Cropped Boatneck Sweater Pattern

Updated: December 25, 2012 with photos

Note: This pattern was adapted from the 1989 edition of Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book. No copyright infringement intended. Pattern for personal use only. Do not sell or redistribute.

This sweater is constructed with two identical rectangles (front and back) and two trapezoids (the sleeves). That makes it easily adaptable for a full-length sweater, ¾ sleeves, or any shape and size. There is no neck shaping or any really advanced techniques so it’s a perfect sweater for beginners.

Techniques you will need to know:

Rib stitch (Knit 1, Purl 1)
Stockinette stitch (Knit 1 row, Purl 1 row.
An increase technique (Make one, Knit front and back, etc.)
Mattress stitch for seaming


4 skeins of worsted weight yarn (approximately 850 yards)
Size 7 circular needles
Size 11 circular needles
Stitch markers or safety pins

(You will not be knitting in the round, but using circular needles as straight needles is helpful because the project gets pretty long.)


4” = 11 stitches x 16 rows

(Gauge is not particularly important since this is an oversized sweater. Do not worry if you do not have the right sized needles to get the right gauge.)

Approximate Finished Measurements:

Armpit to armpit: 24”
Length: 15”
Sleeve: 20”


For best results, keep track of how many rows/stitches it takes to knit each step so the front/back and left/right can be exactly the same.

Front and Back (make two):

With smaller needles cast on 80 stitches.
Work in knit 1, purl 1 rib for 2.5”.
Change to larger needles.
Work in stockinette stitch until piece measures 9” from beginning.
At 9” mark each end for beginning of armhole.
Continue stockinette stitch until piece measures 7” from marker.
Change to smaller needles.
Knit 1 row.
Work in knit 1, purl 1 rib for 2”.
Bind off loosely in rib pattern.

Sleeves (make two):

With smaller needles cast on 38 stitches.
Work in knit 1, purl 1 rib for 3”.
Change to larger needles.
Continue in pattern as follows:
Row 1: Purl across.
Row 2: Knit across.
Row 3: Purl across.
Row 4: Knit across, increasing 1 stitch on each side.
Repeat rows 1-4 until piece measures 20” across.
Work in stockinette stitch until piece measures 20” from beginning.
Bind off.


Weave in loose ends.
Block all pieces.
Use mattress stitch to sew seams.
Sew shoulder seams together for 4.25”.
Sew top of sleeves to armholes between markers.
Sew sides and sleeve seams.

And you’re done!

As I mentioned earlier, the pattern is really easy to customize. You can make the length longer or shorter, make the sleeves longer or shorter, add some colorwork such as stripes or intarsia, or add some more complex knitting stitches like cables or bobbles. This simple sweater is a blank slate for your creativity!

sweater2sweater1sweater4 sweater3
For more pictures please look here and here. And in case you were wondering I’m a petite little Asian girl and I usually wear size small.



32 thoughts on “Cropped Boatneck Sweater Pattern

  1. Pingback: A Sweater For Myself: Cropped Boatneck Sweater « girlmeetsyarn

  2. hi! this is great, thank you for posting! what size would you say this pattern is? like a Small sweater? i’m 5’2 110 lbs..and i measured my arm length and it’s about 17″ (so the 20″ sleeves in the pattern would be too long) and from arm pit to arm pit i’m about 16″ which seems much smaller than the 24″ in the pattern

    (i realize it’s oversized, i dont want it tight by any means but just wondering if it’d be falling off me. i dont really want it to be like those 80’s bare shoulder tops. thanks for your help!

    • You’re about my size, just a couple pounds lighter and an inch shorter.

      You can modify the sleeves easily. After you are done the with increases, just knit straight stockinette stitch for however long you want it to be.

      If you don’t want the sweater to be too oversized you’ll have to do a little calculating. First knit a swatch in stockinette stitch. Then measure the gauge. What I would do is count how many stitches it takes to make an inch lengthwise and then multiply that number by how wide you want the sweater to be. Remember, all the body is is 2 rectangles so you can make them as big or as small as you want.

      I hope that helps!

  3. Hi Vi! I finished the sweater and it’s wonderful. It’s exactly what I wanted. I’m not sure how to post a picture of it, though!

    Monica in London, Ontario, Canada.

  4. Hi Vi,
    Having been unable to find the sweater of my dreams (pale pink, oversized, boat neck and simple) for my tall frame, I was delighted to find your blog. I haven’t knitted anything more complicated than a scarf for years but will try your pattern – thank you very much for posting it. Your instructions to commenters are very useful, too. Merry Christmas!

  5. Can you tell me where you found the original pattern. I think it’s the one my Mom made me and I have been looking for it for years. Thank you

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    am going to come back yet again since I bookmarked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue
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    • If you are looking for advice I’d say use the gauge and multiply it out by how many inches you need to fit you for a custom fit. Hope that helps!

  8. Hi Vi! I am currently working on this sweater and loving it so far. I am new to knitting — so I have a question. Can I knit the sleeves in the round and still mattress-seam them onto the body pieces in the end?

    • I don’t see why not. I think you’d just have to be careful about where the increase stitches end up and make sure that it’s symmetrical when you sew them to the body.

  9. This is awesome, can’t wait to try it! This pattern looks very easy, so I’m tempted to try working a fair isle colour pattern into it as well. I could totally see this having a rose pattern on it, like some of those high end oversized drop shoulder sweaters that are really fashionable right now.

    Great work, and thanks for sharing!


  10. Hey, thank you for sharing this pattern!
    I’m a beginner and want to challenge my self more so this pattern is perfect. My question is… is it okay if i’m using smaller yarn+smaller needle? Bigger yarn quite rare in my country. Thanks :D

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