I designed this sweater for my Pembroke Corgi, Riley, when we moved from
The Corgi is a classy dog, very “British” in style – so I wanted to create a sweater that would reflect that innate quality. This dog sweater is knit in a modified Mosaic Garter Stitch, giving it a classic look, with a background of understated dark colors accented by a bright blue, adding cheerfulness on dreary days. It is knit in machine washable wool, for utmost warmth combined with easy care.
Because dogs come in all sizes and shapes, the following is much more of a formula than a pattern, per se. In fact, I’m not even going to give any of the numbers I used, because a corgi is a very strangely shaped dog – and even if you’re making this for another corgi, well, Riley’s a bit of a “chunky” little guy, so his dimensions likely won’t match your corgi’s. So, while this sweater is a cinch to knit, it can be a bit of a chore to plan. Don’t worry, though; I’m including a few diagrams and (hopefully) pretty detailed instructions to help guide you along. I’ll break down the math parts as much as I can, for those knitters who aren’t mathematically inclined.
- KnitPicks Swish Superwash (worsted weight, 100% superwash wool, 110 yds/50 g ball)
*any worsted weight washable wool should work just fine, but KnitPicks is both soft and inexpensive*
- 2 skeins “
- 2 skeins “Truffle” = C1
- 2 skeins “Dark Navy” = C2
- 3 skeins “
- 4 buttons, at least 1” diameter, to match your colors and style. Make sure they are washable!
- Size 7 needles, preferably circular. (Note: For the trim, which is added at the end, I used several circular needle cords from an interchangeable set, connected together, PLUS an additional size 7 circular, but alternatively the trim may be worked in sections and seamed together.)
- Large-eyed needle for sewing up ends.
- Sewing needle & thread for attaching buttons.
- Measuring tape.
- The following diagrams: feel free to print them out, or, draw your own:
The sweater is worked in two pieces – back (in pattern with contrasting color) and belly (in modified pattern without contrasting color).
These two panels are joined around the neck, then a ribbed trim is picked up first around the body (in one piece if you have several pairs of circular needles, or in several sections and joined if you prefer to work with straight), then a matching trim is worked separately around the neck.
Note that around the legs, the trim is meant to stick out and sit along the front and sides of the legs, but to lie flat against the body behind the legs (so as not to irritate armpits when walking).
Buttonholes are added when working the trim, and buttons are sewn on at the end. Therefore the trim pieces overlap along the ribs.
This pattern, adapted from Sarah Bradberry’s “Mosaic Garter Stitch” pattern, is very thick and warm, and sturdy enough to hold up to lots of doggy romping. The back and belly differ slightly, in the color changes and the right/wrong side.
Back – Odd rows are RS, even rows are WS.
Rows 1 & 2: w/ C1, k across
Rows 3 & 4: w/ CC, *k1, sl 1 p-wise* rep across
Rows 5 & 6: w/ C2, k across
Rows 7 & 8: rep rows 3 & 4
Rows 9 & 10: w/ C3, k across
Rows 11 & 12: rep rows 3 & 4
Belly – Odd rows are WS, even rows are RS. (Colors are in reverse order because belly section is worked neck to tail instead of tail to neck, as in back section.)
Row 1: w/ C3, *k1, sl 1 p-wise* rep across
Rows 2 & 3: w/ C3, k across
Row 4: w/ C3, *k1, sl 1 p-wise* rep across
Rows 5-8: rep rows 1-4 w/ C2
Rows 9-12: rep rows 1-4 w/ C1
*Yarn may be carried/stranded along WS of work when not in use to reduce the number of ends to weave in; just be mindful of corners when stranding.*
It is VERY important that you CHECK YOUR GAUGE. I cannot stress this enough. This from a knitter notoriously bad about swatching. This pattern will NOT work if you guess! Calculate your stitches per inch (from now on, this number will be referred to as “X”) and your rows per inch (“Y”) in the stitch pattern given.
