Knits aren’t just for winter! If you haven’t knitted yourself a sleeveless summer tank top yet then now is the time to try them.
Summer tank tops are great projects for beginner knitters….. no sleeves, very little shaping and loose airy stitches mean that a little uneveness in your rows doesn’t really show. That’s ticking a lot of beginner knitter boxes in my opinion.
Knitting an easy summer top is a great way to practise reading a pattern, perfect your stitch technique and perhaps learn a new lace knitting skill or two.
What Yarn Should I Use To Knit A Summer Top?
Yarns that are typically used for lighter summer knits are often less expensive than woollen winter yarns. Cotton is the most common and often the cheapest option, although when it is combined with wonderfully soft silk or the rustic texture of linen you can achieve a totally different look.
There are so many options out there including different weights and twists that it’s easy to find a yarn that is soft enough to give you a wonderful drape or has less halo to give you fabulous stitch definition.
Here are some of my favourites:
I used paintbox yarns cotton DK for the Bon Ares Tee pattern
I love Scheepjes Catona cotton for summer knit and crochet projects. Although for the Arturo summer knit tank I tried Scheepjes Stonewashed Cotton for the first time. This is a cotton/acrylic mix which gives (as you would expect) a gorgeous stonewashed texture and adds a fabulous aged vintage vibe. It’s definitely my new favourite summer yarn as it’s so super soft!
How Do I Knit A Summer Tank Top?
Summer knitting is no different to winter knitting, the stitches and techniques are exactly the same, you may just find that working with summer yarns is slightly different to woolly winter yarns.
The main thing to watch out for is that cotton, linen or silk based summer yarns may be a bit more slippery on your needles (and as the stitches are often smaller they may be a bit more fiddly to pick up if they get dropped!)
If you find that your stitches are moving a little too quickly for you and are slipping off the needle then you may prefer to use a wooden or bamboo set of needles which have slightly more resistance than metal and will help you control your tension better.
You can see my favourites in my amazon shop.
Summer knitting patterns are generally knit on a looser gauge with slightly larger needles so they’re a great way to practice your tension and achieve even stitch sizes before you move on to a more luxurious winter knit.
Easy summer knitting patterns like the Bon Ares top often have no or little shaping so they’re perfect for working at the beach or when you want to switch off in front of the TV, you can just let your hands work and knit and knit without having to engage your brain.
This easy breezy knitting pattern is so simple even as a beginner knitter I’m confident you can create your own wardrobe.
Knitted in two identical sized pieces which are sewn together you can choose how long to make it so you can wear it as a beach cover up or a cool summer tee. You could definitiely make a shorter version if you’re a hipster type who has more confidence in showing off your tum than I do!!
Scroll down to find the free pattern or you can purchase the ad free printable in the shop here:
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What Do I Need To Knit My Summer Tank Top?
• You can use any lightweight yarn that you prefer as the pattern is totally customisable but I used this Cotton DK Yarn by Paintbox Yarns.
You can find it here on Lovecrafts.
Size XS/S Approx 650m
Size M Approx 680m
Size L/XL/2XL 884m
Size 3XL/4XL/5XL 1020m
How Do I Knit The Bon Ares Summer Tank Top?
This easy summer tank top is knit in two square shaped pieces which are then sewn together at the shoulders and at the sides.
The pattern is totally customisable. You can knit it shorter for a cropped look, go longer for a beach cover up, sew shorter side seams to create easy breezy armholes or knit a smaller size to make it more fitted. The options are endless!!
This is an oversize knit so size isn’t important but measurements are given up to 5XL.
The finished sweater in size S/M is approximately 55cm (22inches) long and fits up to 38 inch chest. The largest size 5XL will fit chest sizes up to 60 inches.
Instructions are given for the smallest size (XS/S). Minor changes for larger sizes are given in brackets:
XS/S 28-34 inch chest
M 36-38 inch chest (in brackets)
L/XL/2XL 40-50 inch chest (second number in brackets)
3XL/4XL/5XL 52-62 inch chest (third number in brackets)
Do I Need A Gauge Swatch For My Knit Summer Top?
