I recently learned that the first T-shirt was born in the 19th century when someone decided to cut in half his one-piece union suit, the undergarment of choice in those days. To the wielder of those scissors, I say thank you.

Since then, the T-shirt has become a truly universal garment. From its beginnings as an undershirt for miners, farmers, longshoremen, and troops to its celebrity-inspired mass appeal as the uniform of cool (a la Marlon Brando, James Dean, even Marilyn Monroe), the T-shirt has always fit right in.

Every modern decade has integrated the T-shirt into its trends. Sure, slight alterations have been made here and there (in the 80s it was all off-the-shoulder Flashdance; in the 90s it was all down-to-the-thighs Snoop Dogg ), but it always comes back to the basic, ever-so-classic, white, "T"-shaped shirt.

While of course T-shirts are typically made of cotton, I couldn't resist the brillant white and lustrous sheen of Habu's fingering weight 100% Bamboo. It's magically cool to the touch and has a drape that's both casual and elegant. I also couldn't resist adding my own little alteration: an optional breast pocket that provides an opportunity for a POP of color, knit here in Koigu's intensely saturated hand-dyed Koigu Premium Merino.

I know I'll wear this piece for years, since there's no chance of it going out of fashion. Perhaps one day paired with jeans, the next with a long, flowing, fanciful skirt. The T-shirt, it's lasted the test of time, it knows no bounds! -Laura

Materials

Gauge

6 1/4 stitches = 1 inch in stockinette stitch

Sizes

Small (Medium, Large, XLarge, XXLarge)

  • Finished Bust Circumference: 34 1/2 (38 1/2, 42 1/4, 45, 50) inches
  • Length from Underarm to Bottom Edge: 16 (16 1/2, 16 1/2, 17, 17) inches
  • Sleeve Length from Underarm to Cuff: 2 1/2 (2 3/4, 3, 3 1/4, 3 1/2) inches
  • Sleeve Circumference at Cuff: 11 1/2 (12 1/2, 13 1/2, 14 1/2, 15 1/4) inches

Pattern

Body

Using the 24- or 32-inch circular needle and MC, cast on 216 (240, 264, 288, 312) stitches.

Place a marker and join for working in the round, being careful to not twist the stitches.

Knit 1 round.

Purl 1 round.

Knit 4 rounds.

Purl 1 round.

Continue in stockinette stitch, knitting each round, until the piece measures 16 (16 1/2, 16 1/2, 17, 17) inches from cast-on edge, or desired length to underarm.

Divide for Front and Back

Bind off 12 (16, 20, 24, 28) stitches, k95 (103, 111, 199, 127), place previous 96 (104, 112, 120, 128) Front stitches on hold using an additional needle or scrap yarn, bind off the following 12 (16, 20, 24, 28) stitches, knit to end of row. [96 (104, 112, 120, 128) stitches for Back]

Back

Shape Back Armholes

You will now be shaping the Back, working back and forth across the stitches in rows rather than in the round. The stitch counts in the following two sections do not include the Front stitches on hold.

Row 1 (wrong side): Bind off 4 stitches, purl to end of row. [92 (100, 108, 116, 124) stitches]

Row 2 (right side): Bind off 4 stitches, knit to end of row. [88 (96, 104, 112, 120) stitches]

Row 3: Purl.Row 4: K2, slip, slip, knit (ssk), knit to last 4 stitches, k2tog, k2. [2 stitches decreased]Repeat Rows 3 and 4 three (four, five, six, eight) more times. [80 (86, 92, 98, 102) stitches]

Continue working even in stockinette until armhole measures 6 1/2 (7, 71/2, 7 3/4, 8) inches, ending with a wrong side row.

Shape Back Shoulders

Row 1 (right side): Bind off 7 (7, 9, 9, 10) stitches, knit to end of row.Row 2 (wrong side): Bind off 7 (7, 9, 9, 10) stitches, purl to end of row.Row 3: Bind off 7 (8, 8, 9, 9) stitches, knit to end of row.Row 4: Bind off 7 (8, 8, 9, 9) stitches, purl to end of row.Repeat Rows 3 and 4 once more. [38 (40, 42, 44, 46) stitches]Next Row: Bind off remaining stitches.

