A collage of pictures of women wearing sweaters.

22 Dark Academia Knitwear Patterns for Those Who Understand


Candles are lit, the wind blows through the old library, and the yellow pages of an old tome take you back in time. You don’t shiver. You’re safe in your pure wool sweater. Knitwear is an essential part of the dark academy. Sweaters, vests, and cardigans are the basics you need for this aesthetic. However, Dark Academia calls for proper clothing made of high-quality materials, and the best way to get it is to make it yourself. These Dark Academia knitwear patterns will help you.

What is the Dark Academia Trend

The captivating world of Dark Academia is a trend that celebrates classical literature, traditional aesthetics, and a thirst for knowledge. It’s a cultural and aesthetic trend that glorifies academic pursuits, gothic elements, and a yearning for ancient knowledge. Dark Academia has become a fascinating subculture among millennials and Gen Z.

Key Elements of Dark Academia Fashion

The Dark Academia outfits include vintage-looking and classic knitwear, such as knitted sweaters, cardigans, vests, or blouses, paired with wool trousers, plaid skirts, blazers, and knitted leg warmers. Choose the muted color palette of brown, black, grey, and dark green for your Dark Academia clothes.

Dive into its mysterious charm and learn how to create a Dark Academia outfit with free patterns for knitwear below.

Check out our free patterns and follow us on our Facebook Fanpage and Pinterest for more creative ideas!

Dark Academia Knitwear Free Patterns

1. Gärdesgård – Cardigan

  • Designed by Stine HoelgaardJohansen

Feminine knit cardigan for elegant outfits. Looks great with shirts and ties, as well as darker turtlenecks. The dropped shoulders and cable sleeves make the piece look classic and classy. This cardigan is a great basic for the dark academia wardrobe: the simple yet eternal design gives you a comfortable but still academic look. The knitted cardigan free pattern is detailed and easy to follow.

A woman is leaning against a fence wearing a sweater.

PHOTOS by Stine HoelgaardJohansen / Ravelry.com

Find the original free pattern on jarbo.se, or read more about it on Ravelry.

Check out for more ideas in the 42 Feminine Knitted Cardigans For All Seasons post.

2. V Neck Sweater With Astrakan Yoke

  • Designed by  Bergère de France

The V-neck combined with the cropped design makes this sweater look great with classic shirts and skirts. This type of dark academia knitwear is suitable for those who prefer tailored outfits that follow the shape of the body. The neutral color of the sweater makes it a good base, while the design will make you look like a French university art student. Get the v-neck sweater knitting pattern for free.

Two pictures of a woman wearing a black sweater.

PHOTOS by  Bergère de France / bergeredefrance.com

Find the original free pattern on bergeredefrance.com.

3. Twisted Argyle Vest

  • Designed by Hattie Townsend

Two-tone knit vest for comfortable outfits. Vests soften your look while allowing you to stay academic. The cables are one of the most classic designs, so you need to have at least one in your wardrobe. The design of this vest will also suit those who opt for a tailored look. At the same time, you are free to choose the color palette that suits you best. Check out this printer-friendly free knitted vest pattern.

A woman is sitting at a table wearing an orange vest.

PHOTOS by Hattie Townsend / Ravelry.com

Find the original free pattern on premieryarns.com, or read more about it on Ravelry.

You may also like to scroll through modern Knitted Vests Patterns.

4. Bouclé Jumper

  • Designed by Gerda Wolf

A comfortable basic knit sweater. Its slightly oversized look makes it good for less strict dark academia outfits. It looks best with classic trousers, velvet pants and long skirts. It also works well with a French tuck. The special yarn adds texture to your look, and the design feels like a museum date. Fits both men and women. This sweater knitting pattern is free.

A woman wearing a black sweater and black pants.

PHOTOS by Gerda Wolf / Ravelry.com

Find the original free pattern on Ravelry.

5. Lunch Date Cardigan #1151

  • Designed by The Spool Cotton Company

This vintage knit cardigan is a great piece to have either way, but it’s especially silly for dark academic outfits. The design is great for feminine academic looks and goes great with skirts and shoes. The pattern is pretty easy to work with. Plus, it’s timeless and will still look hot in ten years. Save the pattern if you like vintage outfits.

A black and white photo of a woman wearing a dark academia knitwear sweater.

PHOTOS by The Spool Cotton Company / Ravelry.com

Find the original free pattern on freevintagecrochet.com, or read more about it on Ravelry.

6. Gansey Sweater

  • Designed by Natasha Robarge

A unisex cable sweater for layering. Basic sweaters are good for everything, and this one will be just as versatile. Wear it with classic pants and tuck it in, or wear it with a skirt – either way, it will look great. Plus, it’s a great way to make really interesting cables and improve your knitting skills.

