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Free Knitting and Crochet Patterns from Elaine Phillips

Best Sunday Baby Dress

Difficulty level: *** Intermediate

Free Baby Dress Knitting Pattern

This charming little dress was designed and knitted for my granddaughter. I called it the "Best Sunday Dress" because it really seems to me just a little too fancy to wear everyday! It is knitted seamlessly from the top down. The top features comfy raglan-style sleeves. I debated between putting the buttons on the front or on the back, and decided to put them on the front for a more traditional look. The skirt is formed with repeats of a lace motif that gives it a wavy texture. It should be easy to adjust to make it longer or shorter. Shorter might be better for a more active infant or toddler!

Sizes: 12 (18, 24)


  • Knit Picks Simply Cotton Organic Sport weight yarn (164 yards (150 meters) / 50 grams, 100% cotton), color white 2 balls and blue 1.25 balls
  • small buttons

Needles:  US 1 (2.25 mm) circular needles OR SIZE NEEDED TO OBTAIN GAUGE

Gauge: 22 sts x 32 rows = 4" x 4" (10cm x 10cm)

Pattern Notes:

Garter stitch: all rows knit

Stockinette stitch:
odd rows (RS) knit, even rows (WS) purl.

Lace Pattern

The lace pattern is worked as a 6-round repeat, the first round has 7 sts, which increases to 17 sts in the last round.

Five rounds of lace are worked in the same way: rounds 1,3,4 and 6 knit, round 2 purl. All changes are worked in the 5th round of the 6-round repeat.

Every fifth round of the repeat will be described below.



  • RS - right side
  • WS - wrong side
  • k - knit
  • p - purl
  • yo - yarn over
  • bb - button band
  • pu&k - pick up and knit
  • psso - (slip one, knit the next 2 together, pass the slipped over the k2tog) = 1 st instead of 3


The dress is worked top-down, the yoke is worked back and forth with a button band on the front. It is worked in stockinette st with raglan sleeves, the skirt is worked in a wave-like lace pattern.

Raglan increases are worked with yarn over before and after the marked raglan stitches in each right side (RS) row, thus the number of stitches in each RS row is increased by 8.

Selvedge/edge stitches are worked in the following way: knit the first stitch in a row, purl the last one.

The button band is worked in garter stitch - all rows knit. The button holes are made by k2tog, yo in the following rows: 3, 11, 19, 27.



With white yarn and circular needles cast on 60 stitches (52 + 6 button band + 2 selvedge). Work 2 rows in garter stitch.

Distribute the stitches in the following way:
1 selvedge - 3 button band (bb) - 9 left front - 1 raglan (place a marker) - 6 left sleeve - 1 raglan (place a marker) - 18 front - 1 raglan (place a marker) - 6 right sleeve - 1 raglan (place a marker) - 9 right front - 3 bb - 1 selvedge

Row 3 (RS) and all odd rows: knit, yo before and after each raglan marker, purl the last stitch.

Row 4 (WS) and all even rows: k selvedge st, k 3 (bb), purl to last 4 sts, k 3 (bb), p 1 (selvedge).

Work 32 (34, 36) rows. In each odd row increase the number of stitches by 8.

Divide for bodice and sleeves:

Row 33 (35, 37) (RS):  knit left front sts, transfer the left sleeve sts to a piece of waste yarn, cast on 4 sts for the underarm, knit back sts, transfer the right sleeve sts to a piece of waste yarn, cast on 4 sts, knit right front sts, p 1. Add raglan sts to back or fronts

Row 34 (36, 38) (WS) k 4, purl all sts including the 8 cast on sts, to last 4, k3, purl last st.

Row 35 (37, 39): knit to the last 4 sts, transfer the last 4 to a spare needle, overlap them with the beginning 4 sts, knit the first sts from both needles together, then the second sts together, third and fourth. Knit to the underarm, knit the first 2 sts of the underarm. Place the marker, this will the beginning of the round.

The eyelet round (technically it's the first round, but for convenience, we call it the eyelet round): *k2 tog, yo -repeat across the round.

Round 1 (with blue yarn): this is the first round of the lace pattern repeat. Knit.

