Purl Soho Cardigan Vest

A light bulb more than went off when Whitney (yes, of Whit’s Knits) walked into our Bee meeting and proclaimed, “I’d make that vest!” I was trying on the Purl Soho Cardigan Coat mid-project, pre-sleeves, when Whitney pointed out that there was a vest pattern not so stealthily hiding in my coat pattern. Honestly, I was so focused on the sweater coat of my dreams that I hadn’t stopped to notice the sweater vest of my dreams!

In my defense, it was September when I made the Purl Soho Cardigan Coat; sleeves seemed smart at the time. But it’s six months later and signs of spring’s arrival are finally appearing. And so, rather than unravel the sleeves of my sweater, I thought a re-knit was in order. (Plus, for my vest I needed less room for layers and decided to go down a size for a more snug fit!)

Like the Cardigan Coat, the Cardigan Vest is made of Purl Soho’s delightfully soft and springy Worsted Twist merino wool. This time I used Oyster Gray, a luminescent neutral color, perfect for pairing with just about anything! -Laura



To make a Coat or Vest for Child’s 2 (4, 5, 6, 10, 12, Women’s XS, Small, Medium, Large, XL) you will need…


18 stitches and 24 rows = 4 inch in stockinette stitch, using larger needle


Child’s 2 (4, 6, 8, 10, 12, Women's X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, 1X-Large)

  • Finished Chest Circumference: 25 3/4 (28, 29 3/4, 32, 34 1/4, 36, 36, 37 3/4, 42 1/4, 46 1/4, 50 1/4) inches, buttoned
  • Finished Length from Shoulder to Bottom Edge: 14 (14 1/4, 15 1/2, 18, 19, 21, 21 1/4, 22, 22, 23 1/4, 24) inches
  • Finished Length from Underarm to Bottom Edge: 8 1/2 (8 3/4, 9, 11, 12, 13 1/2, 13 3/4, 14, 13 1/2, 14 1/4, 15) inches
  • Ease: Above are the finished dimensions of the garment. The garment is designed with an ease of +2 to +4 inches.
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21 Responses to Purl Soho Cardigan Vest

  1. Great idea! It looks very good. xx

  2. Pearl* says:

    Ah, lovely! And it plays right in to my current love affair with garter stitch :)

  3. Donna Goldberg says:

    What level knitter would you recommend for this vest? Wonder if this is complicated for an advanced beginner/intermediate knitter.

  4. Brandy says:

    Lovely! My favorite part of this design is the tall neck. Looks perfect for spring.

  5. purl bee says:

    Hi Donna.
    Great question. This is a wonderful project for an Advanced Beginner!
    There is some shaping at the back, it's fairly straight forward, but if you have any questions at all we are here to help. You can comment on this page and I'll respond back within a few days.

  6. Liz says:

    Any suggestions for adding pockets? I've been wanting to knit a vest, but to me, any vest (or cardigan sweater for that matter) needs pockets!

  7. purl bee says:

    Hi Liz,
    What an idea! Pockets would be fantastic on this. I know a ton of people are crazy for Elizabeth Zimmermann's "Afterthought Pocket" technique. We do not have a sample of it here on the Purl Bee, but she writes about it in a few of her books and it is extremely easy to google.

    If you'd like to add pockets while knitting the piece… you could reference the Knit Tee Shirt pattern. There is a section called MAKE INSET POCKETS ( Essentially, you figure out where you'd like your pocket to be then rather than working to the end of your row, you work back and forth the width of the pocket for as long as you'd like it deep, then you continue to the end of your row. You sew the sides of the pocket up later. This is a bulkier method however because you end up with three layers of fabric to create the pocket.

    Let us know what you end up doing! I'd love to see it.

  8. Lisa says:


    I am knitting the cardigan and am at the point of shaping the back and back shoulders. I am struggling with the directions on the short rows for the back. I have completed the short row shaping on the fronts with no issue.

    Does the shaping in back generally form a U-shape wight he shoulders a bit higher? If I follow the directions, it doesn't seem that this is the case that the center is higher. Also on the front, there were alternating rows of knitting without the wrp-t. In the instructions for the back, the instructions do not include these alternating knit rows.

