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Coze: Easy Knit Vest Pattern

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COZE VEST
Favourite & Queue on Ravelry

This is one of those patterns I had to write because I only have two hands, and 24 hours in a day, and I simply can’t do it all by myself. Knit all the amazing variations, I mean. That’s where you come in, dear knitter. Together, we can do this!

A Comfortable Coze

I’m terrible at coming up with names for patterns. I don’t know, maybe I have too many criteria (multiple connotations, a nice ring, appropriateness, etc.), but at any rate, I’ve been reading a lot of Georgette Heyer recently and I love the phrase “a comfortable coze”, meaning a tête-à-tête, so I finally alighted on ‘Coze’ as a name for this vest. The OED informs me that the word was probably derived from French ‘causer‘ (to chat), and cites a quotation which uses it as a verb: ‘cozing’. Just like a good book, I think of these knitting patterns as our way of having a comfortable coze, and a cosy one, at that.

The vest is amazingly simple. It’s made up of 2 garter stitch rectangles – nothing but the knit stitch, over and over. This means that even a beginner can knit it, and even a beginner could figure out how to substitute a stitch pattern for garter stitch. For example, any of the patterns from The Little eBook of Knitting Stitches would look lovely.

Instructions

If you’re sensible & orderly & don’t like ripping out knitting…

  1. Knit a gauge swatch at least 15cm2 and measure the number of rows & sts per 10cm/4in. (Perform each measurement 3 times and calculate the average).
  2. Measure the distance between your shoulders or measure the back of your favourite top.
  3. Calculate the number of sts you need to cast on to get the back of the vest the right size.
  4. Measure the height you want your vest to be and calculate the number of rows you need to work, based on your gauge.
  5. Cast on the right number of sts for the back, knit for the right number of rows.
  6. (yawn)
  7. Measure across your side and halfway across your front (around your widest part). Calculate how many sts you need to cast on to achieve this width. Cast on this many sts, and knit until your second piece is the same length as the total of the sides and top of your back piece. You’ll probably want to count rows and match them up.
  8. Cast off your second piece and sew it onto the back piece (see schematic). If you’ve knit your sections in garter st, mattress stitch from the outside along both sides, leaving a gap large enough for your arms at the top (try the vest on before you cut the excess yarn or weave in ends). Then backstitch across the top from the inside of the vest, making sure the outside looks neat.
  9. Try it on, if it looks good, weave in your ends, making sure they’re not visible when the shawl collar is folded over.
  10. C’est tout!

If you’re like me & just can’t be bothered…

  1. Guesstimate and cast on a bunch of sts and knit a few rows.
  2. Measure against the back piece of your favourite cardigan. If you haven’t guessed right, see how many sts more/less you need, rip out and start again with the right number of sts.
  3. Knit until the piece is long enough, or until you think you’ll run out of yarn if you knit any more. Don’t cast off, in case you need to adjust the size. Slide all the sts off the needle, because you need the needle to knit the next piece, and put the back gingerly to one side.
  4. The piece that makes up the front needs to be at least half the width of the back piece. You’ll want to add a bit more width, assuming you’re not 2-dimensional, and if you have boobage, you’ll probably need even more. I wouldn’t know. So cast on half the number of sts as you did for the back plus a bit more.
  5. Knit until this piece is the length of the sides and top of your back piece added together. If you have some yarn left over, you can add extra rows to each piece (remembering that for each row you add to the back, you’ll need to add 2 rows to the “front” piece).
  6. Once you’ve used up all your yarn and your vest is long enough, cast off both pieces and sew them together as described in step 8-10 above.

The specs for my vest are as follows:
The first piece is 38cm/15in wide and 34cm/13in tall.
The second piece is 25cm/10in wide and 110cm/43in long.
My gauge is 14sts x 25 rows in 10cm/4in.
I used up all of 200gr of heavy DK-weight wool (approx. 400m/437yds) with 5mm/US 8 needles.