Gauge is important to give you an idea of whether your project will be the size you want, especially important with clothing!
Can you imagine putting in all that work to find you can’t get your arm in or it’s hanging off your shoulders?
Ok maybe that’s the look you want, but so many crafters miss this stage out and then spend just as long pulling out their work to remake it so it fits. Moralof the story is check it’s going to fit first!!
While gauge is not super important with this project as it is so loose fitting, I usually recommend making a swatch that measures at least 10 x 10 cm / 4 x 4 inches using the stitch in the pattern the gauge is given for (see below).
Test your yarn and needles against the gauge sizing below or see your yarninformation label to check the typical gauge if you want to use an
Garter Drop Stitch = 14 stitches x 18 rows (10×10 cm)
See the pattern description below to help you out – you should have 3 blocks of pattern in 10cm ie 3 blocks of (4 rows of garter stitch, 1 row of wrap stitches then 1 row of drop stitches)
If your swatch is smaller than this then swap to a larger set of needles, if you have a larger swatch then use a smaller needle until the required gauge is reached.
CO – Cast On
K – Knit stitch
YO – Yarn Over
BO – Bind Off
• All measurements given are unblocked.
• Note that measurements are given as exact as possible. Your tension & technique might give variations in the result, but that’s what makes it unique!
How To Knit Garter Drop Stitch
Today we’re working with dropped stitches, but don’t worry we’re going to drop them intentionally to create our gorgeouse texture.
Below you will find a brief summary of the stitch technique. If you’re new to drop stitches then you should start here with the full tutorial.
If you’re more of a visual learner you can see how I work the stitch on a YouTube video.
Knit Drop Stitch Technique: A Summary
- Knit the first 4 rows.
On row 5 knit the first stitch, YO2 (holding your yarn in your right hand wrap it
counter clockwise around the right needle two times).
- Continue Knit,YO2 until you reach the last stitch. Knit the last stitch.
- R6 – Knit the first stitch. Using either your finger or your needle slip the
wrapped stitches (the YO2 from the previous row) off your needle, these
should be easy to differentiate form your knit stitches as you can see they are
looser and are not connected to the row below.
- See the tutorial on YouTube here
Knit your Summer Tank Top Body Pieces
CO 70 (75, 98, 119) stitches
R1-4 Knit all stitches
R5 – Knit the first stitch, YO2 (holding your yarn in your right hand wrap it counter clockwise around the right needle two times).
Continue with *Knit,YO2* until you reach the last stitch. Knit the last stitch.
R6 – Knit the first stitch. Using either your finger or your needle slip the wrapped stitches (the YO2 from the previous row) off your needle, these should be easy to differentiate form your knit stitches as you can see they are looser and are not connected to the row below. knit the next stitch.
Continue with *Knit, drop the YO* until the last stitch. Knit the last stitch.
Congratulations you have just completed your first block of pattern and it really isn’t as scary as you thought was it?
Row 7-84 repeat 1-6 (you should now have 14 blocks of pattern)
R 85-100 knit all stitches to give you a solid shoulder block.
R101 – BO all stitches
Putting It All Together
Place your pieces on a flat surface with the shoulders facing each other, mark a neckline with pins by measuring the width of you piece and subtracting 11 inches (this will be the width of your neck opening, you can make it wider if you prefer a slouchier look).
Divide the remaining width in two then measure from the outside edge of your piece to the centre and mark it with a pin.
For example, size small is 41 inches wide, if I subtract 11 inches for the neckline which leaves me with 30 inches. If I divide this in two I know I need to measure 15 inches from each shoulder and mark with a pin so my neckline will be centred.
Sew your shoulder seams from the pins to the outside edge.
With your seam still on the outside and the right sides together measure 10 (10,11,12) inches from the shoulder seam and mark with a pin. Sew from the pin down to the base of the tee. You could increase the depth of the armholes here if you want a breezy beach cover up.
Weave in any ends, turn your work the right way out and get out there to show it off!!