    Can you help?


  9. Donna says:

    Wondering why the instructions say to slip the first stitch knit wise on the button row instead of working the stitch. It made my edge look indented on those rows.

  10. purl bee says:

    Hi Donna,
    That instruction is for consistency's sake.

    There is a note in the PATTERN NOTES section that says “Slip the first stitch of each row along the button and buttonhole bands knitwise.” Because I slipped the first stitch along these edges, I wrote it into the instructions for the Buttonhole Row as well.

    If you have not been slipping the first stitch along the edges of the button bands, then I wouldn't slip the first stitch of the Buttonhole Row, again for the sake of consistency.

    It's just a personal preference. I love the look of garter stitch with the first stitch slipped, to me it's cleaner and tidier looking. But it definitely isn't necessary.
    I hope this clears things up.
    Thanks for writing in.
    Let me know if you have any questions.

  11. purl bee says:

    Hi Lisa,
    Thanks for writing in. Let's get this all crystal clear for you.

    First… Have you seen our Short Row Tutorial? This may help a little.

    As for the front versus the back… On the front you are working short rows to shape just one side of your fabric, the neckline. (the neckline). On the back you are working to build up the center of the back so you are working with two edges in mind, the armholes on both sides. So on the back (if you were making the smallest size for example) you work up to 8 stitches to one armhole and then up to 8 stitches to the other edge or armhole, then you work up to 16 stitches, then again up to 16 stitches, then up to 24 stitches and up to 24 stitches again. Going back and forth building up the center of the back.

    I hope this helps clear things up. PLEASE let me know if you have any questions.

  12. Donna says:

    I'm at the point in the vest for FRONT LEFT. I worked the (43) stitches, placed them on a stitch holder, binded off 6 stitches, and I am confused! What do I do with the stitch left on the bind-off? Do I leave it on the needle and then knit the (76) stitches for the back? Seems like that gives me an extra stitch.

    Also, want to clarify that I will be working the garter stitch on each section separately (front left, front right and back)?

  13. purl bee says:

    Hi Donna,
    After you work 43 stitches and place them on hold, you knit 6 and place them on hold and then knit 76 and place those on hold, then knit 6 again and place those on hold and then knit to the end. It sounds like you bound off the 6 rather than knit them?

    And yes. You work the FRONT LEFT, then the FRONT RIGHT and then the BACK. Then you'll graft the SHOULDERS and then pick up for the COLLAR and then either finish the armhole or pick up for SLEEVES.
    Please let me know if you have any questions.

  14. Donna says:

    This is what the directions say under VEST, FRONT LEFT after putting 43 stitches on hold:

    Front Right, bind off 4 (6, 8, 8, 8, 10, 6, 8, 10, 10, 10) stitches for Right Underarm

    Actually seems correct to me. Hope I don't have to start over:(

    Thanks for your help. You are very patient!!!

  15. purl bee says:

    Oh Donna!
    You are correct. I apologize, I was reading the instructions for the sweater, not the vest. Are you still stumped by the stitch left over when binding off…
    I am happy to help however I can. Apologies for any confusion before.

  16. Lesley Stuart says:

    Where can I get the pattern and yarn for the soho vest and coat

  17. Deb says:

    I love this vest — I’m wondering how I might adapt it for a man. It reminds me of a fencing vest, and I think my son might really like it. Any thoughts on how that might work before I purchase the pattern?

    • Molly from the Purl Bee says:

      Hi Deb-

      We don’t have a men’s version of this pattern, but if you like the look of it for your son you might look at the finished measurements (under the Sizes headline) because the larger sizes might fit as is! You could simply switch it to button on the other side if you’d like.

      Thanks for getting in touch!


  18. Cordula says:

    I buy the instruction. Now my question:
    Do you have the instruction also in German? I am vom German, Bavaria, and is hard for me to translate it.

    sunny greetings vom Germany,


    • Laura from the Purl Bee says:

      I am so sorry. We do not have the pattern in German.
      If you have any questions though, I am happy to try and help you!
      Thank you for your purchase and for writing in.

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