Sweater Vest for Cats: The Dragon Vest Tutorial

Every since I was a kid I loved working with my hands. At age 6 I taught myself how to knit looking at diagrams from a knitting book my aunt gave me. At the time I didn’t understand all the terminology and shorthand but pictures were easily understood. 

I remember my friends wouldn’t believe me when I said I made it. For some reason now knitting and crocheting is “in style” and it seems less surprisingly that in my 30’s I know how to knit.

Well I’m here to show you (meaning anyone) that you don’t have to have a tonne of experience, maybe not even any, to be able to make a simple cat vest!

I believe that anyone is capable of anything if they have the willingness to learn.

Many of you have probably seen Dragon sporting some nifty knits, but today I’m going to show you the Basic Dragon Vest to get you started.

What You Will Need

1. Measuring tape.

2. 1-2 Balls of yarn. (Dragon weighs about  3 lbs and it takes less than half of a small ball of yarn to make him a sweater.)

3. Crochet hook sizes 4-6mm


5. A Cat.

Step 1 : Measure the Cat.

It only takes 3 measurements to make a cool sweater for your cat. Normally I guess and just measure him as I go, but for those that like exact references this is what you need.

1. Around the belly at the widest part. (Dragon is approx 10″).

2. Measure from his arm pit to in front of his hind leg. This can be customized to however long you want the sweater to be. (Dragon is about 4″.)

3. Measure the width of his bicep. This is for the armhole.  (Dragon is about 2″).

Always over estimate and round up. It’s better that the sweater fits a little bigger than too tight.

Step 2. Time to learn the basics of crocheting. (Youtubing videos after reading my instructions will help.)

1. Start the chain by making a slip knot. This is done by making a loop and pulling a loop through. See below.

This is the first chain. (Ch.)

2. Now continue to pull loops through the previous loop to form a “chain” of loops. Yes chain can be referred to singular as well as the entire thing. Or sometimes they’re called stitches. (Sts)  It’s confusing I know.

Ideally it should look like an even braid. **Keep the loops relatively loose. (This means maintainin a consistent “tension“.) It will be easier to work with. Beginners tend to pull everthing tight and it gets really difficult later.

3. Continue your chain until it’s as long as the Belly Measurement. (Dragon was 10″.)

Checkpoint** before we continue let’s make sure you haven’t done this very common mistake.

What causes this twist in your chain, is when you pulled through your loop you twisted the loop on the hook before you pulled through. See below.

When it should look like this. See below.

So when pulling through just make sure the loop on the hook has no twist in it before pulling the yarn through. (See above for a good clean pull through.)

4. Now connect the chain to the beginning to form a circle. You will use a slip stitch (SS) to do this.

At the base of each Ch.  you should see two parallel lines that taper to a “V”. (See above, the needles are just there to help you see the “V’s”)

Insert the hook underneath the first “V” , and pull the yarn through the “V” and the loop on your hook.

Pull the yarn through the loop again to finish the stitch. Congratulations you’ve completed the Slip Stitch! (SS) This is a good time to count how many chains you have.

5. Now to begin the single crochet stitch. (SC) . We will now be working in the round (in a circle) for the body section.

* you should always begin with a single loop on the hook and finish with a single loop when doing any stitch.

To do the SC, in the next chain find that “V” again and insert the hook and pull the yarn through.

You should now have Two loops on the hook. Now pull the yarn through both loops. You should now have one loop on the hook. Congratulations you learned how to Single Crochet!

6. Now repeat that all the way around and do a slip stitch each time you’ve finished the round. ( This just keeps everthing even but honestly if that’s too confusing just keep going in circles. ) Remember when I told you to keep track of how many chains you had ? Since you’re essentially just making a cyclinder that number shouldn’t change as you go around each time. (Often times people end up with more or less because they miss one or somehow add one. If you keep track every round then you won’t have that problem.)

7. Keep working until the piece becomes as long the the second measurement. ( From armpit to in front of hind paw. Dragon’s was 4″.)

8. Now we’re going to Decrease. This means reduce the number of stitches in your round. This tapers the sweater because if you look at your kitty their upper body is probably smaller than their belly… Probably.

How to decrease.

Pull a loop in the next chain like you normally would when doing a SC. Now instead of pulling through both loops to complete the stitch you’re going to move to the next chain and pull another loop. You should have three loops on your hook now.

Now pull through the three loops and finishing with one loop on the hook. Congratulations you just decreased! You’ve made two (Ch. ) reduce to one!

Now continue SC until you’re around 1/3 of the round and decrease again. Repeat until you’ve decreased 3 times evenly around the round. ( This can be customized as you like, sometimes I’ll decrease 4 times within the round of the sweater seems big. If you have a big chested kitty maybe you won’t decrease at all. )

9. Armhole part 1: the back piece.  Now we’re going to make the arm holes.

SC around until you’re about two Ch. past the halfway point when you fold the cyclinder in half. (See above)

Now we’re going to work back and forth instead of in the round. To do that Ch. 1 (this is what you do when you “turn”/flip  the piece) and then start working your SC in the second Ch. and go all the way across. Keep turning/flipping the piece as you go back and forth to like a typewriter until it reaches the length of the third measurement . (Biceps measurement, Dragon’s was 2”).

Now take your hook out and just forget about this section for now.

10. Armhole part 2: chest piece. I used a different colour in hopes of making it easier to see.

Count 2 Ch. from the base of your back piece and SS into the next Ch.

Work SC all the way across until you’re two Ch. from the base of the other side of the back piece. Count your stitches.

I have 5 so I’m going to work my way back and forth again until the length matches the back piece length. 2″.

* remember to add a Ch. when turning. (In my case each row should have 6 sts. )

11. Now choose to either continue from the chest piece or from the back piece. Whichever one you decide, cut the yarn from the other loop and pull through to tie it off.

12. Using the other loops continue SC around and when you reach the armholes Ch. 2 to allow for a space.

13. Continue SC around for two complete rounds and tie off.

Congratulations you made a Basic Dragon Vest ! Please share your photos and comment.

For up to date photos on Dragons adventures find him on Instagram @HowToTrainMyDragon .

4 thoughts on “Sweater Vest for Cats: The Dragon Vest Tutorial

  1. I found your blog when I was looking for a sweater pattern for our new Siamese kitten, Gideon. I wanted to ask you if you left a hole in the sweater to hook up to his harness? Or did you attach the carabiner directly to the sweater? Thanks!

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