Rectangle Cardigan – Free Beginner Crochet Sweater Pattern

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No one will guess you created this figure-flattering cardigan from a simple rectangle. Made with extremely soft yarn for a cozy-but-not-too-bulky look, you’ll find yourself reaching for this beginner crochet sweater over and over again. Get the free pattern below or purchase the complete ad-free, printable PDF with Parts 1 & 2 here.

This free beginner crochet sweater pattern is part of a collaboration with Lion Brand Yarns. This post contains affiliate links.

If you’ve never made a crochet garment before, that’s going to change right here. And if you’re already the Michael Phelps of crochet sweaters, this might just be the sweater that you judge all sweaters against from here on out. It’s just that cozy. easy. comfy. effortless. 

Read on for all the yarn details and super easy construction or scroll down for Part 1 of this free beginner crochet sweater pattern! (Part 2 can be found here.)

Video! Follow a full step-by-step tutorial for the Habitat Cardigan here ⇨

A Sweater Crocheted From a Rectangle

Despite the sophisticated-looking stitch texture, dolman sleeves and ribbed collar, this beginner crochet sweater is based entirely on a crochet rectangle. Yup, just like that simple scarf you probably made when you learned how to crochet. If you can crochet a washcloth, you can make this easy crochet cardigan.

Quick Video Overview of The Pattern

Wanna see exactly how a rectangle turns into a drapey, flowy cocoon of softness? I put together a quick one minute pattern overview that you’ll show you start-to-finish how simple this cardigan is to bring to life. Hit play below and I’ll walk you through it!

(If you have an ad-blocker running, you’ll need to disable it in order to view the video.)

Since I’ve seen how many of you have successfully whipped up chunkier crochet cardigans using the free Dwell Sweater pattern and video tutorial, I knew that a lighter weight, flowy and slightly longer cardigan pattern wouldn’t be far behind. (I mean, I had to jump on the opportunity to design a beginner crochet sweater pattern with a section “tush extension.” Obviously.)

Whether you pair it with jeans or leggings, this easy crochet project will be a wearable blanket of softness and warmth–like a hug you made yourself!

Easy Construction, Simple Stitches

While the weave of the Dwell Sweater includes some chain spaces, in this Habitat Cardigan I intentionally used a very simple stitch pattern that won’t let much breeze in while you wear it. In fact, I’ve already got a video tutorial for the Suzette stitch (aka Grit Stitch) used in the main rectangle of this sweater and a bag pattern that uses it too.

And if you’re a dedicated video-tutorial-crocheter, you can order your Lion Brand Heartland yarn now and then start watching the full Habitat Cardigan video tutorial to get acquainted with the pattern. Lion Brand has also put together a handy kit that includes all the yarn you’ll need, plus a digital PDF of the pattern that you can grab right here!

Heartland yarn is soft, machine washable and so drapey. Watch the pattern preview video above to see how beautifully the Habitat Cardi flows thanks to this relaxed yarn.

Deliver it! Click to purchase a kit with all the yarn you’ll need

Print + Crochet in Comfort

I know many of us like to crochet from the comfort of our couches so I always offer a low-cost, printable PDF version of my free patterns. If you’d prefer to work from a nicely-formatted printout instead of a laptop, tablet or phone, I think you’ll find this PDF a really valuable upgrade.

Because the Habitat Cardigan pattern has a few distinct steps and a lot of photo tutorials, I divided the free pattern into two parts. (This is Part 1. Find Part 2 here.) The large-type PDF contains the complete pattern, all the photo tutorials and links to the video tutorials. You can purchase the ad-free, printable PDF of the complete pattern on LoveCrafts here or on Etsy here.

Pin it! Click to pin this pattern for later

More Beginner Free Crochet Sweater Patterns

If you loved how simply this crochet cardigan came together, don’t miss these other free crochet sweater patterns. They are all made from simple shapes and have very easy construction.

1. Dwell Sweater // 2. Campfire Cardigan // 3. Day Date Cardigan // 4. Haven Bobble Cardigan

The Habitat Cardigan – Part 1
Free Beginner Crochet Sweater Pattern + Tutorial

Purchase the ad-free, printable PDF of the complete pattern on LoveCrafts here or on Etsy here.

Add this pattern to your Ravelry favorites here.

Pin it for later here.

Welcome to the world of beautiful, drapey fabric and tush-covering cardigans—made by YOU! No one will guess that this figure-flattering cardigan was made from a simple rectangle. The basic stitch pattern and very easy construction of this sweater make it perfect for beginners who want to make their first wearable garment. Made with extremely soft yarn for a cozy-but-not-too-bulky look, you’ll find yourself reaching for the Habitat Cardigan over and over again.

Purchase a kit with all the yarn you’ll need, plus a digital copy of the pattern here.
Lion Brand Heartland (Weight: 4/medium –  251 yds, 5 oz)
Grand Canyon (#136-122) – 6 (6, 7, 7, 8) skeins
• Tapestry needle
• Size K (6.6 mm) crochet hook
Size J (6.0 mm) crochet hook
• Stitch markers or safety pins

The oversized nature of this sweater will accommodate many body types. The sample pictured is a M/L on a 5’9” model with a 37” bust.

Bust Size*:
S/M: 33-36”
M/L: 36-40.5”
L/XL: 40.5”-44.5”
XL/2XL: 44.5”-48.5”
2XL/3XL: 48.5”-51”
* See additional details in Overall Pattern Notes to determine sizing.

