Simple Summer Tank Top Knitting Pattern

Introducing: The Simple Summer Tank Top — Free Knitting Pattern

This easy, beginner friendly tank top knitting pattern is worked in the round from the top, down. Unique sleeve and neck detailing create a stylish and modern square neckline.

Square neck knit tank top being worn by model holding an ice cream cone

Available both as a free knitting pattern, a printable PDF on Ravelry or Etsy, and as a kit with Lion Brand Yarn. Scroll down to access the free knitting pattern or continue reading to learn a bit about the design and some pointers to help you out!

**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.

The Design

This simple, square neck tank will be your go-to warm weather top. The unique neckline construction adds interest to an otherwise simple crop top style tank.

This tank top is designed to be slightly cropped but easily customizable to any length. Quick to make, this pattern is perfect for beginners and seasoned knitters alike!

A simple, square neck, crop, tank top knitting pattern being worn.  Photo emphasizes stitches and neckline detailing

Yarn and Materials

The yarn that I used for this top is Comfy Cotton Blend from Lion Brand Yarn. I have used this yarn in so many other designs such as the Piper Sweater and the Rainbow Stripe Sweater — it truly is one of my favorites!

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 in your size and a free copy of the pattern!

If you want to substitute for a different yarn, I have some of my favorites listed below. Any worsted weight yarn that meets the gauge will be a great substitute! I will note that online Comfy Cotton Blend is listed as a DK weight but I ~strongly~ feel like it works better as a worsted weight!

simple summer tank top knitting pattern worn on woman standing to the side holding ice cream cone

Yarn Substitutions

Some other yarns that I recommend for this tank top are:

  • Lion Brand Pima Cotton: I was super excited when Lion Brand released this pima cotton yarn — I LOVE pima cotton. Its just like regular cotton but softer and a tiny bit silky without too much shine
  • LB Collection Mako Cotton: This yarn is amazing, I didn’t even know cotton could be this soft. Its definitely the most luxurious cotton yarn I know of. It has a chain style construction so it won’t split between your needles and it a bit fluffier if you like that look!
  • LB Collection Cotton Jeans: This yarn has a jean-type appearance and I think would make the cutest top! Now that I think of it, I actually might have to make another top in this yarn… ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Comfy Worsted and Comfy Color Mist from KnitPicks: These two yarns are right behind Mako Cotton as the most luxurious cotton I know of. The classic comfy worsted is a line of solid colors and color mist version is the speckled version!
  • CotLin from KnitPicks: This yarn has a bit of linen so its extra cooling and airy! Its listed as a DK weight but I definitely consider it a worsted!

Just remember when substituting yarn in a pattern to be sure to gauge swatch to assure a proper fit!

back image of square neck tank top knitting pattern, showing how the neckline is still square and lower at the back

Simple Summer Tank Top Knitting Pattern

ยฉ ORIGINALLY LOVELY 2021

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.

Shop the kit with Lion Brand Yarn HERE

To purchase an ad-free, printable PDF of the Simple Summer Tank Top on Ravelry, CLICK HERE

To purchase an ad-free, printable PDF of the Simple Summer Tank Top on Etsy, CLICK HERE

woman wearing a knit tank top that is brown with a square neck and detailing at the top

Skill Level

Easy +

In this knitting pattern, you will need to know how to cast on, knit in the round, knit flat, work increases and decreases, and bind off.

Materials

1, (1, 1, 1, 2), (2, 2, 2, 2) skeins / approx 275, (325, 350, 390, 425), (475, 500, 550, 550) yards Lion Brand Comfy Cotton Blend (shown in Mochaccino)

Size US 7 (4.5 mm) circular knitting needles (for ribbing)

Side US 8 (5.0 mm) circular knitting needles (for body)

Stitch Markers

Tapestry Needle to weave in ends

woman wearing a knit crop top smiling at the camera in the summer

Notes

  • This tank top is constructed from the top, down. First, you will shape the neckline and straps. Then, you will separate to increase more at the front and back body panels. Finally, you will join the body panels to work the body of the top in the round.
  • The ribbing in this pattern will be done in half twisted rib. This means, each knit stitch in the rib stitch will be worked through the back loop for a twisted look. If you prefer to use regular rib stitch, just work these knit stitches as normal.
  • When directed to work โ€˜in pattโ€™ this means to continue the half twisted rib stitch pattern as established, working each knit stitch tbl and purling each purl stitch.

