Top down knitting (also known as upside down knitting because your garment grows upside down from your needles) is growing in popularity. Not surprising given how many knitters hate seaming.
Patterns that are knitted from the top down have the advantage that you can try them on as you go and adjust for a perfect fit.
Most knitters start with top down raglans and then get bitten by the top down bug!
Once you understand the principles of Top Down Knitting you can start to design your own garments. Top Down knitting allows you to adjust the design as you knit. The pattern can evolve as you knit because you can try it on to see if the design is working. Standard knitwear design leaves you waiting until all the pieces have been seamed together before you know if you have made a miscalculation.
Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard
Stylish patterns knit from the top down include raglans, set in sleeves, a skirt and even a saddle shoulder design. There is also a yoke sweater and a strappy top knit from the bottom up plus 2 wraps and a hat.
The designs are aimed at fashionable knitters and has very stylish photography.
All of the 25 patterns have suggestions for variations or ways you can adapt the pattern. I've already made a variation of the 'Skinny Empire' top.
There is a very helpful section at the back that talks you through designing your own top down garments. This book can take you on the journey from your first seamless knit through to designing your own knitting patterns
Fitted Knits by Stefanie Japel
This book is a good introduction to top down knitting. All of the patterns are top down raglans.
Of the 25 patterns in this book there are 10 that I plan to make! I've already made the shrug, a short sleeved cardigan and the cover sweater. The patterns are stylish and modern but aren't too fussy.
The introduction shows how to adjust the patterns to fit you perfectly.
The patterns are all knit from the top down, so you can try them on as you go. If you've never tried top down knitting then these patterns are sure to tempt you.
The patterns range in difficulty from 'Supereasy' and 'Medium' to 'Challenge'. Errata for this book.
Classic Books on Top Down & One Piece Knitting
Knitting from the Top by Barbara G. Walker
This is the book that started it all. This is the Bible of Top Down knitting.
This is a how to design your own knitwear book. There are no patterns for you to blindly follow. Barbara's aim was to free knitters from being sheep that blindly follow knitting patterns.
In this book Barbara Walker explains top down knitting without any complicated mathematics. She covers top down raglans, round yokes, seamless capes and skirts, trousers, sleeveless sweaters, seamless set in sleeves, seamless saddle shoulder, kimono sleeve, square set sleeves and drop shoulder designs!
If you have a knitting design in your mind then this comprehensive guide to top down knitting will help you make it a reality.
Don't be put off by the old fashioned cover photo, this book is a must have.
Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Elizabeth Zimmermann is a knitting legend. If you want to start designing your own knitwear or just adapt designs to suit you then this is a must for your library.
This classic knitting book has no colour photos, but the quality of the information means that the book continues to sell some 40 years after it was first published! Last time I looked it was still in Amazon's top 30 selling knitting books.
The book will teach you how to knit various styles in one piece from the bottom up. Styles covered include seamless yoke sweaters, raglan sweaters and saddle shouldered sweaters.
You will find Elizabeth Zimmermann's work referred to time and again in other knitting books. Elizabeth's patterns are written in a conversational style so you learn to understand the construction and make it your own.