Variations I’d love to see you make

  1. lace (all-over or just on the edge)
  2. stripes
  3. fair isle
  4. moss stitch (preferably English moss-stitch, but I’m not too picky).
  5. cabled edge
  6. long
  7. baby-sizes (how quick would this be?!)
  8. with a counterpane square for the back
  9. with the long piece picked up & knit lengthwise
  10. pockets!
  11. buttons (double-breasted?)
  12. a fringe

I do hope you’ll join me in cozing. Just ‘cos. :)

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30th October, 2012  // Layers, Tops // tags: , , , .

55 Comments

  1. Andi says:

    I love how simple yet clever your designs are! This vest is wonderful.

  2. Michaela says:

    Wonderful inspiration. Simple and clever, many thanks!

    • laylock says:

      Thank you so much, Michaela! :)

      • sandra lill says:

        i sure hope this gets to you… i have been trying for days to connect…

        i am planning to build the coze vest soon. as i was perusing the various sites i came across one that showed the finished item but also showed a miriade of photos of other completed projects with many interesting variatons. of course, in my mad pursuit i failed to bookmark the page. duh. i am so hopeful that you can steer me in the right direction to reconnect with this page. i need it SO bad!

        thanks in advance, sandra

        2

  3. Régina says:

    Great idea! Wonder how it would look with long sleeves added………..

  4. AnnP says:

    Just the kind of pattern I like; simple but intriguing and infinitely customizable. Love your ‘just can’t be bothered’ instructions.

  5. Jessica-Jean says:

    Could you please define “English Moss Stitch”?

  6. Janie Berks says:

    This is so cute! Which yarn to use from my stash is the biggest problem.

  7. [...] my Coze Vest. I don’t have any string, but I got plenty of yarn. [...]

  8. Öznur YILMAZ says:

    Çok güzel bebek yeleği yapmayı düşünüyorum. Olur değil mi?

  9. I follow your blog in Portugal, with great interest and enthusiasm. I really like your models and ideas.
    Following your model I made the coze using the pattern for the counterpane “Theresa’s Pattern” and for the border the “Florence Border” from the book “Knitting Counterpanes”, Mary Walker Phillips.
    If you want visit my blog (http://meadadobada.blogspot.pt/2013/02/laylock-coze.html), there are photographs of my/your coze.
    Thank you for generously sharing.
    Best wishes
    Bárbara

    • E says:

      I was thinking about how I might embellish a coze a little. And then I saw yours, embellished a lot! It looks beautiful. Very inspirational.

      Many thanks to Laylock and to you Bárbara

    • Shanda says:

      This variation is very fancy and lovely; just as “literary” as the other!

  10. Leila88 says:

    Hey there,

    I just wanted to thank you a lot for this pattern! I made one and it is sooo perfect! I am very small, so it is difficult to find a perfect fitting vest, so I decided to knit one. All my friends want to learn to KNIT now :)
    Your site is veeeery (!) lovely.

    Greetings from Germany,

    Leila

  11. Sandy says:

    I cant seem to get the pattern for this.

  12. tandee says:

    How do you download the pattern???? I haven’t even been able to find the directions for it.

  13. Siobhan Stout says:

    You are a genius. Thank you for great patterns and ideas!

  14. Would you please have the directions for the Coze Easy Knit Vest Pattern as I have a friend that is looking for a pattern that she can knit for her winter project.

  15. Nancy says:

    Wow, My mom taught me to knit when I was 5 and I’ve not stopped since..(62 now ..yikes) I’m just wondering why it is, that I’ve never come across a pattern that is so down right obvious…or worse, that I’ve not thought of this myself. Well I started the vest last night & just love how the plain old garter stitch radiates that rich classy appeal. I’m picking up & adding sleeves & maybe putting side seam pockets…O yes & buttons ,too. Thank you for posting this pattern! I’ll send a pic when I’m finished,
    Nancy

  16. Rachelle says:

    Good morning from a cold South Afrcan highveld winter. I have now knitted this Coze pattern in multiple sizes, from 4 year old to a size 42. It is such a wonderfully easy pattern. I dont knit in two separate pieces. I pick up stiches and knit the front as part of the back. It looks amazing. The directional change makes the pattern so interresting.