Round 2: purl

Round 3: knit this round and carefully check the number of stitches, it should be divided by 7! If you lack 1-6 sts, add the needed number of them in this round distributing them evenly.

For size 12 you have 112 sts or 16 repeats.

For size 18 you need 119 sts or 17 repeats. Increase by 3 sts evenly (1 near each underarm and 1 at the button band)

For size 24 you need 126 sts or 18 repeats. Increase by 6 sts evenly (1 near each underarm, 2 at the back and 1 at each front)

Rounds 4 and 6: knit

Round 5: *k2tog, (yo, k1) 3 times, yo, k2tog - repeat from * 16 (17, 18) times

Work next 6 rounds (7-12) with white yarn:

Rounds 7/1, 9/3, 10/4, 12/6: knit

Round 8/2: purl

Round 11/5: * k2tog, (k 1, yo) 4 times, k1, k2tog - repeat from * 16 (17, 18) times

Work next 6 rounds (13-18) with blue yarn:

Rounds 13/1, 15/3, 16/4, 18/6: knit

Round 14/2: purl

Round 17/5: *k2tog, k2, (yo, k 1) 4 times, k1, k2tog - repeat from * 16 (17, 18) times,

Work next 6 rounds (19-24) with white yarn:

Rounds 19/1, 21/3, 22/4, 23/6: knit

Round 20/2: purl

Round 23/5: *k2tog 2 times, (yo, k 1) 5 times, yo, k2tog 2 times - repeat from * 16 (17, 18) times

Work next 6 rounds (25-30) with blue yarn:

Rounds 25/1,27/3,28/4,30/6: knit

Round 26/2: purl

Round 29/5: *k2tog 2 times, (k1, yo) 6 times, k1, k2tog 2 times - repeat from * 16 (17, 18) times

Work next 6 rounds (31-36) with white yarn:

Rounds 31/1, 33/3, 34/4, 36/6: knit

Round 32/2: purl

Round 35/5: * k2tog 3 times, (yo, k1) 5 times, yo, k2tog 3 times - repeat from * 16 (17, 18) times

Repeat rounds 31-36 for sizes 18 and 24 to desired length. Change colors every 6 rows.

To finish the hem, work 4 rows in garter stitch and bind off.



Sleeves are worked in the round.

Transfer 38 sts from waste yarn to needles. With blue yarn:

Round 1: pu&k 4 sts underarm, knit 38. Place a marker, this is the beginning of the round.

Rounds 2 and 4: purl

Rounds 3 and 5: knit. Bind off.



Weave in the yarn ends. Sew buttons to the button band. Crochet chain using 2 threads (white and blue) 40” (100 cm). Thread into the eyelet row.


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There are 9 total comments on this article.

Leave a comment about the article.
Poster: Shelagh
May 28, 2018

Cast on the same # of stitches for all three sizes? I made this through the second round of lace, but tore it out because it was coming out quite large. For 12 months old, should I cast on fewer stitches from the start? Thank you for any help.
Poster: Elaine Phillips
June 17, 2018

The size of the baby/toddler neck is pretty much the same. That is why the number of cast on stitches is the same. The difference is in the number of rows and increases in the yoke.
Poster: Shelagh
June 21, 2018

Thank you. I'm starting again. Love this sweet pattern.

Poster: Knotty Knitwit
April 21, 2018

What lace pattern did you use? the link doesn't work
Poster: Jacqulyn Bacci
October 24, 2017

Very satisfying top down dress to knit! Pretty easy to follow. Came out very cute.
Poster: Mommy T
October 22, 2016

My daughter looked a dream in this for her first birthday! So lovely.
Poster: Fredaline
October 21, 2017

I want to knit this dress but can't download or copy pattern. What am I doing wrong?
Poster: Marny CA
June 17, 2016

Really beautiful - but if making this for an anonymous child how long the skirt be?

Even for the grands/greats of friends, I don't know the children in person so sizing keeps me from making clothing.
Poster: Frances
October 10, 2016

I knit for alot of people and just follow size on pattern that usually does , but you can always ask mommy to measure for you if its not a surprise of course , happy knitting

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Yarn Weight:Sport
Yarn Brand:Knit Picks

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