Front

You will now be shaping the Front, working across the stitches you had previously put on hold. With wrong side facing, rejoin MC.

Shape Front Armholes

Row 1 (wrong side): Bind off 4 stitches, purl to end of row. [92 (100, 108, 116, 124) stitches]

NOTE: Row 2 begins the Inset Pocket (optional); if you wish to work a pocket, go to "Row 2 With Pocket". If you prefer not to work a pocket, go to "Row 2 Without Pocket".

Row 2 With Pocket (right side): Bind off 4 stitches, k7 (10, 13, 13, 13, 16), p21 (21, 21, 23, 23) to create pocket turning row, turn work. Go to "Make Inset Pocket".

Row 2 Without Pocket (right side): Bind off 4 stitches, knit to end of row. [88 (96, 104, 112, 120) stitches] Go to "Continue Shaping Front".

Make Inset Pocket

You will now be working the Pocket on the 21 (21, 21, 23, 23) pocket stitches, using two double pointed needles. Leave the remaining 67 (75, 83, 89, 97) stitches unworked on the circular needle.

Row 1 (wrong side): Working on pocket stitches only, and using double pointed needles, p21 (21, 21, 23, 23.Row 2 (right side): K21 (21, 21, 23, 23).

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until the pocket measures 3 (3, 3, 3 1/2, 3 1/2) inches, ending with Row 2.

Cut working yarn, leaving a 6-inch tail.

With CC, repeat Rows 1 and 2 until the pocket measures 6 (6, 6, 7, 7) inches, ending with Row 2.

Cut CC yarn, leaving a 6-inch tail.Slip the pocket stitches onto the right-hand end of the circular needle.

Rejoin MC, leaving a tail long enough to sew the sides of the pocket, and continue working in stockinette across to the end of the Front.

Continue Shaping Front Armholes

Row 1 (wrong side): Purl.

Row 2 (right side): K2, ssk, knit to last 4 stitches, k2tog, k2. [2 stitches decreased]

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 three (four, five, six, eight) more times. [80 (86, 92, 89, 102) stitches]

Continue working even in stockinette until armhole measures 3 (3 1/2, 4, 4 1/4, 4 1/2) inches, ending with a wrong-side row.

Next Row (right side): K30 (32, 34, 36, 37), bind off the next 20 (22, 24, 26, 28) stitches, knit to end of row. [60 (64, 68, 72, 74) total stitches: 30 (32, 34, 36, 37) stitches for right side of Front, 30 (32, 34, 36, 37) stitches for left side of Front]

Shape Right Side of Crewneck

You will now work the right and left sides of the Front separately, starting with the Right Side. Stitch counts below are per side, not total.

Row 1 (wrong side): Working on Right Side stitches only, purl.

Row 2 (right side): Bind off 3 stitches, knit to end of row. [27 (29, 31, 33, 34) stitches]

Row 3: Purl.

Row 4: Bind off 2 stitches, knit to end of row. [25 (27, 29, 31, 32) stitches]

Rows 5 and 6: Repeat Rows 3 and 4 once more. [23 (25, 27, 29, 30) stitches]

Row 7: Purl.Row 8: K2, ssk, knit to end of row. [1 stitch decreased]

Row 9: Purl.Repeat Rows 8 and 9 once more. [21 (23, 25, 27, 28) stitches]

Continue working even in stockinette until armhole measures 6 1/2 (7, 7 1/2, 7 3/4, 8) inches, ending with a right-side row.

Shape Right Shoulder

Row 1 (wrong side): Bind off 7 (7, 9, 9, 10) stitches, purl to end of row.

Row 2 (right side): Knit.

Row 3: Bind off 7 (8, 8, 9, 9) stitches, purl to end of row.

Row 4: Knit. Repeat Rows 3 and 4 once more.

