20 Perfectly Precious Free Knitting Patterns for Preemie Clothes

So many babies born too soon need the help of knitters – you can help with these preemie clothes patterns

Knitting preemie clothes is a popular way to knit for charity. I hear more questions about how to donate hats for premature babies than perhaps any other charity knitting question I receive.

It’s a wonderful charity knitting cause because, unfortunately, prematurity remains an unsolvable puzzle, so there are always plenty of babies to give hats and clothing to.

Sadly, there are also many children who are born too soon and are subsequently gone too soon every year, meaning there is another unfortunate need for premature clothing and hats.

That’s why I’ve rounded up this collection of links to free knitting patterns for preemie clothes. So if you’ve been searching for the perfect preemie patterns, your search is now over!

Preemie Hats for Charity
Preemie Hats for Charity

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Preemie Hats for Charity

  • What you’ll need to make these: Small amounts of sport-weight yarn; US Size 3 DPNs or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round)
  • Why you’ll want to: This sweet little collection of quick and easy preemie hat patterns offers five different varieties.

Baby Bear Hat

  • What you’ll need to make it: 100 yards very soft worsted weight yarn (test on the inside of your arm for softness); US Size 10.5 needles (straight, DPNs, or circular needles–you can choose whether to knit flat or in the round)
  • Why you’ll want to: First, you can knit this adorable little hat–with cute little bear ears!–regardless of whether you prefer flat or circular knitting. Second, in addition to the preemie size, you’ll also find instructions for full-term newborns as well. You can keep this pattern on hand for all your baby-knitting needs!

Presto! Preemie Hat

  • What you’ll need to make it: Less than 92 yards worsted weight cotton blend yarn; US Size 8 DPNs or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round)
  • Why you’ll want to: I love that this delightful hat actually expands with the baby’s growth! It’s also just really fun to knit, with its alternating rounds of stockinette and reverse stockinette stitching. The name comes from the way the hat “collapses” upon itself when you try to set it upright, like a magician’s top hat, but then can expand magically when you place it on a baby’s head. Presto!

No Button Baby Booties

  • What you’ll need to make it: Small amounts of fingering weight yarn; US Size 1 or 2 needles
  • Why you’ll want to: These booties have no button or closure to fuss with; they just slip onto a tiny baby’s feet. As a bonus, you can knit it up so quickly, you may want to make a bunch!

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Snapdragon Soaker
Snapdragon Soaker
Photo: Felt Fusion

Snapdragon Soaker

  • What you’ll need to make it: 100 to 200 yards worsted weight yarn (depending on the size you want to make); US Size 7 or 8 DPNs or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round)
    Note: to knit this for a preemie, you can use a lighter-weight yarn, like DK, and drop your needle size down to 5 or 6.
  • Why you’ll want to: This pattern has so much going for it: multiple sizes (from newborn to extra large baby), a drawstring, and ribbing around both the legholes and the waistband.

Bubble Bum Baby Bloomers

  • What you’ll need to make them: 90 to 200 yards worsted or DK weight (DK might be preferable for a preemie) yarn; US Size 5 and 7 DPNs and/or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round), or size needles needed to get gauge.
  • Why you’ll want to: My favorite thing about this pattern is how easily it can be customized for its recipients’ tastes. Take a look at the Ravelry projects page to see all the fun ways folks have customized these little bloomers, including adding a “cow udder” and adding a “unicorn tail”! You can attach a skirt for a skirt-and-bloomers set, too.

Easy Stay-on Bib

  • What you’ll need to make it: 95 yards worsted weight cotton yarn; US Size 7 DPNs or circular needles, depending on how you prefer to knit in the round
  • Why you’ll want to: This is a simple little bib that slips on over baby’s head. It’s sweet, cute, and easy to knit, even if you’ve never knitted in the round before.
Girly Bib
Photo: Cheryl Fisher

Girly Bib

  • What you’ll need to make it: Less than 120 yards worsted weight cotton yarn; US Size 7 needles
  • Why you’ll want to: This adorable little bib is just a bit fancier than the preceding entry, but it’s simple and so very cute. You should be able to make at least 2 bibs from a single ball of cotton yarn.

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Knitted Baby Onesie
Knitted Baby Onesie
Photo: Brenna Kotar

Knitted Baby Onesie

  • What you’ll need to make it: 200 yards for main color, 25 yards for contrasting color, of worsted weight yarn; US Size 8 DPNs and/or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round); stitch markers; US Size F crochet hook
  • Why you’ll want to: Every infant could use a onesie, and that goes double for preemies! It’s the bread and butter of baby garments, especially useful for spring and summertime preemies.

