russell says
I'm making the large pattern - can you tell me the finished length Shoulder to bottom as I want to make sure its long enough for me. Thanks
Bernadine Troup says
Hi, my question is for this pattern when starting to work the back, in your video you say " start with the wrong side up" but the written pattern says " start with the right side up"... I would like to know which should I go by.. the written pattern or the video concerning the back, this is very confusing.
Hiya. I'm hoping someone will reply to me. I'm making this in the large but I need to shorten the sleeves, how would I go about doing this?
I've previously made it in XL but the sleeves are too long for the recipients of the larges im making.
Thank you in advance.
I made this sweater for my ma for Mother's Day and she absolutely adores it, by far her favorite thing I've ever made for her. She wears it so much that she asked for another one for Christmas, lol! Thanks so much for sharing such a beautiful pattern, it's so well done! 🙂
I have your pattern already and came back to get the video's of part 1 and part 2 but cannot find them anywhere to download? Because this an older pattern did you remove them off the links I have?
Barbara Money says
I notice on the model wearing a size small, that the sweater is quite long, coming to the bottom if her butt. I would need to make a larger size for myself, but I am only 5', so the additional length would come down around my knees! So I can stop at, say, 5 inches or so less than the full length and be OK?
Jess, I am really enjoying making this cardigan. It's such a cute, cozy style, and the yarn is lovely to work with. The one issue I'm having is, mine is a lot shorter than yours for some reason. I'm using a size 6 hook, but the gauge came out fine. Is there a measurement for how long the main body of the piece should be including the back and two fronts?
Serey Merchant says
I am new to crocheting. I have made only blanket and scarf. This will be my first garment. I can't figure out how many row I need to crochet for and xl... can you please help. Thank you
HI, I am tempted to make this sweater, but being plus size, I am concerned 3X might be snug, if I wanted to make it 4X is there a solution for the body.
Linda R. Fleete says
Fantastic patterns. Looking forward to making all the sweaters, hats and mittens. Should keep me busy for awhile. Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas and skills. Great instructions. Have been crocheting for over 6 decades and these are the best patterns ever. Happy crocheting to one and all.