    I have also used mitred squares, a lace pattern and different thicknesses of yarn.

    This is the mist versatile, beautiful pattern. This is one for my file! Thank you so much for sharing!

  17. donna brannigan says:

    Lol this is THE best explanation of a pattern i have ever come across. Definitely going to make this. Thank you so very much. God bless you.

  18. I have tried to down load this lovely looking cozy vest. I have read you blog, hoping the pattern would be there. Please can you e-mail me the pattern, I would love to knit it for my granddaughter.

    Regards,

    Bessie Fielding

  19. Carole says:

    I would love to make this vest, but I need a real pattern:no.of stitches for size medium, no. of rows, how to put it together, etc. I cannot figure it all out myself.

  20. judy says:

    I am teaching a woman with neurological impairments to knit. We just finished a simple garter stitch dish cloth and were looking for something a bit more challenging for her next project. THIS IS IT!!!! A little more interesting and something she can wear. Thank you. You cannot imagine what this will mean to her.

  21. Lucy says:

    Amazing. I’ve been trawling the internet – ravelry, pinterest, blogs etc and books for ages looking for a perfect, simple, garter stitch vest pattern, and none of them are quite right, all too fussy. Then I just entered ‘really simple garter stitch vest knitting pattern’ into google and this was the first thing that came up! And it’s perfect! Thanks, can’t wait to get started…

  22. Deborah says:

    I see people are requesting a pattern.
    Is there one? I too would like it.

    Thank you,
    Deb

  23. Mary says:

    I have been searching and searching for a vest pattern that would be easy enough to use for a “patchwork Vest” to use up some scraps. This is PERFECT! Thank you so much!! :)

  24. sandy schairer says:

    Can you send specifications for adding sleeves to this vest? It looks good as it is, but I would like the extra warmth. Thanks

  25. Lynn says:

    I am definitely going to try this but a longer version. It is just perfect for slipping on in these cold days. As a diehard Georgette Heyer fan, I also enjoy a comfortable coze!

  26. Leslie says:

    Someone found some handspun BFL in the “pass it on” shed at the local transfer station (dump) and gave it to me. It’s labeled BFL, is dark brown and one skein was plied with a strand of hot pink silk. I’ve sat with it wondering that to make.

    Then I saw this pattern – ideal! The one skein plied with silk will be used for the portion near my face and the front and the remainder will be the vest. If I don’t have enough (and probably won’t) I can combine it with some dark red woolen worsted (mitered square either stripes or as much brown as I have then red). Thanks for such a wonderful idea!

    I’ve used your shawl worksheet to great success – don’t know how I missed this.

  27. Anne says:

    I am trying to be a kamikaze knitter who dives in fearlessly, but I am not quite there yet. I am trying to teach a couple of young kids to knit, & this pattern seems perfect for them, but I have a couple of problems…
    1. I figured out that when you said to check the “back measurement” of an existing garment, you really meant between the sleeve seams (I think.) But I got all hung up on it being a “shoulder” measurement, because the only shoulder measurement I know is from the points of the shoulders, which are farther apart then the measurement between the sleeve seams…
    2. Because the front piece is also part of the back, & pushes the back piece down a bit from the normal shoulder seam line, if you try to measure the length of the vest from the length of the back piece, it is going to be a bit longer than you intended once it oozes down… (Isn’t it?)
    3. I was thinking of doing it, as you suggest, by picking up stitches & knitting the front right onto the back, so as to avoid sewing. But to do that, you have to figure out just how much ease to leave for the arm-holes — & since the “front” part pushes the back part down in back… I was playing with a measuring tape to make a sample up, so I could find any possible pitfalls… Since the A & C measurements are the same on both pieces, half the arm-hole is theoretically in front, & half in back. But the back piece is below the normal shoulder seam line.
    You really want a first garment to be successful, so I am trying to figure out how to measure on these kids so they get exactly what they want. I am terrible at visualizing, so I have started knitting. (I feel remarkably stupid asking for clarification, when this is obviously so simple. And yet…)

  28. Kathy Rester says:

    Love your site & patterns!

