You started knitting not long ago. You have mastered the knit stitch, the purl stitch, the decreases, the increases… Congratulations! But you’re a little tired of knitting scarves with your straight needles. You would like to embark on more ambitious projects but adapted to your level (beginner!). How about making a top-down knit sweater  ? Rest assured, knitting a top down is quite within your reach! Find out why this method of knitting will appeal to you and what is the principle.


The top-down knitting method has many followers. Why ? Because this technique is simple, even for beginners! To knit a top-down sweater, you knit the front, back and sleeves in one piece starting from the neckline.

But to accomplish this creative feat, you need to acquire an indispensable material: circular needles!

With this method, you can quickly and easily create all kinds of knitting patterns for children, women or men! For example, you can knit a top-down raglan sweater for yourself or knit a top-down cardigan for your daughter. Your creativity has no limit 😊 Knitting in circles will prevent you from… going around in circles!

Did you know ? Top-down knitting is commonplace among avid knitters. But there is a variant: they can make a bottom-up knit sweater. This time it’s about knitting from the bottom up. In this case, you have less control over the length of the sweater because you start at the bottom…


Like many knitters, you started by taming stitches with straight knitting needles. But now that you handle them with as much skill as a foil, you will see that using circular needles and knitting in the round will quickly become addictive… Circular knitting has it all!

Indeed, here are several advantages to knitting a top-down sweater with circular needles  :

  • Knitting in the round skips the laborious assembly step. Knitters like to knit, sew a little less… Like you, don’t they? Then you’ll love the top-down knitting method! Unlike “classic” knitting with straight needles, you don’t bother to assemble the different knitted pieces one after the other. You knit your sweater in one seamless piece  ! This is an ideal technique for a knitting beginner. Binding off the stitches will be the only finish to be made.
  • You can try on your work as the knitting progresses . This allows you to adjust the length of the sleeves or the body during your work, for example. You thus knit a made-to-measure sweater that meets your desires and your morphology! You won’t have any disappointments (a sweater that makes you a dress!) during the final fitting…
  • You see your project taking shape before your eyes, it’s really stimulating! You have only one desire: to continue knitting to finalize it.
  • Practical, circular needles do not take up space . Composed of a flexible cable which connects 2 needle points, they fold up easily even in a small bag. They are more easily transportable than straight, rigid and more or less long needles. You can therefore knit in the round wherever you want (waiting room, train, etc.). All occasions are good to indulge your passion for knitting!

Are you also won over by this trend of top down knitting? Not surprising ! However, you hesitate to embark on this DIY technique. As a beginner knitter, you have some apprehensions. Don’t worry: you’ll get there easily. Before even buying your circular needles, discover the principle for making a top down knitting pattern. You will see, there is nothing simpler!


Prepare your wool and your circular needles, and let’s go for the explanation of a top-down knitting sweater!

According to the specific indications of the chosen model (number and type of stitches defined by the diagram), start by knitting the collar.

Increase evenly to knit the yoke. At this stage, you can add a multicolored jacquard pattern, for example.

On some models, it is necessary to continue with an extension for a nice result: knit again a few short rows to lengthen the back a little.

Once the yoke has been made, divide the stitches and put the sleeve stitches on hold.

Cast on additional stitches between the front and the back for the future armholes.

Knit body in the round until desired length is achieved, then cast off all sts.

It’s time to make the sleeves: take the stitches put on hold and knit them, for example, on a set of double-pointed needles. Starting in the middle of the extra body sts, increase over half the sts. Knit the stitches for the sleeves, then make increases on the other half of the stitches. In order to avoid holes under the sleeves, plan an additional increase at the level of the armholes, if necessary, then on the next round, knit this stitch with the stitches of the sleeve.

The sleeve is then worked in the round.

When the desired sleeve length is reached, bind off all sts.

There you go, it ‘s quick and easy to make a top-down knit sweater  !

Did you know ? It is quite possible to knit a women’s top-down cardigan (or a jacket, a cardigan…). The method is the same, you just have to knit from top to bottom back and forth from the middle front.

Now you know how to knit top-down… in theory!

To practice, nothing better than a book with top-down knitting patterns that are simple to knit but elegant to wear!

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