Two pictures of a woman wearing dark academia knitwear.

PHOTOS by Natasha Robarge / Ravelry.com

Find the original free pattern on crochet.com, or read more about it on Ravelry.

7. Sommarkoftan 2023

  • Designed by Maja Karlsson

Get the dark academia aesthetic with this knitted vest pattern! Perfect for creating a timeless look, this classic design adds a touch of Oxford charm to any outfit. Whether you’re headed to a lecture or a casual gathering, this vest is versatile and chic. Follow the free and easy-to-follow pattern to craft your own academic-inspired piece.

Person wearing a beige dark academia knitwear cardigan with a pink and white patterned waistband over a white skirt.

PHOTOS by Maja Karlsson / Ravelry.com

Find the original free pattern on jarbo.se, or read more about it on Ravelry.

8. 220-43 Audrey Vest

  • Designed by DROPS design

Elevate your wardrobe with the dark academia vibe of this knitted cardigan pattern. The timeless design and classic shape make this piece a versatile addition to your collection. The piece offers comfort and style whether you’re aiming for a scholarly look or a laid-back ensemble. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to knit such a trendy academic-inspired garment.

Woman wearing a light blue sleeveless knitwear vest over a white blouse.

PHOTOS by DROPS design / Ravelry.com

Find the original free pattern on garnstudio.com, or read more about it on Ravelry.

9. Glaciär – Vest Women

  • Designed by The Weststrand Sisters

Elevate your dark academia style with this vest knit pattern! This timeless design exudes sophistication and charm, perfect for creating a scholarly look. The classic silhouette and intricate detailing make it a must-have for any academic-inspired wardrobe. Put it at the top of your project list.

Woman wearing a sleeveless yellow turtleneck and dark academia knitwear stands outdoors with a natural landscape in the background.

PHOTOS by The Weststrand Sisters / Ravelry.com

Find the original free pattern on jarbo.se, or read more about it on Ravelry.

10. Bergtjärn – Women’s Sweater

  • Designed by The Weststrand Sisters

This dark, academic-inspired sweater combines comfort with vintage charm, making it an ideal choice for cooler days. The intricate stitches and classic design add a touch of timeless elegance to your wardrobe. Whether you’re exploring old libraries or attending a literary discussion, this sweater is the perfect complement to your dark academia style.

A woman wearing a dark academia knitwear sweater and a headband stands in a forest, depicted in two poses: the upper image shows her looking down to the side, and the lower image has her

PHOTOS by The Weststrand Sisters / Ravelry.com

Find the original free pattern on jarbo.se, or read more about it on Ravelry.

11. Cariño Sweater Vest

  • Designed by Clara Benadon

This stylish knitted vest features a sophisticated design with a touch of vintage charm, making it a must-have for any academic-inspired wardrobe. The versatile knit allows you to layer it over shirts or turtlenecks for a classic look that exudes elegance and style. The pattern is a must-have.

a knitted vest laid with a cable design in a brown color

PHOTOS by Clara Benadon / Ravelry.com

Find the original free pattern on Ravelry.

12. Williamsburg – Classic Cardigan

  • Designed by Wool & Beyond

For a classic addition to your dark academia wardrobe, try your hand at a timeless cardigan. This cozy yet chic garment is perfect for layering over your favorite blouses or dresses. The classic design and rich texture of the cardigan offer a touch of sophistication that complements any academic outfit. Ideal for both casual and formal occasions.

a woman wearing a light colored knitted crop cardigan featuring a cabled design

PHOTOS by Wool & Beyond / Ravelry.com

Find the original free pattern on svartafaret.se, or read more about it on Ravelry.

13. Trento Vest

  • Designed by Terrifik knits

A classic knitted vest with a scholarly charm. It’s an ideal piece for a versatile wardrobe. You can customize the fit and style it to achieve a tailored or oversized look. The subdued silhouette makes it perfect for layering over warm turtlenecks and crisp shirts for that sophisticated vibe. The vest knitting pattern is free.

a woman wearing a knitted vest in a beige color

PHOTOS by Terrifik knits / Ravelry.com

Find the original free pattern on terrifiknits.com, or read more about it on Ravelry.

14. Pinebough

  • Designed by Christina Behnke

This pattern is for a pinebough-inspired knit garment, exuding a rustic charm with a sprinkle of academia. The earthy and warm vibes of this knit make it a perfect choice for those stylish autumn and winter looks. It’s a fantastic way to add a touch of elegance to your wardrobe while keeping snug and stylish.

a woman wearing a dark green knitted cardigan with buttons and front tie at the neckline

PHOTOS by Christina Behnke / Ravelry.com

Find the original free pattern on yarnalia.com, or read more about it on Ravelry.

