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Lion Brand Yarns

The ultimate compliment for a knitting mom is to hear, “Ooooh, can you make one for me?” Thus, Unmentionables now sized for little girls. Perfect for spontaneous cartwheels this spring and for keeping small legs warm under holiday dresses in winter. Emma reports that they are also essential for making princess dresses more poufy.

They are knit entirely in the round. Each leg begins separately with a crochet-chain provisional cast on, and then crotch stitches are set aside (to be grafted later) before the legs are joined and the body is knitted up to the waist. Then stitches for each leg are picked up and the ruffle and lace edging are knitted downward. The optional elastic waist can be concealed by a ribbon drawstring and hits at the natural waistline.

model: Emma photos: Lee and Tom Juvan


2T[3T, 4T, 5/6]
Shown custom-sized with 4T waist and 5/6 length


Waist circumference: 20.5[20.5, 21, 22.5] inches
Hip circumference: 23[23, 24, 25.5] inches
Length: 13[14, 15, 17] inches


Valley Yarns Longmeadow [60% cotton / 40% acrylic microfiber; 117yd/107m per 50 g skein]; color #13 light blue; 5[6, 6, 7] skeins.

Recommended needle size:
1 24-inch US #5/3.75mm circular needle
1 set US #6/4mm double-point needles
Note: For Sizes 2T and 3T: 12-inch US #5/3.75mm circular needle (two longer circular needles may be substituted if desired)
For sizes 4T and 5/6: 16-inch US #5/3.75mm circular needle

1 spare circular needle, US #5/3.75mm or smaller
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]

Crochet hook
Waste yarn
Stitch markers
Stitch holders or waste yarn
Tapestry needle
1.25 yd 1-inch wide ribbon for drawstring
0.25-inch wide elastic, 2 inches longer than waist circumference (optional)


22 sts/30 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch


[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here]

Small people can vary quite a bit in size, but it is very easy to customize this pattern for the perfect fit. Measure the child’s waist and hips and choose size according to the hip measurement. The waist can be made a bit smaller or larger by adding or eliminating one set of waist decreases. Follow length instructions for the most appropriate size, and yarn requirements for largest size used.

To avoid working a provisional CO using double-point needles, a short circular needle or two longer circular needles are used. If you prefer, you can use double-point needles and a regular CO, then pick up sts later for the ruffle. Results are not quite as smooth, but by the time a three-year-old plays dress up in these, no one will notice the difference.

Crochet Cast On
Using waste yarn, work a crochet chain several sts longer than the number of sts to be cast on. Starting 1 or 2 sts in from end of chain and using working yarn, pick up and k 1 st in the back loop of each ch until the required number of sts have been picked up. Later, the chain will be unraveled and the resulting live sts picked up.

Instructions for grafting can be found here.

2x2 Rib (Worked in the round over a multiple of 4 sts):
Round 1: [K2, p2] to end.
Repeat this round for 2x2 Rib.

Lace Edging:
In the directions below, the [k2tog] worked at the end of each RS row indicates that the last st of the edging is worked together with the next st of the ruffle. This is explained more fully in the directions for the ruffle. Note that stitch counts given below are for stitches of Lace Edging only.
CO 5 sts.
Row 1 [WS]: Sl 1 knitwise, k1, [yo] twice, k2tog, k1. 6 sts.
Row 2 [RS]: Sl 1 knitwise, k2, p1, k1, k2tog.
Row 3 [WS]: Sl 1 knitwise, k3, [yo] twice, k2. 8 sts.
Row 4 [RS]: Sl 1 knitwise, k2, p1, k3, k2tog.
Row 5 [WS]: Sl 1 knitwise, k1, [yo] twice, k2tog, k4. 9 sts.
Row 6 [RS]: Sl 1 knitwise, k5, p1, k1, k2tog.
Row 7 [WS]: Sl 1 knitwise, k8.
Row 8 [RS]: BO 4 sts, k to last st of edging, k2tog. 5 sts.
Repeat these 8 rows for Lace Edging.


Using short US #5/3.75mm circular needle and Crochet Cast On, CO 80[80, 84, 88] sts. Place marker and join to begin working in the round, being careful not to twist.

Work in stockinette st until work measures 3[3.5, 4, 6] inches, ending last round 8[8, 9, 9] sts before marker.

Place next 16[16, 18, 18] sts on hold on waste yarn or stitch holder for crotch.
Slip remaining 64[64, 66, 70] sts to spare needle. Break yarn, leaving a 24-inch tail.

Make second leg in the same way as first but, after placing sts on hold for crotch, do not remove remaining sts from working needle, and do not break yarn.

Joining Round: Using longer circular needle and yarn attached to second leg, k 64[64, 66, 70] sts of first leg from spare needle, place marker, k 64[64, 66, 70] sts of second leg, place marker. 128[128, 132, 140] sts.

Join to work in the round. This point is center back, and will be beginning of round.

Work in stockinette st until work measures 1 inch from joining round.

Decrease Round: [K2tog, k to 2 sts before marker, ssk] twice. 4 sts decreased.
K 4 rounds.
Repeat these 5 rounds 3 times more. 112[112, 116, 124] sts.

Continue in stockinette st until work measures 5[5.5, 6, 6] inches from joining round.

Rounds 1-3: [K2, p2] to end.
Round 4: [Yo, k2tog, yo, p2tog] to end.
Rounds 5-6: [K2, p2] to end.
BO all sts in pattern.

Remove waste yarn from CO edge of one leg and place resulting 80[80, 84, 88] live sts on short circular needle.

Place marker and k 1 round.

P 1 round.

Increase Round: [K1, yo] to end. 160[160, 168, 176] sts total.

P 1 round.

If you are working on a very short needle or two circular needles, you may wish to change to a longer (16-inch or 20-inch) needle at this time, if available.

Work in stockinette st until ruffle measures 2 inches from last p round.

Break yarn, leaving a 12-inch tail.

Note: Lace edging is worked using double-point needles throughout.

Using double-point needle, CO 5 sts. Work Row 1 of Lace Edging (a WS row).

Next Row (Row 2 of Lace Edging) [RS]: Work in pattern to last st; with RS of ruffle facing, slip next st of ruffle to tip of left needle (2 sts on left needle), k2tog.

Continue working lace edging in this way, attaching edging to ruffle as above, until all sts of ruffle have been attached. (4 sts of ruffle will be attached for every 8-row repeat of edging worked.)
BO edging sts. Thread yarn tail on tapestry needle and use it to sew CO and BO ends of edging together.

Work ruffle on second leg in the same way.


Slip held sts of each leg to a double-point needle. To minimize any gap at front and back leg joins, insert the tip of each end of each needle into the adjacent leg stitch (adding two more stitches to each needle). Graft crotch sts together, including additional picked-up sts. Use yarn tail to close up any gaps that remain.
Weave in all ends.
Hand wash in cool water and lay flat to dry, gently stretching lace edging to open pattern.

If desired, thread elastic through eyelets at waist. Overlap ends of elastic and pin in place, trying garment on child to determine correct length. Sew ends securely together.
Weave ribbon drawstring through waistband eyelets to cover elastic.


Lee Juvan lives in Vermont, where she is grateful to have a daughter who knits, a son who can’t wait to learn, and a husband who takes her knitting seriously. Her work has also appeared in Spin-Off. More of her patterns will soon be available on Ravelry