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Tulip Tank Top

At first bud a tulip’s elongated petals are packed tightly, protectively hugging its center, but it doesn’t take long for the stance of the petals to soften. Those lovely ovals separate slightly and open finally, giving a glimpse of what’s inside. Even as the petals flounce, they remain in an embrace, now catching the sunlight, as well as the attention of admirers.

Wanting to experience the beauty and femininity of a tulip’s structure, I designed this Tulip Tank Top to wrap and overlap, to gently hug my center… maybe even to attract some admirers!

I took advantage of the beauty and drape of Louet’s 100% linen Euroflax, knowing it would fall gracefully and catch the light with movement. I knit this piece primarily in stockinette stitch for a smooth finish and a pretty, little curl along the short-row-shaped edges. And over time, you can expect the linen to soften and relax, becoming better with each wear.

I may not be frolicking amidst the actual tulips this year, but my new Tulip Tank has me feeling as fancy-free as if I were! -Laura

Materials

Gauge

24 stitches x 28 rows = 4 x 4  inches in stockinette stitch with the smaller needle

Sizes

31 (35, 39, 43, 47)

  • Finished Chest Circumference: 31 (35, 39, 43, 47) inches
  • Length from Shoulder to Bottom Edge: 22 ½ (23, 23 ½, 24, 24 ½) inches
  • Length from Underarm to Bottom Edge: 14 inches
  • Ease: This garment is designed with a 2 to 4-inch ease.

Notes

This garment is shaped using short rows. For our complete Short Rows Tutorial, please click here.

wrp-t (wrap and turn)

  • on the right side: Keeping the yarn in back, slip the next stitch purlwise from the left needle to the right needle. Bring the yarn to the front. Return the slipped stitch to the left needle. Bring the yarn to the back of the work. Turn the work so the wrong side is facing you.
  • on the wrong side: Keeping the yarn in front, slip the next stitch purlwise from the left needle to the right needle. Bring the yarn to the back. Return the slipped stitch to the left needle. Bring the yarn to the front. Turn the work so the right side is facing you.

Pattern

Body

With the larger circular needle, cast on 98 stitches, place marker (pm), cast on 83 (119, 155, 191, 227) stitches, pm, cast on 98 stitches. [279 (315, 351, 387, 423) total stitches]

Row 1 (wrong side): Purl.

Row 2 (right side): Knit.

Change to smaller needle.

Start Short Row Shaping

NOTES:

  • For this portion of the pattern, you will be working back and forth in short rows, turning the work part way through each row rather than continuing to the end of the needle. For our complete Short Rows Tutorial, click here.
  • The markers indicate where the short row shaping begin. With each consecutive row you will work one stitch past the previously wrapped stitch, away from the markers and closer to the end of the row.

Row 1 (wrong side): Purl to second marker, slip marker (sm), wrp-t (see NOTES above).

Row 2: Knit to second marker, sm, wrp-t.

Row 3: Purl to wrapped stitch, slipping the markers when you come to them, purl wrapped stitch with its wrap, p1, wrp-t.

Row 4: Knit to wrapped stitch, slipping the markers when you come to them, knit wrapped stitch with its wrap, k1, wrp-t.

Repeat Rows 3 and 4 forty-eight more times (at which point just one stitch remains after the wrp-t on each side).

Next Row (wrong side): Removing stitch markers as you come to them, purl to wrapped stitch, purl wrapped stitch with its wrap, p1 to end.

Divide Front and Backs

Next Row (right side): Knit 93 (105, 117, 129, 141), place these stitches on scrap yarn for Back Left; knit 93 (105, 117, 129, 141), place these stitches on scrap yarn for Front; knit to wrapped stitch, knit wrapped stitch with its wrap, k1 to end. [93 (105, 117, 129, 141) stitches remain for Back Right]

Backs

Shape Back Right

Row 1 (wrong side): Purl.

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

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 two (10, 11, 14, 22) more times. [87 (83, 93, 99, 95) stitches]

Continue Shaping Back Right

Row 1 (wrong side): Purl.

Row 2: Knit.

Row 3: Purl.

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

Repeat Rows 1-4 twelve (9, 9, 9, 6) more times. [61 (63, 73, 79, 81) stitches]

Cut yarn and leave stitches on longer circular needle.

Back Left

With shorter needle, join yarn to wrong side.

Follow instructions for SHAPE BACK RIGHT and CONTINUE SHAPING BACK RIGHT.

Do not cut yarn.