10 sts x 10 rows = 4” as worked in main rectangle stitch pattern using larger hook

13 sts x 9 rows = 4” as worked in sleeve pattern using smaller hook

Abbreviations and Glossary (US Terms):
ch – chain
sc – single crochet
dc – double crochet
tch – turning chain
st – stitch
sp – space
sk – skip
RS – right side
WS – wrong side
rep – repeat

Overall Pattern + Sizing Notes:
• Get Part 2 of the free Habitat Crochet Cardigan pattern here.

• A complete video tutorial for this pattern is available here.

• Pattern is written in size S/M with M/L, L/XL, XL/2XL and 2XL/3XL following in parenthesis. S/M (M/L, L/XL, XL/2XL, 2XL/3XL)

Because of the oversized style of the sweater, choosing a size is less about exact chest size and more about how loose you want your sweater to fit.

Sweater can be easily modified to accommodate body type by adjusting measurements of the main rectangle. For example, if you’re tall and narrow, you may choose to follow the S/M rectangle width instructions and the M/L rectangle height instructions. If you’re shorter and curvier, you may choose to follow the L/XL rectangle width instructions and the S/M rectangle height instructions.

In order to make pattern modification straightforward, in the ad-free, printable PDF I’ve created a chart with pattern sizing details clearly laid out in a handy little chart. (This is the same info included in this free written pattern, just visualized in a simple chart format in the PDF.) You can purchase the ad-free, printable PDF of the complete pattern on LoveCrafts here or on Etsy here.


• To adjust the width of the sweater, chain a multiple of 2 + 1, plus 2 for the foundation chain (i.e. any odd number)

• A video tutorial for the Suzette Stitch (aka the Grit Stitch) used in this rectangle can be found here.

Use larger hook.

Foundation Row: Ch 99 (105,109, 113, 117).

Row 1: Sk first 2 ch (counts as 1 sc), dc in next ch, *sk next ch, sc and dc in next ch; rep from * until 2 ch remain, sk next ch, sc in last ch; turn. (97, 103, 107, 111, 115)

Row 2: Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), dc in first st, *sk next dc, sc and dc in next sc; rep from * until 2 sts remain, sk next dc, sc in tch; turn.

Repeat Row 2  56 (62, 64, 64, 64) times. This should end with a WS row.

Rectangle should measure approximately:
S/M: 38.5 x 22”
M/L: 41 x 25”
L/XL: 43 x 26”
XL/2XL: 44.5 x 26”
2XL/3XL: 46 x 26”
*Note that these measurements will vary a bit because the stitch is quite stretchy and it’s hard to lay the rectangle out to measure without stretching it a bit in one direction or the other. A small variation in measurement (1-2”) shouldn’t compromise the fit of your sweater.


If you like to learn visually, the Habitat Cardigan video tutorial will walk you through each step of this section.

Lay rectangle flat so that WS is facing up. (Tail from foundation chain should be in bottom corner on same side as your dominant hand.) Fold rectangle in half so that foundation row and final row of the rectangle are touching. RS should now be facing out and the stripes of the rows of crocheting should be running horizontally as in the photo below. Pin in place along side seams using stitch markers or safety pins.

Place a stitch marker 4.75 (5.5, 5.5, 6.25, 6.25)” in from the folded crease on each side. This distance will remain unsewn and form the armhole opening.

Using a tapestry needle and a single strand of MC yarn, begin seaming the rectangle, working from the corners to the folded crease. Take care to keep rows of crocheting lined up on either side of seam. Stop at the stitch marker. Repeat for second seam. See photos below.

Lay your new shrug-lette flat as pictured in blog post above. The last row of the rectangle should be at the bottom and the foundation chain at the top.

Place a stitch marker in the single crochet stitch that falls at the intersection of the bottom of the shrug and the perpendicular collar edge. Repeat on second side.


• This section begins by working into the bottom of the sweater between the stitch markers, which is the last row of the rectangle you worked before seaming. See photo below.

• The tush extension is worked the same for all sizes, but if you’d prefer an extra long cardigan, you may work additional rows. End with a RS row.

Use larger hook. With RS of fabric facing you, attach yarn into the sc marked stitch on same side of the rectangle as your dominant hand (right maker for right-handed crocheters, left marker for left-handed crocheters).

Row 1: Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), dc in same sc yarn attached in, *sk next dc, sc and dc in next sc; rep from * until 2 sts remain until marker, sk next dc, sc in marked sc; turn.

Row 2: Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), dc in first st, *sk next dc, sc and dc in next sc; rep from * until 2 sts remain, sk next dc, sc in tch; turn.

Repeat Row 2 11 more times to create a total of 13 rows of the extension. This should end with a RS row. Do not fasten off.

Woohoo! You’re well on your way to your own Habitat Cardigan. Head over to Part 2 of the free Habitat Cardigan pattern to learn how to finish up your sweater–or if you’re more of an on-the-go crocheter, purchase the entire pattern PDF on LoveCrafts here or on Etsy here.

More Beginner-Friendly Free Crochet Patterns

Looking for more easy and free crochet patterns? Here are some of the most loved beginner-friendly crochet patterns at M&DC.

1. Alpine Crochet Poncho – This stylish crochet poncho with sleeves is very easy because it’s made from five simple rectangles. Step-by-step video tutorial included.

2. Alfresco Crochet Top – If you can crochet a rectangle, you can make this easy crochet top pattern! With very simple stitches and minimal counting, this lightweight top is a perfect mindless make to work on poolside.

3. Solstice Long Crochet Cardigan – Minimal counting and two short seams come together in an easy, crochet long cardigan that’s perfect for layering.

4. Up North Crochet Cardigan – This easy, cotton crochet cardigan pattern for beginners uses a very simple construction to create a show-stopping look with entry level skills. Detailed video tutorial included.

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