Finished Dimensions

XSSMLXL2X3X4X5X
Bust/Chest Circumference283236404448525660
Finished Width141618202224262830
Armhole Depth78991010111114
Finished Length19202020.520.5212121.521.5
Measurements are finished top dimensions and are given in inches

XS, (S, M, L, XL), (2X, 3X, 4X, 5X)

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 tank top is designed to be worn with 0-4โ€ of negative ease. Model is 6โ€™ tall, has a 33โ€ bust, and is wearing a size Small with 1โ€ of negative ease. For best fit, choose a size that is closest to 0-4โ€ smaller than your corresponding bust measurement. For example, if your bust is 50โ€, you would wear a size 2X. If you prefer your garments to fit looser or more snug, choose a size with less or more ease accordingly.

Gauge

18 sts and 24 rows = 4โ€ in stockinette stitch on size 8 needles

back image of the tank top crop top with arm up in the air so you can see the neckline and body join

Abbreviations

This pattern is written using U.S. English Terminology.

BO = bind off

CO = cast on

K = knit

K1tbl = knit 1 through the back loop

M = stitch marker

M1L = make 1 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.

M1LP = make one left purl. 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, then purl through the back loop of the strand.

M1R = make 1 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.

M1RP = make one right purl. 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, then purl through the front loop of the strand.

P = purl

Patt = pattern

PM = place stitch marker

Rd = round

RS = right side, you will be working a RS row when the outside of your work (right side) is facing

SM = slip stitch marker

st = stitch

Stst = stockinette stitch

WS = wrong side, you will be working a WS row when the inside of your work (wrong side) is facing you

[ ] = work instructions within brackets as many times as directed

  • = repeat the instructions following the single asterisk as directed
front detail image of the summer knit crop top knitting pattern on model

Simple Summer Tank Top Knitting Pattern

Cast on 184, (196, 216, 196, 204), (184, 204, 184, 220) sts using long tail cast on using size 7 needles. Join to work in round.

Set Up Round: * [k1tbl, p1] 20 (22, 25, 25, 27) (27, 30, 30, 31) times, PM, [k1tbl, p1] 26 (27, 29, 24, 24) (19, 21, 16, 24) times, PM. Rep from * once more, final M placed will denote beg/end of each rd.

Round 1: * [k1tbl, p1] to M, M1R, SM, k1tbl, M1L, p1. Rep from * three more times, working final k1tbl, M1L, p1 with first sts of next rd. [192, (204, 224, 204, 212), (192, 212, 192, 228) sts].

2: work in patt to end of rd.

3: * work in patt to M, M1RP, SM, k1tbl, M1LP. Rep from * to end of rd, working final k1tbl, M1LP, with first sts of next rd. [200, (212, 232, 212, 220), (200, 220, 200, 236) sts].

4: work in patt even to end of rd.

5-8: Rep rounds 1-4 once more. [216, (228, 248, 228, 236), (216, 236, 216, 252) sts].

Separate Sleeves and Body

On the next round, switch to size 8 needles and remove stitch markers as you pass them.

9: * k 49 (53, 59, 59, 63) (63, 69, 69, 71), BO next 59 (61, 65, 55, 55) (45, 49, 39, 55) sts in rib st. Rep from * once more.

closeup image of the tank top knitting pattern showing stitches and twisted rib accent on the neckline

Body Panels:

You will now work back and forth across the next 49, (53, 59, 59, 63), (63, 69, 69, 71) sts on your needles to shape the first body panel.

10 (RS): k2, M1L, k to last 2, M1R, k2. [51, (55, 61, 61, 65), (65, 71, 71, 73) sts].

