Sunday, August 3, 2008

Tunic Tank Pattern

Here it is, …the tunic pattern. I made it up as I went. It is very basic, and an easy one to follow, as it really doesn’t need a lot of directions. I used yarn that I recycled from 2 sleeveless shells bought on sale. The 100% cotton yarn was in the sock weight category. It was a little loose, about 3 or 4 ply, with very little twist. I used large needles to create a very drapey and open fabric. As I got to the armhole area, I switched to smaller needles to close up the stitches and firm up the fabric, as well as make the pattern smaller without decreasing a lot of stitches. It creates a gentle gathering and a nicer fit over the bustline.

This pattern is not for commercial purposes, and is protected by copyright.

Needles: sizes 11 and 8 (US) circulars
Yarn: about 1000 yards sock weight
Stitch holder
Stitch markers for both needle sizes
Gauge: 6 stitches to the inch with #8 needles, but this is really not too critical as the garment is meant to be loosely fitted, it is only included to give a better representation of the yarn.Directions: Front and back are knit exactly the same. Entire garment is knit in stockinette stitch.
With #11 needles, CO 100 stitches. Continue with stockinette stitch for 13”. Slip these stitches to a holder. Set aside and begin the back.
With #11 needles, CO 100 stitches. Continue with stockinette stitch for 13”.

Pick up the front, placing stitch markers at both side seams, and knit front and back together in the round. Use stockinette stitch until it is as long as you want it, finishing your row at the sideseam join. Hold it under your armpit to judge this. My tunic measures about 8”. Pay attention to the depth of the armhole (that is, do you want to wear a cami under this and have a deep armhole, …or do you want to be able to wear this on its own and have a closer fit?)

When it is the length you desire, begin the armhole shaping for front and back: BO 3 stitches, continue across “front,” BO last 3 stitches, purl next row, BO 2 stitches and knit across back, BO last 2 stitches. (88 sts each side) Purl row. On following knit row, decrease I st at each side. Purl wrong side row. (86 sts)
Switching to #8 needles, Knitting across right side, begin deceasing. Use stitch markers if needed. Finding the center front (or back), divide up into groups of 10 stitches, with odd stitches at each edge. (13, 10, 10, 10 (center) 10, 10, 10, 13)

Knit right side rows:
K 11, ssk, * k8, ssk, * 3 times, * k2tog, k8 * 3 times, k2tog, k11. Purl row wrong side.
K 10, ssk, * k7, ssk, * 3 times, * k2tog, k7 * 3 times, k2tog, k10. Purl row wrong side.
K 9, ssk, * k6, ssk, * 3 times, * k2tog, k6 * 3 times, k2tog, k9.

Purl wrong side row.
K 8, ssk, * k5, ssk, * 3 times, * k2tog, k5 * 3 times, k2tog, k8.
Purl row wrong side.
K 7, ssk, * k4, ssk, * 3 times, * k2tog, k4 * 3 times, k2tog, k7.
Purl row wrong side. (52 sts)

At this point, we are ready for the neck edge!

Neckline shaping (same for both front and back): The following rows are stockinette, and at this point, it is time to begin the neckline shaping. Again, find the center of your row.

Knit 21 sts, BO 10 sts, k21. Purl wrong side. Left side: Knit 1, ssk, k19. Purl. K 1, ssk, k18. Purl. Continue in this way, decreasing at neck edge for 13 rows. (8 sts left)
Right side:
Knit 1, k2 tog, k19. Purl. K 1, k2 tof, k18. Purl. Continue in this way, decreasing at neck edge for 13 rows. (8 sts left)Continue to knit and purl until you reach the proper length for your armhole depth, BO. (I did 12 more rows.) Repeat for opposite side.

Sew shoulder seams. Pick up stitches around the armhole and neckline, doing 2 rows of knit stitches to neaten and firm the shaping.


  1. Mardi, your tunic tank is really nice! Great job!
    Lorrie at

  2. Oh, oh--I love it. I live in Florida, love to make sweaters and this looks like it will work for me. Lots of flowing loose comfort to hide the belly/hips, too!
    Thank you so much for sharing.

  3. An absolutely perfect tunic to hang out - while in combination with white or black dressy jeans or slacks it will hold its own as an eye-catcher evening wear!

  4. I love your tunic and it is cold as heck out, but I am going to make it right away. It is perfect for me. Flowing and comfortable. Just my style. Thank You for sharing. Yipee.
    Tracy Olson
    Washington State

  5. Hi Mardi, I love you! You make up your patterns as you go and find yarns wherever. So do I!

  6. Hi Mardi,

    I am hoping you see my post. Just love this tank & think it would be great in a thicker yarn too to wear over turtlenecks in winter. Here's my question, do you divide for front & back when you get to the armhole shaping? or do you work front and back at same time keeping it on the circular needle which I haven't attempted before.

    I also live in hot Arizona so this tank is just perfect for most of the year!

  7. I hope everyone chooses to check back or has a forward to follow up comments here, as I have yet to figure out how to return a comment! Duh! Anyway, the tunic was on circs, then split as I came to the armholes, and usually, I just knit one side and then the other. (Front and back in this case) Sometimes, if I remember, I will try to work each side up a few rows then do the other to keep some semblance of symmetry, or delay madness, or whatever.

  8. Thanks a lot Mardi for the clarification & quick reply!

  9. I'm so glad I just checked these comments as I was going to crochet the top because I couldn't figure out where to go once I reached the armhole area! I'm a new knitter and used Paton's silk bamboo and it drapes so nice I didn't want to give up!

  10. Hope you see this HippyYarnFan. Bamboo does have a heavenly drape, and this will be wonderful in bamboo. I hope you are on Ravelry and post a photo there so I can get to see the finished garment.

  11. Yes, I'm on Rav! That's how I found you!
    I'm new knitter and this was a monumental undertaking for me. I had no idea even of the difference of stockinette and garter when I started it! DUH me!
    I had to tink a couple of rows but I've split it now and working the rest. I'll post when I'm done! Thanks again!

  12. HELP again! I'm at the neckline shaping and totally lost. I've done the K21 and BO 10 k21. Purled the st on this side of BO. Now st on left needle with BO gap. Am I supposed to transfer the st? So lost...:(

  13. Hi Mardi, thanks for this beautiful tunic, it is just what I wanted. I have the perfect thread/yarn that I have been saving for just the right pattern.
    I am starting it today.
    You look great in it also.

  14. I just found your site! Love that tunic top; loose and airy. I just might have to give this one a shot.

  15. Thank you for sharing the beautiful tunic pattern. Can't wait to start knitting it. :-)

    1. You are very welcome Naura. I hope you find it as wearable as I have found mine. Even though it is endless stockinette, it was a great way to practice Continental knitting and I am so glad I learned that skill. It makes stockinette go so much faster.

  16. I NEED to comment on this - simplicity, minimalism, beauty, your design is absolutely wonderful! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks for the compliment! I wear mine a lot, especially as a Lagenlook layer.