Overlap Backs

Lay piece on flat surface with wrong side facing you. Fold the Back Right so that the cast on corner meets the left underarm at the point where you divided the Front and Backs. Fold Back Left so that its cast on corner meets the right underarm. Carefully flip the piece over so the right side of the Front is facing you. The wrong side of the Backs will be facing you.

Graft Backs and Bind off for Neck

Orient the two circular needles with the Back Left and Back Right stitches in your left hand. Hold the needles parallel with the wrong sides of the Backs facing you and the working yarn coming from the right end of the back needle.

Working through the stitches on both the back and front needles simultaneously, use the left end of longer needle to...

Next Row (wrong side): Purl 3 (3, 6, 9, 9), bind off following 55 (57, 61, 61, 63) stitches purlwise for Back of Neck, purl to end. [6 (6, 12, 18, 18) total stitches; 3 (3, 6, 9, 9) stitches for each Shoulder]

Cut Yarn.

Front

With shorter needle, join yarn to wrong side...

Shape Front

Row 1 (wrong side): Purl.

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

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 two (10, 11, 14, 22) more times. [87 (83, 93, 99, 95) stitches]

Continue Shaping Front

Row 1 (wrong side): Purl.

Row 2: Knit.

Row 3: Purl.

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

Repeat Rows 1-4 seven (4, 5, 6, 3) more times. [71 (73, 81, 85, 87) stitches]

Shape Front Neckline

Set-Up Row (wrong side): Purl 8 (8, 10, 12, 12), pm, purl 55 (57, 61, 61, 63), pm, purl to end.

Row 1: Knit to marker, sm, make 1 right (m1R), knit to following marker, make 1 left (m1L), sm, knit to end. [2 stitches increased]

Row 2: Purl.

Row 3: K2, ssk, knit to marker, sm, m1R, knit to following marker, m1L, sm, knit to last 4 stitches, k2tog, knit to end. [2 stitches increased and 2 stitches decreased]

Row 4: Purl.

Repeat Rows 1-4 four (4, 3, 2, 2) more times [81 (83, 89, 91, 93) stitches]

Next Row: Removing stitch markers as you come to them, knit 3 (3, 6, 9, 9), bind off following 75 (77, 77, 73, 75) stitches, knit to end. [6 (6, 12, 18, 18) total stitches; 3 (3, 6, 9, 9) stitches for each shoulder]

Finishing

Shoulders

Use the kitchener stitch to graft together Front and Back Shoulder stitches for both the Left and Right Shoulders. For our Kitchener Stitch tutorial, click here.

Armholes

RIGHT ARMHOLE

With the right side facing, using the shorter circular needle and beginning at the center of the underarm, hold the two Backs together to insert the needle through both Backs and pick up 1 stitch from each stitch along the entire armhole edge. Join for working in the round.

Bind off knitwise.

LEFT ARMHOLE

Using the same method as you did for the Right Armhole, beginning at the center of the underarm, pick up 1 stitch from each stitch around the entire armhole, remembering to go through both Back edges when you come to them. Join for working in the round.

Bind off knitwise.

Weave in Ends and Block

Weave in the ends and block garment as desired.

Click here to add a comment

39 Responses to Tulip Tank Top


  1. Suzanne says:

    This is a beautiful design!

  2. sknep says:

    Oh this reminds me of that other top you did that had this crossover back. I LOVED it and it came out too short, so this looks perfect!!!! Can't wait :) <3

  3. Jules says:

    This is stunning! What a clever and chic design.
    Do you think adding sleeves would spoil it? I rarely go out in sleeveless these days. :)
    - Jules

  4. Alison says:

    I am not sure what size to make – I measured my bust and it's 31" but the notes that say it's designed to have a 2" – 4" ease – does that mean I should make the 35" size? Thank you! It's a beautiful design.

  5. Randi says:

    Just WAUW!
    Need it in every color

  6. purl bee says:

    Hi Alison,
    Thanks for your compliments and for writing in. To answer your question… Yes… if I were you, with a 31-inch bust, I would make the 35-inch size. BUT!!!! You could make the 31-inch size. It just depends on how'd you'd like it to fit. It may be nice fitted. The mannequin is wearing the 35-inch size and has a 34-inch bust. Let me know if you have any more questions on fit or anything else.
    Laura

  7. purl bee says:

    Hey Jules.
    This could be very cool with sleeves. I love that idea. I might just have to rework the pattern with sleeves come fall! Maybe in Purl Soho's Line Weight?! If you do it, let me know how it goes!
    Thanks for writing in.
    Laura

  8. Norma says:

    Laura, can you suggest a lower-cost alternative yarn that will work well with this pattern? Many thanks — Norma

  9. Ann says:

    This is lovely!