Shape Left Side of Crewneck

With right side facing, rejoin MC to stitches on hold for left side.

Row 1 (right side): Knit.

Row 2 (wrong side): Bind off 3 stitches, purl to end of row. [27 (29, 31, 33, 24) stitches]

Row 3: Knit.Row 4: Bind off 2 stitches, purl to end of row. [25 (27, 29, 31, 32) stitches]

Rows 5 and 6: Repeat Rows 3 and 4 once more. [23 (25, 27, 30) stitches]

Row 7: Knit to last 4 stitches, k2tog, k2. [1 stitch decreased]Row 8: Purl.

Repeat Rows 7 and 8 once more. [21 (23, 25, 27, 28) stitches]Continue working even in stockinette until armhole measures 6 1/2 (7, 7 1/2, 7 3/4, 8) inches, ending with a wrong side row.

Shape Left Shoulder

Row 1 (right side): Bind off 7 (7, 9, 9, 10) stitches, knit to end of row.

Row 2 (wrong side): Purl.

Row 3: Bind off 7 (8, 8, 9, 9) stitches, knit to end of row.

Row 4: Purl.Repeat Rows 3 and 4 once more.

Sew Shoulders Together

Sew left and right shoulders together.

Neckband

With right side of Back facing and using shorter circular needle, join MC to pick up stitches for the neckline. Starting at the right shoulder and working across the Back neck stitches first, pick up 109 (114, 118, 121, 125) stitches around the entire neckline.Purl 1 round.Bind off very loosely in knit.

Sleeves

Beginning at the center of the 12 (16, 20, 24, 28) stitches that were bound off for the underarm and using shorter circular needle, join MC and pick up 84 (92, 100, 108, 116) stitches around the armhole.

Shape Sleeve Cap

You will be working in short rows, back and forth, turning the work part way through each row, rather than continuing to the end of the needle. For a tutorial, click here.

Row 1 (wrong side): P51 (56, 61, 66, 71), wrap and turn.

Row 2 (right side): K18 (20, 22, 24, 26), wrap and turn.

Row 3: P18 (20, 22, 24, 26), purl the wrapped stitch together with the picked-up wrap, p1, wrap and turn.

Row 4: K20 (22, 24, 26, 28), knit the wrapped stitch together with the picked-up wrap, k1, wrap and turn.

Row 5: P22 (24, 26, 28, 30), purl the wrapped stitch together with the picked-up wrap, p1, wrap and turn.

Row 6: K24 (26, 28, 30, 32), knit the wrapped stitch together with the picked-up wrap, k1, wrap and turn.

Row 7: P26 (28, 30, 32, 34), purl the wrapped stitch together with the picked-up wrap, p1, wrap and turn.

Row 8: K28 (30, 32, 34, 36), knit the wrapped stitch together with the picked-up wrap, k1, wrap and turn.

Continue in this fashion, working up to the wrapped stitch, working the wrapped stitch with the picked-up wrap, working 1 more stitch, then wrapping and turning, until you have a total of 4 (6, 8, 10, 12) stitches unworked at the center of the underarm (between wrapped stitches), ending with a right-side row.

Next Row (wrong side): P78 (84, 90, 96, 102), purl the wrapped stitch together with the picked-up wrap, purl to end of row.

Next Row (right side): Knit, remembering to knit the wrapped stitch together with the picked-up wrap along the way.Place marker and join for working in the round.

Shape Sleeve

Change to double pointed needles.Round 1: Knit.

Round 2: K2tog, knit to last 2 stitches, ssk. [2 stitches decreased]

Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 five (six, seven, eight, nine) more times. [72 (78, 84, 90, 96) stitches]

Purl 1 round.

Knit 5 rounds.

Purl 1 round.

Bind off loosely in knit.

Make a second sleeve the same as the first.

Finish

If you made the insert pocket, turn the T-shirt inside out. Using the tail, whip stitch the sides of the pocket together.Weave in all the ends and gently block your tee.