The Agnes Sweater Vest is a fun and easy crochet project that is great for using up leftover yarn. This tutorial goes through every step of making this granny square sweater including tools and yard used, and tips for adjusting the sweater design to fit your desired measurements. I hope that reading through my notes will inspire you and help give you a starting point to make your own!
The sweater was designed with oversized armholes and a slightly cropped length in order to layer easily over tops and dresses. The ribbing at the collar, armholes and hem are made by picking up and knitting in the round but this can be replaced with a crocheted finishing method of your choice.
This granny square vest idea has been swirling around in my head for a while and was definitely a labor of love! I’ve named it after my grandma Agnes, who has knit, crocheted and sewn so many beautiful things over the years. The afghan she knit me years ago lives on my couch and I use it daily! She’s always been an inspiration to me – so this sweater is dedicated to her!
Supplies You’ll Need
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These are the supplies that I used to make my Agnes Sweater Vest but feel free to use whatever you have on hand. You may want to experiment with a different yarn weight, needle size or bigger or smaller granny squares to make it your own.
I only used less than one skein of each color to make this sweater. The Wool of the Andes comes in 50g/110yd (100m) skeins, and the Simply Wool Worsted that I used for the main color (Wendy/white) comes in 100g/193yd (176m) skeins and I used almost the whole skein. However, it does depend on how big and how many square you choose to make, and if you want the ribbing wider or longer. It’s a good idea to have extra just in case!
These are the colors I used, if you’re curious:
- Brass Heather (caramel brown) – Wool of the Andes (I LOVE this color and also used it for my Holiday Slipover)
- Mink Heather (medium gray) – Wool of the Andes
- Pampas Heather (green) – Wool of the Andes
- Winnie Twist (light gray twist) – Simply Wool Worsted (discontinued…but they have it in Aran weight)
- Winkle (light gray) – Simply Wool Worsted
- Wallace (brown) – Simply Wool Worsted (I’ve used this color before for my Miles Shirt Jacket, but in Aran weight)
- Wendy (creamy white) – Simply Wool Worsted (I love this creamy color and also used it for my Seasons Cardigan)
4.5mm (US 7) crochet hook and 4.5mm (US 7) 16″ and 29″-36″ circular knitting needle
I’ve used these bamboo interchangeable circular knitting set for a couple of years now and it’s great because I know I will always have the needle and cable length I need for a project. Another option is this circular set from Knit Picks which has less needle and cable options, but comes with cable keys to help tighten your needle tips to the cables.
The granny squares, with my needle size and yarn choice, are 4″ (10.2 cm) before joining.
During the blocking process I manipulated the vest a little to get the measurements and shape I wanted which caused some of the squares to bigger than others – but really not that noticeable!
I used an existing sweater vest (my Holiday Slipover) to get a rough idea of the final fit that I wanted and laid the squares out on it as I went. You could take some quick body measurements to get a rough idea of the size you want – like your bust, waist, shoulder, armhole and overall length. Or you can always wing it, like I did, and figure it out as you go. 🙂
I’ve included the final dimensions of my version (below) to give an idea of what measurements to aim for. For reference I’m 5’4″ with a bust measurement of 34.”
Tips on Sizing
A couple of things you could do to adjust the size to fit your measurements:
- Add an extra round to your granny square. Keep in mind that since there is only one square at the shoulder, this will also make the shoulder width wider.
- At the side seams you can add a few rows of single crochet to add width. You could also crochet rows in the same pattern – clusters of 3 double crochets – to match the granny squares.
- Size up or down a hook size to change the size of your granny square.
- Check out the hashtag #agnessweatervest on Instagram or Ravelry to see what others have done to adjust the fit.
Crochet the granny squares
It’s been a while since I’ve crocheted anything so I used the tutorial from Purl Soho as a refresher. I started with one granny square to place at my shoulder to see how wide I wanted it to be there. A 4″ (10.2 cm) granny square with 4-rounds (in the yarn weight and needle size I chose) ended up being a great width at the shoulder for me.
I crocheted the first 3 rounds in different yarn colors but made the last round the same color – feel free to experiment! Keep in mind that when you seam the squares together, the seams will be more visible if your final round isn’t all the same color.
Throughout the process I would safety pin my squares together to check the fit. This was a little time-consuming but it helped me to know how many squares I needed to make to get the fit I wanted.
In total, I made 25 granny squares and laid them out like the picture below. The back has one more row than the front and I have only one square to connect at the sides. If you want more ease on the sides, you can add another square, or even connect the sides with crochet rows.
I then whip-stitched them together but use whatever method you prefer. I found it easiest to connect the squares in rows first, and then seam the rows to each other. You could weave in all your loose ends now if you want to get this part out of the way now (I didn’t…and did them all at once at the very end – This is for sure the most time-consuming part).
Pick up stitches for the collar
After all the seaming was done, I tried it on again to double check the fit, and then it was time to pickup stitches for the ribbing at the neck and arms! I chose to knit the ribbing, but there are other options you could choose to finish the edges. I know there is a way to crochet ribbing or a simple edge stitch – just depends on the look you want!
Pick up 76 stitches (total) in each chain stitch around with 4 in each corner. I ended up adding 4 single crochet stitches at the corners to help round out the neckline and make it easier to pick up (see photo above). You may have to experiment here depending on how big or small you want your neckline circumference.
K1, P1 for 4 rounds.
Then knit the set-up rounds for the tubular bind-off for knitting in the round as follows: (you can skip these set-up rounds if you choose to bind-off with a different method)
Round 1 – [K1, Slip 1 wyif] repeat until end of round (Knit the knit stitches and slip the purl stitches with yarn in front)
Round 2 – [Slip 1 wyib, P1] repeat until end of round (Slip the knit stitch with yarn in back and purl the purl stitches)
Pick up stitches at the armholes
Pick up 124 stitches in each chain stitch around. Pick up about 3 stitches at each seam where the squares meet and 3 stitches in the corners. I also added 3 single crochet stitches in the corners like I did at the neckline.
K1, P1 for 4 rounds. Then knit the 2 set-up rounds for the tubular bind-off (see neckline step).
Bind off using the sewn tubular bind-off method.
Starting at the FRONT right, find the middle at the sides and pick up 71 stitches (or an ODD number of stitches) in each chain stitch. Then knit the hem as follows:
Knit for 11 rows or 2″ (or desired length).
Knit the 2 set-up rows for the tubular bind-off as follows: (When knitting flat, the steps are slightly different than when knitting in the round.)
For both rows – [K1, Slip 1 wyif] repeat until end of round (Knit the knit stitches and slip the purl stitches with yarn in front)
Bind off using the sewn tubular bind-off.
Repeat these steps for the BACK hem, picking up in the same stitch at the sides that you picked up at the front. This helps prevent a gap, but you can also add a few discreet stitches the top of the split.
Weave in remaining yarn ends (or if you’re like me, ALL the ends). Block and gently shape to desired measurements. Wear with pride! 🙂
There is something so classic and nostalgic to me about granny squares that I’ve only ever made into blankets. So now I’m very happy to have, essentially, a blanket I can wear and incorporate into my wardrobe!
I truly hope that this was helpful and that I laid it all out in a way that makes sense! Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments. And if you do make a version of the Agnes Sweater Vest, I would love to see it! You can use the hashtag #agnessweatervest or send me a pic through my Instagram, bethanylynne_makes. 🙂
Lastly, if you made it this far, thanks for reading! And happy crocheting / knitting!