15. Harvard Slipover

  • Designed by Ainhoa Sanchez

This knitted vest exudes academic elegance with its classic design and neutral tones. It’s the perfect addition to your wardrobe to create a striking, scholarly outfit. A stylish choice for embracing the spirit of academia with a touch of modern sophistication. The pattern is free and easy-to-follow.

a person wearing a knitted slipover with a colar ribbing in a neutral color

PHOTOS by Ainhoa Sanchez / Ravelry.com

Find the original free pattern on Ravelry.

16. Syrenkvist – Slipover

  • Designed by Stine HoelgaardJohansen

A chic knit vest project that captures the essence of intellectual sophistication with its simple yet striking design. Its versatile style makes it a standout piece for those looking to channel a refined and academic look in their outfits. Perfect for adding a touch of class to your wardrobe.

a woman wearing a knitted slipover in a neutral color

PHOTOS by Stine HoelgaardJohansen / Ravelry.com

Find the original free pattern on jarbo.se, or read more about it on Ravelry.

17. Ferntail Vest

  • Designed by Kelly Forster

A beautiful knit vest with a modern twist on a classic design. The deep v-neck is great for showing off beautiful vintage blouses and is equally great for summer academic outfits when you want to let your skin breathe. This knitted vest pattern is free and easy to follow.

a woman wearing a knitted vest with collar ribbing in a neutral color

PHOTOS by Cascade Yarns / Ravelry.com

Find the original free pattern on cascadeyarns.com, or read more about it on Ravelry.

18. Newburgh Cable Stitch Slip-Over #3721

  • Designed by Minerva Yarns

If you’re looking for an authentic retro design, consider this knitted vest. It’s a nice option for any outing. Whether you’re heading to uni or just go on a regular stroll. It’s a men’s design, but it looks good in women’s wardrobe as well. Wear it with shirts and either classic trousers or classic skirt.

a man wearing a knit vest

PHOTOS by Minerva Yarns / Ravelry.com

Find the original free pattern on freevintageknitting.com, or read more about it on Ravelry.

19. Sydney Cardigan and Tank Top – 7152

  • Designed by Yarnsmiths

A basic, but cute knitted vest and cardigan design. These will be great if you prefer the light academia aesthetics. The pattern comes in small sizes, but you can adapt it easily if you have some experience with similar projects. Plus, it comes in a convenient downloadable PDF. 

a striped knit vest in pink and purple colors

PHOTOS by Yarnsmiths / Ravelry.com

Find the original free pattern on woolwarehouse.co.uk, or read more about it on Ravelry.

20. Vardon Sport Jacket #3711

  • Designed by Minerva Yarns

An authentic classic knitted cardigan from 1934. Such a piece will make a good addition to a man’s wardrobe and is sure to elevate academic outfits. It goes great with shirts and ties, turtlenecks and even T-shirts. Though the piece was originally designed for men, it’ll suit anyone.

a man wearing a knitted jacket

PHOTOS by Minerva Yarns / Ravelry.com

Find the original free pattern on freevintageknitting.com, or read more about it on Ravelry.

21. Dead Boy Detectives Lopapeysa

  • Designed by Joan of Dark aka Toni Carr

Classic construction and classic design of this knitted sweater make it perfect for dark academia outfits. Such a sweater will make you look like a 1960s Oxbridge student, so if you like this retro style, this project is your chance. The pattern is easy to follow and won’t make you struggle.

a knitted sweater for men

PHOTOS by Joan of Dark aka Toni Carr / Ravelry.com

Find the original free pattern on Ravelry.

22. Koglen

  • Designed by Hanne Rimmen

Another great classic sweater design designed in 1958, but in brighter colors. Dark academia calls for muted colors, but as it’s an academic style of clothing, blue is great for outfits as well. Plus, the sweater is quite versatile and you can wear it even with casual clothing. 

a woman wearing a knit sweater with a diamond pattern

PHOTOS by Hanne Rimmen / Ravelry.com

Find the original free pattern on en.filcolana.dk, or read more about it on Ravelry.

Do you need more ideas for knitted sweaters? Check out the selection of Stylish Knitted Pullovers for Warm and Trendy Outfits.


What is the Dark Academia Style?

Dark Academia style is an aesthetic that blends classic literature, traditional academia, and gothic elements into fashion and lifestyle. Emphasizing scholarly pursuits, this trend features timeless apparel inspired by vintage and collegiate fashion, perfect for those who cherish the beauty of the old world. Some stylists call it one of the branches of preppy style.

Where Can I Find Dark Academia Clothing?