Next, get out your measuring tape and MEASURE YOUR DOG. Figure 1, above, will help with this stage. The measurements you need (i.e. write this down), which correspond with the numbers on the diagram, are as follows:
1 = Length along back, base of neck to base of tail – where you want the sweater ends to lie. Measurement 1 is divided into 2, 3, 4, and 5:
2 = Distance between base of neck and front of leg.
3 = Length front to back of leg.
4 = Distance from back of leg to navel.
5 = Distance from navel to base of tail.
6 = Circumference around dog at chest or widest part. Measurement 6 is divided into 7, 8, and 9:
7 = Distance across shoulders from outside of one front leg to outside of the other.
8 = (Times 2) Width of each front leg, from frontal view.
9 = Distance between front legs, armpit to armpit.
10 = Circumference around neck below collar, where you wish the neck of the sweater to lie.
Now that your dog is sufficiently concerned about what exactly you have planned, use the diagrams and a calculator if necessary to plan your sweater’s dimensions, beginning with the belly in Figure 2. The letters below correspond to the letters in the diagram; numbers refer to your measurements from Figure 1, except when an inch indication (”) is given, in which case numbers refer to actual inches. (Inches are given to account for an inch-wide trim.)
A = #2 + #3 + #4 – 2”
B = #4 – 1.5”
C = #3 – 0.5”
D = #2 – 1”
E = #9
F = #8 + #9 – 2”
G = #8 + #9
Use these calculations in addition to your Figure 1 measurements to help you find the dimensions for the back of the sweater, Figure 3. Letters refer to the above calculations; numbers are the same as before.
H = #1 – 2”
I = D (or #2 – 1”)
J = C (or #3 – 0.5”)
K = #4 – 0.5”
L = #5 – 3”
M = 2”
N = #7
O = #6 – G (or #8 + #9)
*From now on, any time in the instructions I mention a letter A-O, it refers to these calculations. If I mention X, that’s stitches per inch (remember?) and Y, that’s rows per inch.*
Once you have all of this worked out and written down on your printed-out diagrams or your own drawings, you are JUST ABOUT ready to start knitting! All you have to do now is calculate stitches.
Knitting begins with the sweater back, at the tail. First you need to calculate stitches for the widest part – multiply O x X (rounded up to the nearest whole number). That gives you the number of stitches you need for the K section – I’ll call this the Target Number. Write it down somewhere. Now you have to work backward a little bit to get your CO number. You’ll notice that the L section of the sweater is an increasing section. Increasing is done by 2 stitches per row on knitted rows, with no increases on the sl st rows – averaging an increase of 4 stitches every 4 rows, which works out to one stitch per row. Your calculation Y will therefore tell you how many stitches you’ll increase per inch. Multiply Y x L to get the total number of stitches you’ll be increasing in the L section. Then subtract this number from your Target Number, and you find your cast on number! Yay.
Cast on this number of stitches in CC.
Work even in pattern (as given for the back) for 2 inches or Y x 2 rows, ending with a WS row. (M section)
Increasing: (L section)
Increases are worked on knitted rows (with C1, 2, 3) only – not on CC sl st rows.
Increase rows are as follows: k2, k2 in same st, k across to last 3 sts, k2 in same st, k2.
Work increase rows in pattern for L inches or Y x L rows, until you have reached your Target Number of stitches, ending with a WS row.
Work even in pattern for K inches or Y x K rows, ending with a WS row. (K section)
To calculate the number of stitches to bind off, first multiply X x N, then subtract this number from your Target Number.
At the beg of the next row, BO ½ of the number you just calculated.
At beg of the following row, BO the same number – you should now have X x N sts.
Work even in pattern for J inches or Y x J rows, ending with a WS row.
At the end of the next row, CO the same number of sts that you bound off at the beginning of the leg hole.
At end of the following row, CO that number of sts again – you should be back to your Target Number of sts.
The neck involves decreasing; decreasing, like increasing, is worked only on knitted rows, not the CC sl st rows, decreasing 2 sts per row. You can work all your decreases as k2tog, since the stitch pattern will obscure the slant.