11 (WS): purl.

Repeat rows 10-11 3, (5, 7, 10, 13), (17, 18, 22, 25) more times. [57, (65, 75, 81, 91), (99, 107, 115, 123) sts]. Break yarn and set aside.

Repeat for second body panel beginning with RS facing you.

Body:

You will now join the two body pieces together to work in the round.

K 57 (65, 75, 81, 91) (99, 107, 115, 123) sts for body panel just worked, CO 7 (7, 7, 9, 9) (9, 11, 11, 11) sts for underarm, k 57 (65, 75, 81, 91) (99, 107, 115, 123) sts for second body panel, CO 7 (7, 7, 9, 9) (9, 11, 11, 11) sts for other underarm, Join to work in round. [128, (144, 164, 200), (216, 236, 252, 268) sts].

PM to denote beg/end of each round. Work 11, (11, 10, 10.5, 9.5), (10, 9, 9.5, 6.5)โ€ even in stst.
On the next rd, switch to size 7 needles. Knit 1 round. Work 1โ€ in [k1tbl, p1] half twisted rib st.
BO in rib st.

Finishing:

Weave in all ends. Block by soaking in warm water and lay flat to dry.
Enjoy!

For questions, please email kaitlin@originallylovely.com

Iโ€™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!

If you are looking for other warm weather knitting patterns, check out the Perfect Knit T-Shirt, the Aria Sweater, or the Piper Sweater!

side image of model wearing the tank top with her arm to the side so you can see the increases at the underarm for shaping.

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13 Comments

    1. I do! It might be a bit more thin and airy because Coboo is more of a DK weight but it would definitely work if you can match gauge!

  1. Hi Kaitlin.
    I love the pattern but Iโ€™m puzzled with the numbers of stitches how come medium sizes use 216 st and the 3X 204. Is this an errata?
    Thanks for your help

    1. Hi Elena!

      This is not an errata. Different sizes increase at different amounts based on the body measurement. For example, bust/chest circumference and armhole depth do not increase at the same rate. Necklines also do not increase at the same rate.. as sizes go up necklines must go up less than chest measurement etc. To account for this and the way the neckline increases are set up, its a bit of a balancing act to get a proper fit between different sizes. If 3X were to be increased evenly in all areas, the neck, sleeves, armhole depth, and length would be WAY oversized.

      Neckline stitches between sizes are marginally different and this partially has to do with how many stitches are dedicated to the front and back sizes or the sleeves. Too many stitches at the sleeves and it would be too long, too many stitches at the front and back and the sleeves would be too wide. Since each size has a different sleeve and front/back size and stitch count, this also has to be a balancing act. Each size is calculated independently using body measurement standards and based on the size chart listed for this design noted at the beginning of the pattern.

      Hope that helps answer your questions ๐Ÿ™‚
      Kaitlin

  2. Hi Kaitlin.
    I bought the kit an came with 16โ€ circular, I feel they are extremely small for the amount of stitches needed, any special reason for that size or I can use 24โ€ to accommodate them so my job is less cumbersome
    Thank you

    1. Hi Elena! You can definitely use 24โ€! Im thinking this may have just been the length they had in stock. Iโ€™ll reach out to them and mention this ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Hi Kaitlin – thanks so much for this pattern. It’s really great and I’m enjoying it. I do have a question. I’m now to the body panel and the CO for the underarms – is there a preferred CO – backwards loop or other? Thanks for your help.

    1. I always do backwards loop! I love how simple and quick this cast on is but I will note that the reasons I love it are also the reasons some people hate it! Another great option would be the ‘chain edge cast on’. This one will provide a bit more structure and a nice chain-edge if you prefer that!

  4. Hi. Iโ€™ve started and stopped this a few times because I canโ€™t get the corners right. When Iโ€™m knitting in pattern after the increases, do I purl into the M1PR and M1PL stitches?

    1. Hi! Yes, these increases are ‘purl increases’ so on the next round these stitches will be purls! This way you can maintain the rib stitch pattern

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