Discover Dark Academia clothing at vintage stores, thrift shops, and online retailers specializing in classic fashion. Brands like ASOS, Zara, and thrift platforms like Depop and Etsy offer a range of pieces that fit the Dark Academia aesthetic, making it accessible to enthusiasts everywhere. But it’s even more enjoyable to make the Dark Academia outfits with your own hands — take the free knitting patterns for sweaters, cardigans, and vests we gathered for you in this post.

What Are Some Popular Dark Academia Clothing Brands?

Popular brands for Dark Academia clothing include J.Crew, Ralph Lauren, and Uniqlo, known for their quality pieces that resonate with the trend’s emphasis on classic and timeless styles. These brands offer essentials like tweed jackets, wool sweaters, and plaid trousers, ideal for curating a Dark Academia wardrobe. Knitwear you can make by yourself with the free patterns for Dark Academia clothes.

How Can I Incorporate Dark Academia Elements into My Wardrobe?

Incorporate Dark Academia elements into your wardrobe by adding key pieces such as turtlenecks, blazers, and Oxford shoes. Use the Dark Academia cardigan and sweater patterns we offer above. Focus on building a palette of earth tones and rich textures, and mix vintage finds with new items to create a balanced, academically-inspired look.

What Are Some Key Pieces for Achieving the Dark Academia Look?

Key pieces for achieving the Dark Academia outfit include wool coats, leather satchels, tailored trousers, knitted sweaters, cardigans, vests, and vintage-inspired blouses. These foundational items embody the trend’s scholarly and timeless aesthetic, perfect for those seeking academic elegance.

Are There Any Specific Colors or Patterns Associated with Dark Academia Fashion?

Dark Academia fashion is characterized by a muted color palette of black, grey, brown, and dark green, accented with patterns like houndstooth, plaid, and tweed. These colors and patterns reflect the trend’s gothic and academic influences, creating a sophisticated and understated look.

How Can I Achieve a More Affordable Dark Academia Look?

Achieve an affordable Dark Academia look by shopping at thrift stores, vintage shops, and online marketplaces for second-hand finds, and create a dark academia cardigan or sweater with free patterns from this post. Look for essential pieces like blazers and knitwear, and focus on quality fabrics and timeless designs to build your wardrobe without breaking the bank.

Are There Any Specific Accessories That Are Popular in Dark Academia Fashion?

Improve your Dark Academia outfits with leather-bound journals, vintage watches, brooches, and knitted scarves. These accessories complement the aesthetic’s scholarly vibe, adding a personal touch to the classic Dark Academia ensemble.

What is the History Behind the Dark Academia Trend?

The history behind the Dark Academia trend stems from a deep appreciation for classic literature, the arts, and the romanticization of academic life. It evolved from online communities and has roots in 19th-century Gothic and Romantic movements, reflecting a longing for knowledge and beauty.

Can Dark Academia Style Be Adapted for Different Body Types?

Sure! Dark Academia style can be adapted for different body types by focusing on tailored fits, layering, and choosing pieces that flatter individual silhouettes. The trend’s versatility allows for customization, ensuring everyone can participate regardless of size or shape.

Are There Any Sustainable or Ethical Options for Dark Academia Clothing?

Sustainable and ethical options for Dark Academia clothing are available through brands that prioritize eco-friendly practices and materials. Shopping second-hand, knitting knitwear on your own, and choosing quality over quantity also contribute to a more sustainable approach to embracing the Dark Academia aesthetic.

How Can I Incorporate Dark Academia Elements into My Everyday Outfits?

Incorporate Dark Academia elements into everyday outfits by blending key pieces with casual wear. Pair a blazer with jeans, a vintage blouse with modern trousers, a classic knitted sweater or a vest with white shirts, or add a brown or black classic knitted scarf to integrate the aesthetic into your daily wardrobe seamlessly.

Are There Any Specific Hairstyles That Complement the Dark Academia Look?

Hairstyles that complement the Dark Academia look include loose waves, classic updos, and tidy buns, reflecting the trend’s elegant and timeless nature. These styles pair well with the academic and literary influences of the aesthetic.

What Are Some Tips for Creating a Cohesive Dark Academia Wardrobe?

Creating a cohesive Dark Academia wardrobe involves selecting versatile pieces that mix and match easily, focusing on a muted color palette, and investing in quality, timeless items. Prioritize garments that reflect the aesthetic’s scholarly and gothic influences for a unified look.

Are There Any Fashion Influencers or Bloggers Who Specialize in Dark Academia Fashion?

There are several fashion influencers and bloggers who specialize in Dark Academia fashion, sharing inspiration and styling tips on platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. Look for accounts focusing on classic literature, academic aesthetics, and vintage fashion to find your Dark Academia style muses.

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