Puff sleeve toddler sweater construction

I have finished the toddler sweater, just in time for my daughter's first birthday today! I can't believe she's already one year old. Where has this year gone?! She went from a tiny little baby to a young girl in the blink of an eye. It really does go fast, so savor every moment. I've made sure to take lots of photos of her and I've been looking back on them for her birthday reliving every wonderful moment.

I can't promise I won't cry as we celebrate her this weekend, and that's ok. I love being a mother and I love her so much and I'm not ashamed to show that emotion, or spoil her at this special time in her life even if she doesn't remember it. 

I'm so excited to share this sweater in time for spring. I have blocked it and sewn in finishing snap tape and it's ready for Violet to wear. I have a draft of the pattern that is being test knit and edited and I should be able to share the final version in a couple weeks. To give you an idea of how the sweater is constructed, I've included my progression photos below for each major step in the pattern. Here is how the top-down set-in puff sleeve sweater is made.

How to construct the top-down set-in puff sleeve:

 1. Starting with the back neck, use provisional cast-on for two sections, one with 7 more stitches than the other (7 stitches because that is 1" which is the width of the snap tape). Knit straight at the same time for the depth of the placket opening.

2. Overlap the 7 extra stitches of one side over the other and knit together to join into one back section. Knit to the underarm shaping and place on waste yarn.
3. Start the front at the shoulders and CO stitches to shape the front neck. Join the fronts and knit straight until it matches the back length and shape underarms the same way.

** Here is a great point to do some color work if you want to add a design on the front of the sweater. I kept mine basic to get the shape, but a pink heart would have been cute against the purple background. 

4. Joint the front and back in the round and CO extra stitches for underarm. Continue to knit around the body for the desired length of the sweater.
5. Use ribbing at the bottom and BO in your favorite stretchy technique (I suggest Latvian bind-off for reasons I've explained here).
6. Time to do the sleeve shaping! Pick up the stitches around the arm hole to start the sleeve by picking up 2 stitches for every 3 stitches or rows. I provide an approximate amount of stitches to pick up so you know what to aim for in the pattern. Just remember to get even spacing so you have the same number of stitches on the front half as the back half (from underarm to top of shoulder).
7. On the first round you will increase stitches along the top of the shoulder to create the gathered effect, then use short rows to shape the cap of the sleeve. I use German short rows because of how easy it is compared to the wrap and turn method, and it looks really nice when finished. My favorite German short row tutorial is here

8. After finishing the sleeves, pick up stitches for the collar. Because of the placket opening in the back, the collar is actually worked flat, not in the round. I still used double pointed needles because it was easier to work with due to small collar opening. (You can see I didn't have evenly spaced stitches on needles but it doesn't matter, it still worked).
9. Bind-off the collar using the invisible ribbed sewn technique for a beautiful finish! I gently washed and blocked the sweater at this point before sewing in the snap tape in the back placket. After all my measurements it was still a snug fit over Violet's head! It fits and that's what is important. I would highly recommend if you can, try the sweater over baby's head multiple times throughout to check for fit.
10. Sew in snap tape using needle and thread. Make sure the snaps are lined up! And now the sweater is ready for wear. You can find snap tape at Joann's or online. Dritz snap tape.

And there you have it, only 10 steps to finish this beautiful sweater. I'll be sharing the full pattern soon. It will include sizes from 6M all the way up to 5T, I've done mine in size 12M for Violet. In the mean time, to see my yarn and needle choices, check out my current project list. To see where my inspiration for this sweater came from, see Puff sleeves are in

Stay tuned for this pattern release and make sure to subscribe to my blog to get updated as soon as I post it. Follow me on instagram @RedFeatherKnits to see what other projects I'm working on. What do you think of the sweater? Let me know in the comments below!


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