Introducing: The Perfect Knit T-Shirt — Free Knitting Pattern
This beginner friendly knitting pattern is worked in the round from the top, down. Both fun to make and wear, this top is designed to be the perfect, everyday knit t-shirt!
Available both as a free knitting pattern and as a kit with Lion Brand Yarn. Scroll down to access the free pattern or continue reading to learn a bit about the design and some pointers to help you out!
Also check out the coordinating crochet pattern, the Perfect Crochet T-Shirt!
**please note, some links may be affiliate links which will allow me to make a small commission on products purchased through my referral. This does not influence my opinion or the price of the item that you are purchasing in any way.
It seems like I am always searching for the perfect, everyday tee. Very rarely do I come across one that is just ~perfect~ and when I do, I buy a handful!
In my mind, a perfect t-shirt needs to have a good neckline. I prefer crewneck but not a tight crewneck.
I also want it to be well fitting. I find that around 4″ of positive ease looks best on my body and gives that fitted but not tight look.
Finally, it NEEDS to be comfortable. Most importantly, the fabric has to be soft and cool with nice drape. I knew I needed to use this yarn from Lion Brand!
The Knitting Pattern
Another thing I was certain about when designing this pattern is that I wanted it to be fun and easy to make! Summer is an easygoing time for relaxing and I wanted this pattern to be one that was enjoyable to make for this time of year.
This pattern is worked primarily in-the-round from the top, down. At the beginning, you will work a couple rows flat to shape the front neckline so that it sits a bit lower than the back neckline. Then, you will join to work in the round and shape the shoulders, body, and sleeves.
If you’ve never knit a top-down, raglan style sweater, check out my Sunday Morning Rib Stitch Sweater Pattern! Its a beginner pattern with tons of photos to help walk you through the process.
Yarn and Materials
The yarn I chose for this sweater is Lion Brand Coboo. This is my number one favorite yarn of all time. Its a true DK weight and is made of 50% bamboo and 50% cotton. These natural materials make a yarn that is breathable, cool, and amazingly soft.
If you are interested in using this exact yarn, you might want to check out the knit kit which contains all the yarn needed to make this top and a free copy of the pattern!
I will note that this yarn is plied and has a tendency to ‘split’ between your needles. I personally don’t find this to be an issue but if this is something that bothers you I have some great yarn substitutions listed below.
Some other yarns that I recommend for this knit t-shirt are:
- Truboo from Lion Brand: a 100% bamboo yarn similar to Coboo but without the cotton! This yarn is a bit shinier and silkier than Coboo.
- Comfy Cotton Blend: another favorite, this yarn is an acrylic cotton blend that I’ve used and loved many times!
- Cotton Jeans Yarn: this cotton yarn looks just like denim when knit up!
- CotLin from KnitPicks: this yarn is a cotton, linen blend so its very cooling and perfect for warm weather. Its not quite as soft as some of the others but I still love it because it has that high-end linen feel
- Swish DK: a 100% merino wool yarn, perfect if you don’t want to use cotton but still prefer to use natural fibers! Just note, this yarn is wool so its a bit warmer than the other options.
- Comfy Worsted: this yarn is labeled as a worsted weight but I strongly think that it is more of a DK weight. I am always impressed with this yarn and how unbelievable soft it is! Also check out Comfy Color Mist, the same yarn just with speckled colors instead of solids.
Perfect T-Shirt Knitting Pattern
© ORIGINALLY LOVELY 2022
This pattern and photographs of this garment are property of Kaitlin Barthold of Originally Lovely. This pattern, photos, and design are subject to copyright and are for personal use only. All commercial use is strictly prohibited. You may not reproduce or distribute this pattern under any circumstances.
The free version of this pattern must be viewed from the webpage.
In this pattern, you will need to know how to knit flat and in the round, increase, and pick up stitches. The neckline, sleeve cuffs, and hem are all finished using an I-Cord Bind Off.
Find help with this bind of method here: https://youtu.be/xZvfXSQaF-8
3, (4, 4, 5, 5), (6, 6, 7, 8) skeins / 696, (928, 928, 1160, 1160), (1392, 1392, 1624, 1624) yards Lion Brand Coboo Yarn (shown in White)
Size US 6 (4.0 mm) 32” circular knitting needles
Stitch holder or scrap yarn
Tapestry Needle to weave in ends
This raglan style t-shirt is worked from the top, down. After the first few rounds are worked flat to shape the front neckline, this t-shirt will be worked in the round.
XS, (S, M, L, XL), (2X, 3X, 4X, 5X)
Perfect T-Shirt knitting pattern is written for smallest size with changes for larger sizes in parenthesis. When only one number is given, it applies to all sizes. To keep track of your size, you may highlight or circle all numbers for your chosen size before you begin.