Baby Jiffy Knit Sweater

  • What you’ll need to make it: 160 yards DK or sport weight baby yarn; US Size 4 needles; 4 stitch markers; 4 stitch holders (a spare DPN and/or scrap yarn will work in a pinch); US Size 3 DPN for I-cord tie
  • Why you’ll want to: Because they’re adorable. Because they’re perfect for preemies. And because they were designed specifically for charity knitting. Also, this pattern offers several sizes; scroll down to the bottom for the recommended yarn weights, needle sizes, and so on. That includes the preemie size!
Baby Jiffy Knit Sweater
Photo: Bruinmom99 on Ravelry

Please note: NMCRS HQ allowed Cathy to share the Baby Jiffy Knit Sweater pattern. Please respect the spirit that they have graciously given in allowing the pattern to be passed along and understand that they will retain all rights to this pattern and the copyright for it. No money whatsoever shall be made from the sale of these sweaters, nor from the pattern. Cheryl from NMCRS HQ has given permission for you to use this pattern for your charity/personal knitting needs with this disclaimer attached. You may print a copy of this pattern for your own use, but may not sell it.

Paxton Preemie and Newborn Jacket

  • What you’ll need to make it: 200 to 300 yards DK weight yarn; US Size 6 DPNs and/or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round); stitch markers; scrap yarn (to use as stitch holders)
  • Why you’ll want to: One of the trickiest types of clothing to find for preemies is a jacket. This sweet pattern fills the void nicely.

Baby Eyelet Cardi

  • What you’ll need to make it: 180 yards DK-weight yarn; US Size 6 DPNs or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round); stitch markers
  • Why you’ll want to: This is an adorable little cardigan with a V-neck and a single button. Thanks to the eyelets that can double as buttonholes, you can add more buttons if you wish.

5-Hour Baby Sweater

  • What you’ll need to make it: 180 yards DK weight yarn; US Size 5 to 8 circular needles (to hold all the stitches), size depends on your gauge; stitch markers
  • Why you’ll want to: So many reasons! First, I love that Bev Qualheim (the designer) actually marked in the pattern how long it took her to reach certain points in the pattern, thus justifying the name “5-hour sweater.”

    I also love the variations. You can choose between a tie front or a button-down front; you can also add a hood. There’s even a pattern for a matching set of booties!
5-Hour Baby Sweater
Photo: Bev Qualheim

Rejoice (“Shrug This” for Little Girls)

  • What you’ll need to make it: 110 yards DK-weight yarn (for preemie knitting); US Size 8 or 9 DPNs or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round); stitch markers
  • Why you’ll want to: With its short sleeves and the larger-than-usual needles used to knit this pattern, it’ll be off the needles in no time! You can use this lovely little shrug-styled sweater to knit for babies all the way up to 24 months.

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Sock Baby (Monkey) Snuggler

  • What you’ll need to make it: 285 yards (divided in 3 colors: 130 yards gray, 130 yards white, 25 yards red) of bulky weight yarn; US Size 9 and 10 DPNs and/or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round); stitch marker
  • Why you’ll want to: If you love the color scheme of the traditional sock monkey, you’ll adore this precious take! This adorable bunting is bound to make any baby feel warm and snuggly.
Snuggle Baby Cozy with Matching Hat
Photo: Nikki Van De Car

Baby Snuggle Wrap

  • What you’ll need to make it: 324 yards super bulky weight yarn; US Size 10.5 or 11 needles; US Size H-8 crochet hook
  • Why you’ll want to: This is an adorable little sweater/blanket/hoodie that’s wonderful for keeping tiny babies warm in cold weather.

Snuggle Baby Cozy with Matching Hat

  • What you’ll need to make it: 274 yards bulky weight yarn; US Size 10.5 24-inch circular needle; US Size 11 DPNs or circular needle (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round); stitch markers; 4 18-mm buttons; 1 20-mm buttons
  • Why you’ll want to: This is a lovely way to keep a preemie snuggly warm. It’s especially marvelous for car rides (or stroller rides, when the time comes!).

Mrs. Brak’s Drawstring Bottom Baby Kimono with Raglan Shaping

  • What you’ll need to make it: 360 yards fingering weight yarn; US Size 3 or 4 DPN or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round); stitch markers; stitch holders or scrap yarn; 30-inch narrow drawstring cord (optional); your choice of buttons and trim (optional)
  • Why you’ll want to: I wish I had found a sleep sack/nightgown like this when my children were babies! As cute as it is, it’s even more practical, with a drawstring at the bottom that you can tighten to keep baby’s legs and feet warm. And, of course, you can open the bottom back up when you need to change a diaper.

Now you’ll never have to struggle to find the perfect preemie knitting pattern!

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6 Comments

  1. Lovely 💐 Premature births are rarely planned for, so to donate to a maternity ward is a wonderful idea that will be well appreciated. And it sounds like great fun, a great way to use leftover yarn.