These cotton shorts are wonderful, not only for their vintage style, but also for the flexibility of the fit. The ribbing and elastic waistband allow the garment to grow with the child, useful first as bloomers over diapers and then later as regular shorts.
These are quick and easy to knit. Almost no seaming! I think I’ve found my new baby gift standby!
- 5 balls of Rowan’s Cotton Glace, 2 in the main color and 1 of each contrast color. I used for the main color, Ecru #725, and for the contrast colors, Buttercup #825, Crystal #830, and Pier #809.
- A 12 inch US#1 circular needle (or a set of US#1 double pointed needles)
- A 12 inch US#3 circular needle (or a set of US#3 double pointed needles)
- A 16 inch US#1 circular needle
- A 16 inch US#3 circular needle
- About 2 feet of 1/2 inch wide elastic
- Thread and needle or a sewing machine
- 1 coordinating button (purely decorative, so it can be any size or you can skip it)
10 stitches = 1 inch in unstretched 1 x 1 rib with larger needle
To fit baby-toddler: 18 inches around hips, unstretched, and adjustable elastic waist.
The entire pattern is knit in a 1 x 1 rib:
1 x 1 Rib
*K1, p1, repeat from * to end of round.
With Color A and the US #1, 12 inch circular needle, cast on 80 stitches.
Place marker, and join for working in the round being careful to not twist the stitches.
Work 5 rounds of 1 x 1 rib.
Changing to US #3, 12 inch circular needle, work 3 rounds of 1 x 1 rib.
With Color B, work 2 rounds of 1 x 1 rib.
With Color A, work 2 rounds of 1 x 1 rib.
With Color B, work 1 round of 1 x 1 rib.
Cut the tails and put all the stitches on holders or a spare circular needle.
Make another leg the same way, except do not cut Color B’s tail at the end. Leave the second leg on the US #3, 12 inch needle.
Joining the Legs
Using a Cable Cast On, cast 10 stitches on to the second leg. (Please check out our new Cable Cast-on Tutorial if you need some help.)
Place a marker, and with the same needle that is holding the 10 cast on stitches, work the 1 x 1 rib around the 80 stitches of the first leg.
All 170 stitches will now be on the same needle.
Again, using a Cable Cast On, cast 10 stitches on to the right needle. And with the right side facing you, join the legs by knitting the first stitch of the second leg.
Continue the 1 x 1 rib to the marker. You should have 180 stitches total.
Changing to the 16 inch US #3 needle, work the 1 x 1 rib in the following stripe pattern (starting from the bottom):
NOTE: I carried the cream color up the inside of the bloomers and the yellow from the first stripe to the second, but, otherwise, I cut the tails of each color when I finished its stripe.
Repeat the whole pattern 1 more time, and then work three more rounds with Color A.
Changing to the 16 inch US #1 needle, work 8 rounds of the 1 x 1 rib.
Purl 1 round.
Work 8 more rounds of the 1 x 1 rib. Cut a 36 inch tail.
Prepare the Elastic
Cut the elastic so it is 18 inches long.
Mark 1 inch from the end of the elastic and fold the elastic in half so one end overlaps the other to the 1 inch mark. (Make sure the elastic isn’t twisted!) Pin it in this position.
By hand or with a sewing machine, sew a rectangle around the edges of the overlap.
Hem the Waistband
Thread a tapestry needle onto the long tail of yarn from the waistband. Insert the tapestry needle into the first stitch of the knitting needle as if to purl.
Remove the stitch from the knitting needle and pull the yarn fairly tight.
Arrange the elastic band so that it is running along the inside of the waistband. Then, sew under the purl bump that is fourth from the Color B round. Make sure it is also directly in line of the stitch you just removed from the knitting needle. Pull tight.
Remove a stitch from the knitting needle again.
And now sew under the knit stitch that is fourth from the Color B round and is also directly in line of the stitch you just removed from the knitting needle. Pull tight.
Repeat these step until you have removed all the stitches from the knitting needle. Be careful to always bring the yarn over the elastic so that it is simultaneously getting sewn into the hem.
To sew the crotch closed, thread a tail from edge of the opening onto a tapestry needle. Sew under the knit stitch that is right below the cast on edge.
Sew under the knit stitch directly across from that one.
Then, crossing to the other side, sew under the next purl bump right below the cast on edge.
Sew under the purl bump across from that one, and continue back and forth across the whole opening.
Use tails to sew up any holes that may be left at the corners of the opening.
Sew in all the tails that remain. And finally, attach the button to the front of the waistband. (I like the button, in part, because it ensures that the “jog” of the striping will always be worn to the back.)