  10. purl bee says:
  11. Susan says:

    This is beautiful. I may have to learn to knit.

  12. Laura says:

    Love this!

  13. Simone says:

    Its gorgeous as is but for those of us who wear bras but don't feel comfortable in strapless bras, could you post a variation that's sleeveless but would cover the straps? Thanks,Simone

  14. purl bee says:

    Hi Simone.
    Thanks for writing in. I appreciate the feedback. I'll definitely keep your request in mind and put it on our list of to-do's. I am not sure which size you'd be interested in knitting… but, just so you know… the Size 31 and Size 35 are 3/4 inches wide at the shoulders. The Size 39 is 1 1/4-inches wide at the shoulders and the Size 43 and 47 are 1 3/4 inches wide. Again, I am not sure if this is helpful or not, but I thought I would let you (and any other interested readers) know.
    Thanks again for writing in.
    Best,
    Laura

  15. Alanna Jane says:

    Laura, this Tulip Tank Top design is truly genius and incredibly funky. I just love it and wanted to say thank you for publishing it here freely. I will definitely be making one in the near future :)

  16. abby abigail says:

    Love this. For the knitter who doesn't want her bra straps to show, consider a racer-back bra, they work like a charm.

  17. Marny CA says:

    Fascinated by this top. Where was this when I had the bod and arms to wear it. LOL

    Any full-sized ladies who made and wear this?

  18. Leslie says:

    Hi Laura,
    I love the look of this top! I'm kitting it with Euroflax Sport Weight. The Louet website suggests washing and drying the swatch before checking the gauge since linen relaxes after washing. I was wondering if a washed swatch is what your gauge is based on and if I should choose a size that takes the post-washing relaxing into consideration (I'm smack in the middle of two sizes).
    Thanks for being so accessible for questions!
    Leslie

  19. purl bee says:

    Hi Leslie.
    Thanks!
    I definitely blocked my swatch (I submerged it in water and then laid it flat to dry) and that blocked swatch is what my gauge is based on. I highly recommend blocking your swatch because like you said, the linen relaxes after washing and blocking it will give you a more true sense of how the garment will look and feel after a few wears.
    What is your bust size (if you don't mind me asking)? What sizes are you debating between? The piece can definitely be warn with just an inch of ease (like the mannequin). In other words, I would go with fewer inches than more as long as you aren't planning to wear another shirt under it.
    Thanks for writing in.
    Laura

  20. Anne says:

    What a stunning top! Can I just confirm: for a bust size 36, would you recommend knitting the size 39 – obviously, depending on how my swatch goes – and it won't be too big or gape at the back?

  21. Leslie says:

    Hi Laura,
    Thanks for such a speedy response! The swatch is drying now and I can already see a difference in how the fabric behaves. My bust size is 41 and I was debating between 39 and 43. A while back I made a top out of linen ribbon (Lang's Lino) in large (110 cm – 43-3/4"). At first it fit well with a just little ease, but after a few washings has definitely gotten looser – a bit more like hanging than draping. Will this yarn do the same thing? I'd more than likely not wear another shirt underneath the Tulip Tank.
    Thanks so much!
    Leslie

  22. purl bee says:

    Hey Leslie… I would definitely go with Size 43. Two inches of room is a great amount for this piece. I have worked with this Euroflax quite a bit. It will soften over time with wearing and washing and as the fabric relaxes there will be some drape, but sine you're knitting it at 6 stitches to the inch (not too loose), it shouldn't grow too be too big or get too drapey. Feel free to rough your swatch up… really wash it a few times and scrunch it about… this way you may get a better idea what it'll be like long down the road.
    Holler if you have any other questions! Hope you enjoy the pattern.
    Laura

  23. purl bee says:

    Hi Anne,
    I appreciate your kind words!
    Yes. I would go with the Size 39 if you have a 36-inch bust.
    That is only 3 inches or ease and should not gape in the back.
    Thanks for writing in. I hope you enjoy the pattern.
    Best,
    Laura

  24. Liz says:

    Hi Laura,

    Such a gorgeous pattern!
    I'm a 38 bust and can't decide between the size 39 (will it be too little ease?) or size 43 (too much ease?). What would you recommend?