Decrease rows are as follows: k2, k2tog, k across to last 4 sts, k2tog, k2.
Work decrease rows in pattern for I inches, or Y x I rows.
With CC, BO.
The back is done! Rock on.
Not as much calculation needed to cast on here. The belly section is worked from the neck down, in the opposite direction of the back, for a change of pace. Just multiply F x X to get your stitch number.
W/ CC, CO this number of sts.
Work even in pattern (as given for the belly) for D inches or D x Y rows, ending with a WS row.
Works just like before. To calculate the number of stitches to bind off, first multiply X x E, then subtract this number from the number of sts you worked in F.
At the beg of the next row, BO ½ of the number you just calculated.
At beg of the following row, BO the same number – you should now have X x E sts.
Work even in pattern for C inches or C x Y rows, ending with a WS row.
Section B is 2” wider then section D, because a little added tightness before the front legs will help keep the sweater in place. Therefore you cast on an additional inch on each side when you switch from section C to B.
In other words, at the end of the next row, CO the number of sts you bound off at the beg of leg hole PLUS X.
At the end of following row, CO this number of sts once more.
Work even in pattern for B inches or B x Y rows.
W/ CC, BO.
Seam together the two pieces around the neck, joining D to I.
The trim will require patience and some inventiveness. Basically, I picked up sts evenly around all edges in CC with as many circular needles as it took, then switched to C3 and worked in a 4x2 rib for an inch all the way around, and then w/ C2, BO. (You don’t have to do the crazy color changes if you don’t want, I really did that to conserve yarn more than anything.) I did the body first, then the neck.
There are a few twists though. First, you may not have enough length of circular needle cords to get all the way around. In that case, rather than run out and buy more needles, you may choose to work the trim in sections and then seam together. Good luck.
Second, the corners require increases or decreases in order for the trim to lie flat. My corners aren’t perfect, and if you would prefer to use a different method, that’s fine, but at each corner I used 2 M1 increases, or 2 k2tog decreases, 1 st away from the corner on either side, doing my best to keep up the ribbing. EXCEPT – I worked even around the corners at the top and bottom of the front of the leg (not the back, I decreased at the back of the leg) so that the trim would stick out and act like a little bit of a sleeve.
Third, the buttonholes. Determine where you want the buttons – I suggest right behind the leg and at the end corners of the sweater belly. On the 2nd row of the trim, BO 1 or 2 sts fewer than you think you need to (depending on the tightness of your gauge and the give of your yarn) to accommodate your button. Do this 4 times, since you have 4 buttons. On the next row, CO that many sts again. Ta da, button holes.
Fourth, you will probably have to work decreases in the neck trim to accommodate the shape of your dog (unless your dog has a really thick neck!). Eventually you’re trying to achieve that #10 measurement you took of the doggy’s neck. I recommend you actually measure the neck of the sweater as it is before you begin the trim, and subtract the #10 measurement of your dog’s neck where you want the trim to end. You may want to go back and double check how many sts and rows the body trim took to get to 1” because it will likely be different from your original X & Y measurements, since the stitch pattern is different. Multiply the sts per inch by the difference in neck measurements to get the number of sts you need to decrease total, then divide that number by the rows per inch to get the number of sts you need to decrease per row. (Sound complicated? It is, a little, but you can do it - you're a knitter!) Anyway, you will likely want to do 2/3 to 3/4 of your decreases on the lower half of the neck, since most dogs’ bodies vary more sharply between chest and neck than between back and neck. Otherwise work them as evenly as possible, keeping in pattern as much as you can.
Once you’ve fought your way through the trim, you’re practically done – you just have to weave in any leftover ends and sew on those buttons with a needle and thread.
Then stuff your dog into the sweater and tease him/her to pieces.
(This is Riley unappreciative of all the teasing.)
(And this is how relieved you'll feel when it's over!)
***By the way, if you ever make this or any other pattern that may appear on my blog - send me pictures and I'll post them here!***