Help Choosing Size
This top is designed to be worn with 0-4” of positive ease at the bust. Model is 6′ tall, has a 33” bust, and is wearing a size small with 3” of positive ease. For best fit, choose a size that is 0-4” larger than your corresponding bust measurement.
22 stitches and 28 rows = 4” in stockinette stitch
This pattern is written using U.S. English Terminology
BO = bind off
CO = cast on
K = knit
M = stitch marker
M1L = make one left. Pick up the bar between the stitch you just knit and the one you are about to knit with your left needle from front to back, knit through the back.
M1R = make one right. Pick up the bar between the stitch you just knit and the one you are about to knit with your left needle from back to front, knit through the front.
PM = place stitch marker
RS = right side
SM = slip stitch marker
SSK = slip slip knit (left leaning single decrease)
st = stitch
WS = wrong side
[ ] = work instructions within brackets as many times as directed
* = repeat the instructions following the single asterisk as directed
Perfect Knit T-Shirt Pattern
Cast On 94, (94, 94, 94, 96), (96, 96, 96, 96) stitches.
Set-Up Row: p2, PM, p2, PM, p20, PM, p2, PM, p42 (42, 42, 42, 44) (44, 44, 44, 44), PM, p2, PM p20, PM, p2, PM, p2.
Row 1 (RS): k1, M1L, [k to M, M1R, SM, k2, SM, M1L] 4x, k t o last st, M1R, k1.
Row 2 (WS): purl, slipping Ms as you pass.
Rep rows 1-2 eight more times. Then, repeat row 1 once more.
You will now join the neckline and begin working in the round.
Cast on 18 (18, 18, 18, 20) (20, 20, 20, 20) sts at the end of the row you just worked. Do not turn, with RS facing you and careful not to twist your work, join to work in round. PM to denote beg/end of each rd. [212, (212, 212, 212, 216), (216, 216, 216, 216) sts total].
Round 1: knit, slipping Ms as you pass.
2: [k to M, M1R, SM, k2, SM, M1L] 4x, k t o end of rd.
Repeat rounds 1-2 9, (13, 20, 25, 30), (35, 41, 46, 52) more times. [292, (324, 380, 420, 464), (504, 552, 592, 640) sts total].
Work even (knitting every row) until piece measures 7, (7.5, 8, 9, 10), (11, 12, 13, 13.5)” from original CO edge.
Separate for Body:
You will now separate the sleeves from the body of the tee and begin working the body in the round.
Next round: removing Ms as you pass, k to 1st M, remove M, k1, place next 62, (70, 84, 94, 104), (114, 126, 136, 148) sts on st holder or scrap yarn, CO 6 sts, k next 84, (92, 106, 116, 128), (138, 150, 160, 172) sts, place next 62, (70, 84, 94, 104), (114, 126, 136, 148) sts on to st holder or scrap yarn, CO 6 sts. Continue knitting body sts to join in round. PM to denote beg/end of each round.
You now have your body sts joined in the round and your sleeve sts on scrap yarn. [180, (196, 224, 244, 268), (288, 312, 332, 356) sts total].
Work the body sts even in stockinette stitch until piece measures 13.5, (13.5, 13, 12.5, 11.5), (11, 10, 9.5, 9)” from underarm CO sts.
BO using a 6 stitch I-Cord bind off.
An I-Cord Bind Off gives this simple t-shirt a beautiful finished edge! This is my favorite tutorial for the i-cord bind off:
Using double pointed needles or shorter circular needle, slip the 62, (70, 84, 94, 104), (114, 126, 136, 148) sts set aside for a sleeve onto your needle. Pick up and knit 9 sts at the underarm, k around arm opening even in stst until sleeve measures 1.5”. End the final row at the center of the underarm.
BO using a 6 stitch I-Cord bind off. Repeat for second sleeve.
1: beg at left side of back neckline, pick up and knit 23 sts along left sleeve, 12 sts along left side of front neckline, 19 (19, 19, 19, 21) (21, 21, 21, 21) sts across the center front, 12 sts up the front neckline, 23 sts along right sleeve, and 43 (43, 43, 43, 45) (45, 45, 45, 45) sts along the back center.
BO using a 4 stitch I-Cord bind off.
Weave in all ends to secure.
Block by soaking in warm water and lay flat to dry.
For questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
I’d love to see your finished work! Share on social media using the hashtag #originallylovely or by tagging @originally.lovely and @lionbrandyarn on Instagram!
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this knitting pattern!
You can also check out the crochet version of this pattern, the Perfect Crochet T-Shirt!