    Thanks,
    Liz

  25. purl bee says:

    Hi Liz.
    It just depends on how you'd like it to fit. The mannequin has a 34 inch bust and is wearing the Size 35. The linen will definitely relax and soften over time, not necessarily stretching out, but increasing in drape. I think I would go with the Size 39. That said… if you are thinking of wearing another shirt under it…. maybe the 43 is best.
    Let me know if you have any other questions.
    Best,
    Laura

  26. Caroline says:

    Hi! How are the edges at the shoulders finished? Meaning the little corners where the backs meet before the armholes. Thank you, Caroline

  27. purl bee says:

    Hi Caroline.
    Thanks for writing in.
    You can read under the FINISH section of the pattern about how the armholes are finished. In finishing the armholes, first you pick up stitches around the entire armhole, going through both back edges grafting them together. Then you bind off. The corner that meets the bottom of the armhole will be tacked down and secured in place during this process.
    Please let me know if you have any questions about this (or anything else).
    Best,
    Laura

  28. Lola says:

    This is such a lovely top, next time i'm in new york i am definitely swinging by for some yarn.

  29. Hanna says:

    Hi Laura,

    I love this sweater – thank you so much for writing and posting it for free!

    This is perhaps a complicated question, but on the off chance it isn't, I thought I would ask. I would love to make this more of a scoop neck/back, is there a simple way to do that?

    Thanks!
    Hannah

  30. Anne says:

    I am on row 3 and I am stuck already. I am good with thw wrap and turn but was i supposed to change all my stitches over to the smaller needle before starting the row? I purled to the 2nd marker, did the wrap and turn and now I have the remaining stitches on the size 5 needle. How do I knit back? Can I move on somehow without having to tink 200 plus stitches?! Help!

  31. purl bee says:

    Hi Hanna…
    Unfortunately there is not quick way to explain how to change the neckline. I will keep your request in mind though and try to get a scoopneck project on the calendar!

    I'm sorry we don't have the resources to re-work this pattern at them moment. Thank you for writing in.
    Laura

  32. purl bee says:

    Hi Anne.
    You definitely do not have to tink 200 stitches!

    You can simple slip the stitches from one needle to the other rather than knitting or purling them from one needle to the other.

    If you have the wrong side facing, and you have purled to the 2nd marker with the smaller needle and those purled stitches are all on your right hand needle… take the end of your right hand needle (the so far, un-used tip of the smaller needle) and use it to slip the stitches off the larger left hand needle, starting at the far far left of your working row, slipping the stitches on to the smaller needle until all of your stitches are on the smaller needle and the larger needle is empty.
    Is this clear? It's a bit hard to explain.
    Please write me back with questions!
    Laura

  33. Tracy says:

    Hi Laura,

    If I wanted to make this size 35 with the Tosh Merino Light, how many skeins would I need? Thank you,

    Tracy

  34. purl bee says:

    Hi Tracy,
    The Size 35 requires approximately 740 yards which would come out to 2 skeins of Tosh Merino Light.
    Thanks for writing in Tracy. I love the idea of this in a beautiful wool like Tosh Merino Light!
    Laura

  35. Pingback: Have a refreshing weekend. | Zucchini Soup

  36. Sarah says:

    Hi!

    I love this pattern, but I think it’s a bit long for me. How would one go about making it a bit shorter (2 inches, ideally)? I’m making size 35 and I’d like it to be 21 inches from shoulder to hem/12 inches from underarm to hem.

    Thanks!

    • Laura from the Purl Bee says:

      Hi Sarah,
      Thanks for writing in.

      To shorten the top approximately 2 inches… you’ll want to work fewer short rows. So to begin you’ll…
      With the larger circular needle, cast on 92 stitches, place marker (pm), cast on 95 (131, 167, 203, 239) stitches, pm, cast on 98 stitches. [279 (315, 351, 387, 423) total stitches]

      Then, work remainder of pattern as instructed.
      Please let me know if you have any questions!
      Laura

      • Anna says:

        Could you use a similar change to make it a couple inches longer?

        So it would be: cast on 104 pm, 71 (107, 143) pm, 104?

        • Laura from the Purl Bee says:

          Hi Anna.
          YES! You definitely could. It would be…

          With the larger circular needle, cast on 104 stitches, place marker (pm), cast on 71 (107, 143, 179, 215) stitches, pm, cast on 104 stitches. [279 (315, 351, 387, 423) total stitches]

          Let me know if you have any questions! Thanks for writing in.
          Laura

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