Best Toddler Sweater Length? Read These Few Tips

toddler sweater measurements
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The Best Toddler Sweater Length may not exist!  Today we answer another in our series of frequently asked questions by visitors to our website.

The  question: What is the best toddler sweater length?

Our Answer: First let’s determine where and how the Toddler sizes section appears on the standard garment industry sizing toddler sweater length 4T

Seems like the first sizing category is reserved for infants from newborn to 18 months old.

The sizes increase in 3 month increments (0-3, 3-6, 6-9, and 9-12) but then it jumps a whole 6 months for the 12 to 18 month old size range.

It is just my take on it but I find it hard to believe that an 18 month old would still be considered an infant.

In my mind, “infants” do not walk. However, by age 12 to 18 months, we assume the child is walking. Mine walked at 9 months! Technically, she toddled but now we are getting into semantics.

In a hurry to knit the cutest toddler sweater?

==> Here is a collection of classic toddler sweater knitting patterns!

The toddler stage, in our opinion, is more appropriately placed between 12 months to 24 months. Yet, the garment industry takes the Toddler stage all the way to age 4.

Then to make things even more confusing, the garment industry adjusts the height and weight of several infant “sizes”.

They become individual sizes such as the 9 months, 12 months, 19 months and 24 month old size.

Why should there be 2 different sets of measurements for the same age group? They were 9 months old as infants and now, somehow, these same babies should fit into a different type of 9 month old size garment? Confusing.

In my opinion, clothing size tags mean little. Apparel labeling is required by law but only when it comes to care and fiber content. By the way, you can skip the “newborn” size altogether. There are some really cute outfits but they rarely ever fit.

Should you buy the size 6-9, 9-12 or the 9 months size?  Our children’s sweaters are knit in garment industry standard size ranges. We always affix the individual size tag along with the required fiber content and care tags. See all clothing size tags

What size do you buy if your baby was a whopping 12 pounds or more at birth and now, at 9 months, is closer to 20 pounds? You jump into the Toddler sizes!

best toddler sweater length 4T


Best Toddler Sweater Length For Sizes 2, 3 and 4T

We’ve included the diagrams for the “Mini-Me” sweater pictured above in the Child’s Size 4 crew neck sweater pattern post.

More overlapping of age groups and sizes but as a rule, toddlers are now seriously toddling.

Size 2T assumes the child is slightly heavier and taller than the 24 month old.

However, the Toddler 3 and 4 sizes are smaller than their corresponding “regular” size 3 and 4.

Easiest way to find out what size to buy or make? Take out a measuring tape, pad and pencil.

For the ideal sweater length, measure from the shoulder line at the base of the neck, over the tummy down to where you would like the sweater to end.

Give the sweater at least 3 to 4 inches of wearing ease above the child’s actual chest measurement.

You want to give them plenty of room to move and to grow so they can wear it for the entire winter season.  Our standard sizes measure out this way:

  •  2T sweater (actual 21 inch chest) would be a finished 13.5 inches long with a sleeve length of 12.5 inches.
  •  3T sweater (actual 22 inch chest) would be a finished 14.25 inches long with a sleeve length of 13 inches.
  •  4T sweater (actual 23 inch chest) would be a finished 15 inches long with a sleeve length of 13.75 inches.

If your toddler is tall for their age…add an inch or two to the length of the sweater and probably the sleeves too.   Add the extra length before the armhole decreases.  You can also knit the cuff twice as long (say 4 inches) and fold it over.  For a short while.

Let’s take a look at the Carter’s sizing chart.  As moms, we’ve all purchased at least one piece of Carter’s clothing.  I know I did and on a side note, I recall the wonderful selection of clothes for toddler girls compared to the selection for toddler boys.  Granted, it was a long time ago but even then I found that their sizing chart did not accurately reflect the size of my children.

I would pick up a shirt for example and instantly know that while the age group was close, the garment was not going to fit.  They built the measurement chart around a toddler’s weight and height.  But…in my mind, how can a child be considered a baby at 24 months and a toddler at 2 years of age?  The last time I checked, 24 months equals 2 years.

 Carter’s Little Girl’s Knit Cardigan Sweater (Toddler/Kid) – Carter’s Little Girl’s Knit Pullover Sweater (Toddler/Kid) – Little Girls’ Buttons Round Collar Cardigan Cashmere Sweater The Children’s Place Toddler Boys Bold Stripe Sweater,Tree,2T eTree Baby Boys’ Girls’ Lapel Button Cashmere Cardigan Nautica Baby Boys’ Zip Neck Sweater with Tipping,


What Can You Do About Best Toddler Sweater Length When Knitting A Sweater?

I gave the sweaters displayed above a quick look – without checking any measurements for each manufacturer.

  • The Carter’s cardigan is designed to be waist length; the sleeves appear to be of “wrist-bone” length.
  • Carter’s pink heart intarsia pullover is oversized and longer than average; the sleeves seem a little too short.
  • The cashmere sweater features beautiful surface patterning but the shoulder width is too narrow.  The sleeves will pull up.
  • The Boy’s bold stripe sweater –  the sleeves are visibly too short for a sweater that does not qualify as “drop-shouldered”
  • The shawl-collared cabled cardi is not only going to be expensive but the sleeves look just a little short.
  • The Nautica zippered sweater is the most accurately proportioned across all measurements from the shoulder width, sleeve length and the slightly longer body.

My recommendation is to corral the little person, make sure they are totally preoccupied and measure away.

How far down do you want the sweater to come?  I always knit mine to come down to the hip or at least to the widest part of their little derrière.  I do not make the ribbing so tight that it automatically rides up to the narrowest part of their body.  You also do not want the sweater to expose the tummy if they raise their arms.

Do not hold the measuring tape tightly.  Measure from the shoulder line at the base of the neck down to where you would like to sweater to end.

For the front, measure from the shoulder line at the base of the neck over the fullest part of their tummy.  The front is always going to be slightly longer than the back.

If you want the sweater to hang perfectly straight across the bottom edge, you may need to knit a few “short” rows at the bottom of the sweater front to compensate for the difference in length.  Those extra rows can easily be camouflaged when knit directly after the ribbing.

To discuss more about the Best Toddler Sweater Length and detailed measurement information, please contact us.

 What to Knit the Toddler Years: 30 Gorgeous Vogue® Knitting on the Go! Toddler Knits Debbie Bliss Baby and Toddler Knits: 20 Gorgeous


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