  29. Pat Ellsworth says:

    I too, am a beginner. I was wondering how many stitches to cast on for each piece. I am not sure about the pattern. Is there a way to actually have one???

    Thank you, it looks lovely and I would like to try making it.

    Pat Ellsworth

    • gayle says:

      the picture you have showing of the cozy vest,
      please let me know how many you cast on for the
      front piece and the back piece.this looks good
      for my size. I would make it longer though,
      it makes you look skinnier.

      gayle

  30. I made a mini version for Barbie! What a nice easy pattern idea to follow! I did copy your schematic with full credit and links to this site for my post, if that’s an issue kindly let me know and I’ll delete it. Thanks for a fun idea:@)

  31. Nelle says:

    hi I have been looking for a vest like this for some time, would love this pattern but need the number of inches, plus needles sizes,instead of metric, I am 5′ 2″, hoping you can help me, appreciate your work:)

  32. Nelle says:

    …Hi again, well this time I put my glasses on & saw the inches & the needle size, so will try this one out, thanks:):)

  33. Dru says:

    Love the look of your shawl patterns!! I must admit that I don’t have the patience to knit with tiny needles (plus,arthritis makes using small needles a rather painful experience) but some of yours appear to be on larger ones. My son is getting married next year and I want to knit a ‘simply stunning – but stunningly simple’ shawl/wrap for my lovely, future daughter-in-law to wear on the day. (It’s a beach wedding in NZ at the end of March (autumn southern hemisphere). If you have any suggestions for a suitable pattern, I’d be most grateful. My skill level is intermediate. Thanks and blessings, Dru

  34. Maureen says:

    I founf this pattern and have started knitting it. I have a knitting blog and I blogged about finding this pattern and put a link to it on your site in my post. Hope you don’t mind. If you do please let me know and I will remove it.

    Thanks for sharing the pattern.

  35. Louise says:

    need a pattern for this vest is that possible
    new at knitting but size and a pattern of stitches

  36. Sheila says:

    I am a beginner at knitting and wonder if I could substitute the DK yarn for Chunky with needles 5.5mm?

  37. marianne says:

    This is BRILLIANT! I can’t wait to make it, and pretty much guarantee it will be made with BIG NEEDLES. I’m so impatient. That being said, it will probably take just a couple of hours at most. A Dream Pattern.

    Have you seen the “World’s Easiest Sweater” pattern? Like this, it can be done in either crochet or knit, any stitch, any yarn, any size instrument! Only problem with that sweater is that the sleeves, being rectangles, are kind of huge at the wrist! I like to end them at about 3/4 length, then do a perpendicular cuff.

    Thanks so much for this incredible vest! I love vests because they cover baby fat [rolls]! 8-)

  38. marianne says:

    I’m thinking a granny square for the back, and then three of them for the long piece might be interesting. There are also granny rectangles that would work for the long piece… I’ll send a picture! Planning to use cream color cotton yarn. Very practical here in Arizona, where we rarely need sweaters or vests! Thanks again for the pattern. 8-)

    • Rachelle says:

      Morning,

      I have made 5 of these in different sizes – one in mitred squares. The back in squares, then pick up the stitches round the sides as per the instructions, knit 20 rows. Cast of and then pick up stitches and knit rows of mitred squares untill the front is big enough. It is exquisite!

      Rachelle

      • Nelle says:

        hi would love to see your finished vest, sounds
        lovely, haven’t tried the pattern yet but hope to this fall, thank you in advance

        • Rachelle says:

          I must look for the pics or ask my sister to send ma some. It came out beautifully! She was ecstatic about her gift!

  39. Arlene says:

    omg…a woman after my own heart….this will be a piece of cake for xmas this year….I used to knit cable outfits when my kids were little, socks, scarfs, hats….was running out of ideas.

    Thank you sooooo much for sharing…can’t wait to get the yarn and start.

    Have a great summer!!


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