F How to Turn your Favorite Sweater into a Tank Top

How to Turn your Favorite Sweater into a Tank Top

Posted on August 06 2018

How to Turn your Favorite Sweater into a Tank Top

Do you have that one sweater that you reach for perhaps a little more than the rest? Did you ever wish you didn't need to put it in hibernation for the summer? Well, I've been there! Being in Newfoundland I can't say that anything really goes into a full hibernation, however for a few weeks out of the year the humidity is high enough that even my skin feels like it's too much to have on LOL

One of my all time favorite sweaters is Folded by Veera Valimaki. I love boxy and loose fitting sweaters. I'm not one to wear any kind of clothing that is restricting. Even my pants need an elastic waist these days LOL and Veera Valimaki's Folded sweater has that loose fit but with a beautiful detail that just makes it so special I can't help reach for it all the time.

I've been a fan of Veera's designs for quite some time now and the funny thing is I've actually skipped past this little gem of a sweater quite a few times before I knit it. If you look it up on Ravelry you can't really see the little detail on it perhaps because it's knit in a darker color. If you look at the projects however, you'll see the BEAUTIFUL little pleats that take it from ordinary to extraordinary!!

So I've decided that I need a summer top INSPIRED by this sweater. I can't say that I'm knitting the sweater and just eliminating the sleeves because it's actually required me to rewrite the whole pattern. So, I decided to use Cheval Blanc's Ambre in 030 which is a fingering weight yarn made with 70% bamboo and 30% mercerized cotton. An absolutely gorgeous yarn and perfect for warm weather. After knitting up most of the body portion I can tell already that this is going to drape beautifully. Now, if you weren't interested in a tank top, you could just knit the pattern as is but in a summer weight yarn. That would be beautiful as well!! I'll be knitting Folded using Biscotte's Bis-sock following Veera's pattern as a transition to fall sweater in the next few weeks.

 In the pattern it calls for a little waist shaping. I, of course, left that part out. So all I had to do before the reinventing started was knit in the round until reaching the portion of the pattern where separating for the sleeves. This would have been so much easier if the sleeves were set in; you could probably have made it with a few small adjustments and just eliminated adding on the sleeves. However, this isn't the case and I was pretty much on my own for the top portion, except for the pleats.

Here's what I did to make my adorable little tank and this is where I spent most of my time knitting it up! Nice office hey??

Whatever number of stitches you have for your sweater, place your side marker so that there are 24 stitches more for the front than there are for the back. It will even out after when the pleats are done because they take up those extra 24 stitches.   

For example, my sweater is knit in the round with a total of 208 stitches. I kept 116 stitches for the front portion and 92 stitches for the back. I knit my sweater in the round without any waist shaping until around 14 1/2 inches in length. When I reached that point I binded off 3 stitches before my BOR marker and 3 stitches after my BOR marker (removing the marker). I knit across the front and binded off 3 stitches before my side marker and 3 stitches after my side marker (removing the marker) continuing to knit across the back. Now there are 110 stitches for the front, which we will now put on scrap yarn, and 86 stitches for the back. 

With the front stitches on hold, I knit back and forth with the back and no longer in the round. Now we're ready for a wrong side row. The directions are as follows:

Row 1: (WS) Slip the first stitch as if to purl, purl across the row.

Dec Row 1: (RS) Slip the first stitch as if to purl, knit 1, SSK (slip, slip, knit), knit to last 4 stitches, K2TOG (knit 2 together), knit 2.

Row 2: (WS) Slip one stitch as if to purl, purl across row.

What I did next required a little math. I wanted my straps to be around 2 inches wide and the back neckline to be around 6 inches wide. So, I knew I needed to decrease 24 stitches altogether to get my back piece to the appropriate width.

Repeat Dec Row 1 and the following Row 2 until there are 62 stitches left and continue to knit until the armhole measures around 6 1/2 inches in length. When I reached the required length, I then binded off 30 stitches for the back neckline. I had 16 stitches left for both straps which in the end I will actually only need 14 stitches for each side to give me the desired 2" strap width, but decreasing 2 stitches on each strap along the back neckline portion will soften the line.

With the back right strap stitches on hold, the back left strap is ready to be worked on the right side as follows:

Dec Row 1: (RS) Slip the first stitch as if to purl, SSK, knit to end.

Row 2: (WS) Slip the first stitch as if to purl, purl to end.

Repeat Dec Row 1 and the following Row 2 once more. 14 stitches remaining.

Row 1: (RS) Slip the fist stitch as if to purl, knit to end.

Row 2: (WS) Slip the first stitch as if to purl, purl to end.

Repeat Row 1 and Row 2 until the armhole length reaches around 8" long.

Put the back left strap stitches on hold and work the back right side as follows:

Dec Row 1: (RS) Slip the first stitch as if to purl, join yarn, knit to last 3 stitches, K2TOG, K1.

Row 2: (WS) Slip the first stitch as if to purl, purl to end.

Repeat Dec Row 1 and the following Row 2 one more time. 14 stitches remaining. As for the left strap work Row 1 and Row 2 until the armhole length reaches 8" long. Put the 14 stitches on hold and we're ready to work on the front!

Here's the back of the tank and you can see how nice the edge looks just by slipping the first stitch of every row.

I worked the front very close to how I worked the back with just a few modifications. After putting the 110 stitches back on your needles, you should be ready for a wrong side row.

Row 1: (WS) Slip the first stitch as if to purl, purl 30, place marker, purl 48, place marker, purl the remaining 31 stitches. Markers are in place for the front pleats.

Dec Row 1: (RS) Slip the first stitch as if to purl, K1, SSK, knit to last 4 stitches, K2TOG, K2. (slipping markers along the way)

Row 2: (WS) Slip the first stitch as if to purl, purl to end.

Repeat Dec Row 1 and the following Row 2 twice more. (6 stitches decreased). Ready for a right side row, work the pleats row as follows:

Slip the first stitch as if to purl, K1, SSK, knit to marker, remove marker, place the next 2 stitches on a double pointed needle of the same size, place the next 2 stitches on another double pointed needle and the next 2 stitches on a third double pointed needle. Carefully keep the three needles in order at first so that they can be properly placed to ensure the pleats will fall correctly. The first DPN will be on top with the right side facing, the second WITH WRONG FACING THE FIRST NEEDLE, and the third will be at the bottom with the right side facing. With the three needles lined up properly, knit the first 3 stitches together and then repeat for the next 3 stitches, K2. Repeat these instructions 2 times more. (Left Leaning Pleats)

For the next 3 pleats the needles will be lined up different so that the pleats will fall in the opposite direction as the first 3 pleats. Place the next 2 stitches on a double pointed needle, place the next 2 stitches on another double pointed needle and the next 2 stitches on a third double pointed needle. Arranging the needles this time is a little trickier. The LAST double pointed needle will be on top with the right side facing, the second double pointed needle WITH THE WRONG SIDE FACING THE FIRST NEEDLE, and then the first needle at the bottom with the right side facing. With the three needles lined up properly, knit the first 3 stitches together and then repeat for the next 3 stitches, K2. Repeat these instructions 2 times more, knit to last 4 stitches, K2TOG, K2. (Right Leaning Pleats)

The pleats are complete and at this point 8 stitches have been decreased along the armhole edge so far (24 stitches were decreased for the pleats). Work a wrong side row as normal and then continue to follow the established pattern for decreasing stitches along the armhole and decrease a total of 14 stitches more. 64 stitches remaining. Continue to knit slipping the first stitch of every row until the armhole reaches 6 1/2 inches in length.

Ready for a right side row, follow the directions as follows for the neckline and straps:

Row 1: (RS) Slip the first stitch as if to purl, knit 15, bind off 32 stitches, slip the next stitch as if to purl, SSK, knit to end. (15 stitches remain on right front strap and 16 stitches on hold for the left front strap)

Row 2: (WS) Slip the first stitch as if to purl, purl to end of strap.

Dec Row 1: (RS) Slip the first stitch as if to purl, SSK, knit to end. 

14 stitches remain for the strap. Continue until the armhole is approximately 8 inches in length. (Be sure to slip the first stitch of every row.) Place stitches on hold.

 

Ready for the left front strap on the wrong side, purl to end.

Dec Row 1: (RS) Slip the first stitch as if to purl, knit to last 3 stitches, K2TOG, K1.

Row 2: (WS) Slip the first stitch as if to purl, purl to end.

Repeat Dec Row 1 and the following Row 2 once more, 14 stitches remain. Continue until the armhole is approximately 8 inches in length. (Be sure to slip the first stitch of every row.)

To bind off the strap stitches, place the right sides together and use the 3 needle bind off method. This makes for nice clean seam at the shoulder.

If you're happy with how your tank looks, you can certainly stop here. Slipping the first stitch of every row will leave you with a nice selvedge edge as is. However I chose to evenly pick up and knit one round of the neckline and then cast off by knitting through the back loops. This made the neckline look more polished. As for the armholes, I picked up stitches evenly around and cast off by knitting through the back loops, without knitting that one round as I did for the neckline.

Here she is blocked and ready to wear! You can see how the pleats lean in towards each other; so easy to do but really adds just the right amount of detail to an otherwise plain tank. Also as I mention in the video below, you can see how casting off through the back loops creates that little roll on the neckline and how it has a braided look to it. I'm really proud of this project I have to say!!

Here's a little video on how to cast off by knitting through the back loops:

I'm extremely happy with the turnout! Remember that this is just a guideline as to how I created my tank top. I made a size small using fingering weight yarn and cast on a total of 208 stitches. All you would need to do is figure out how many initial stitches you need to make your size, and I feel like you could follow this outline and make this summer top without complications. Just keep in mind that you may need to add length in the body and in the armholes as well.

So here she is ladies and gents!! My first attempt at creating a tank top! I really admire all the designers out there who create so many beautiful patterns. I took this tank top literally one row at a time and figured it out as I went along. But the work that must go into creating a pattern and having all sizes available is absolutely incredible. Let me know your thoughts on my little creation and if you try it out I'd love to hear how it turned out for you!!

 

Happy knitting!!

 


 

 

 

 

  

Andrea Yetman

Hi! My name is Andrea Yetman and I live in Newfoundland. I have a Husband, 3 children, 1 step child, a puppy and a really cool knitting room where I spend most of my time! I learned how to knit and crochet as a child and now I'm a 40 (gulp) year old knitting addict. If I'm not knitting or thinking about knitting, I'm thinking about how I can smuggle more yarn into the house without being seen. I hope you enjoy my blog posts and feel free to pop by anytime!

1 comment

  • Bev Grabe: August 10, 2018

    Love the look of the final product. I’ll be earmarking this info for sure.

    B.

Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing

Recent Posts