Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Free Pattern: Silver Spring Tank

My major goal for this summer was to really embrace summer knitting (cotton! linen! tank tops! tshirts!). This knitted tank is named after the town in Maryland where I stayed while doing archival research in early June. I was pretty exhausted each evening so it also ended up being where I did most of the knitting for this piece.

I had a specific set of characteristics I was looking for in a summer tank top, namely: worsted weight cotton yarn, slightly cropped, high neck. 

This tank top knits up quickly. The yarn used here is Rowan Yarns Cotton Jeans in "Canvas." This particular yarn has been discontinued but any worsted weight cotton will do.  

This pattern was last updated on May 14, 2020. If you were working on a previous version of this pattern and need those instructions, you may download that version here

I offer an ad-free printable PDF version of this pattern on Etsy for $2.99. Your purchase helps me to continue to provide free patterns to new knitters. 


Sizes: XS(S, M, L, XL)(2XL, 3XL, 4XL, 5XL) to fit bust measurement of: 28-30(32-34, 36-38, 40-42, 44-46)(48-50, 52-54, 60-62)”

Yarn Requirements: 550-650(650-750, 700-800, 850-950,1000-1100)(1150-1250, 1300-1400,1450-1500)yds of a worsted-weight cotton yarn.

Gauge: 16 sts & 24 rows per 4x4” square in stockinette stitch

Suggested Needles: US 8 (5mm) straight needles

Construction: This top is knit in two flat pieces and seamed together at the sides until the beginning of the seed stitch hem. First stitch of each row is slipped purlwise when not on a seam (hem, armholes). The top is sized to include 0-2” of positive ease, so pick the size that best fits your bust measurement.

CO: cast on
s1pw: slip one purlwise
k2tog: knit two together
ssk: slip slip knit
BO: bind off

-       Slipped stitches
-       Increasing and decreasing
-       3 needle bind-off
-       Mattress stitch


For Front: 
CO 66(74, 78, 90, 98)(106, 114, 122, 130)
Seed Stitch:
Row 1: s1pw, *k1, p1, repeat from *, end k1
Row 2: s1pw, *p1, k1, repeat from *, end p1
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until hem measures 1.5” from cast-on edge. End on Row 2.

Main Body:
Stockinette Stitch:
Row 1: knit
Row 2: purl
Repeat these two rows until piece measures 13” (or desired length) from cast-on edge.

Shape Armholes:
Row 1: BO 2(2, 2, 2, 2)(4, 4, 6, 6) knitwise, knit to end
Row 2: BO 2(2, 2, 2, 2)(4, 4, 6, 6) purlwise, purl to end
(4(4, 4, 4, 4)(8, 8, 12, 12) stitches decreased – 62(70, 74, 86, 94)(98, 106, 110, 118) stitches on needle).

Row 3: s1pw, k1, k2tog, knit to last 4 stitches, ssk, k2
Row 4: s1pw, purl
Repeat Rows 3 and 4 0(1, 1, 7, 9)(11, 13, 15, 17) more times
(2(4, 4, 16, 20)(24, 28, 32, 36) stitches decreased – 60(64, 70, 70, 74)(74, 78, 78, 82) stitches on needle)

Knit in stockinette stitch (knit right side, purl wrong side) and maintain slipped stitch edge (s1pw each row) until piece measures 6.5(7, 7.5, 8, 8.5)(9, 9.5, 10, 10.5)” from armhole bind-off.

For neckline:
Sample shown with a high neckline. Instructions follow for both a high neckline and a lower, square neckline.

For a high neckline:
Row 1: Knit 12(14, 15, 15, 16)(16, 17, 17, 19), BO knitwise until last 12(14, 15, 15, 16)(16, 17, 17, 19) stitches, knit 12(14, 15, 15, 16)(16, 17, 17, 19).

(12(14, 15, 15, 16)(16, 17, 17, 19) stitches for each shoulder, 48(50, 55, 55, 58)(58, 61, 61, 63) stitches bound-off for neck.

Place live shoulder stitches of left and right shoulder on scrap yarn or stitch holders.

For a lower neckline:
Row 1: Knit 12(14, 15, 15, 16)(16, 17, 17, 19), join new ball of yarn, BO until last 12(14, 15, 15, 16)(16, 17, 17, 19) stitches, 12(14, 15, 15, 16)(16, 17, 17, 19) stitches. 

(12(14, 15, 15, 16)(16, 17, 17, 19) stitches for each shoulder, 48(50, 55, 55, 58)(58, 61, 61, 63) stitches bound-off for neck.

For each shoulder strap separately, 
Row 2: s1pw, purl to end.
Row 3: s1pw, knit to end.
Repeat rows 2 and 3 until straps are 1.5” long, or desire length.
Place live shoulder stitches of left and right shoulder on scrap yarn or stitch holders.

For Back:
Follow instructions as for front.

With right sides facing, mattress stitch the two pieces using a vertical seam.I chose to begin seaming after the seed stitch hem.
Using three needle bind off, seam tops of shoulder straps.

Weave in ends, wet or steam block.


  1. For beginners to using cotton it is worth making a swatch and washing it a few times to be on the safe side. Cotton might stretch or lose its shape, so drying flat and mopping up excess water with towels and without creasing the fabric is recommended. I read recently that alpaca can stretch over a long period of time, over months, even years. Perhaps this could a wise choice for knitting clothes for growing children. If the garments keep their shape, pass them on! Being cautious, I would look at several cotton mixes and blends before knitting a garment. Re: the style. A pattern with side seams and or rectangular modules should be easy to alter. If a top stretches, turn up the hem to shorten it, but if the top is on the wide side, add a simple pleat as in sewing, with a few stitches, at the centre neckline or waistline at the sides to create a gathered effect. I have not knitted much below 70% acrylic. ENJOY.

  2. Thanks, C! Great advice about working with cotton/different yarns and design.

  3. When you reach the decrease for the armhole then continue up to 19", do you continue to slip the first stitch and knit the ladt stitch on the purl row?

    1. Hi Mary,
      I did in my version -- I liked a bit of a neater edge. You can choose to just knit back and forth without the slipped stitch edge as well!

  4. Hello! I am planning on making this pattern on my upcoming vacation! It’s beautiful! I cannot wait!! I had a quick question before starting however, did you use a cord with your needles, and what length, or straight needles? Thank you!!

    1. Hi Maria, the size 8 needles I used were straight needles and about 16" in length (so quite long). Using a circular needle and knitting back and forth would work well. I also think a short straight needle would be just fine depending on the size you're knitting -- I just like to spread out my knitting on one needle to see how it's coming along :)

      Please share your FO when it's done -- I'd love to see it!

  5. So amazing that you adjusted the size range - really impressive!!

  6. Hi, Thanks for great pattern how long did you make your shoulder seams?

    1. Hi Shannon, it is shown here with no length added to the shoulder seams

  7. Please translate sizing for me

    1. Hi, you can think fo size 1 as XS and translate upward from there. As always, it is best to take your own measurements and pick the size that is best for you (this is a 0 ease garment)

  8. Help with shoulders please , I am stuck as to how to do this ...do I use new yarn and knit from side to side in two separate pieces ?
    Truly baffled here , please help?
    Thank you , Sandra

    1. Hi Sandra, if you want to add length to the shoulder straps you're exactly right. You would use two different balls of yarn (the one you were knitting with previously for one shoulder, and a new one for the other shoulder).

  9. Good day! Just finished doing swatch for gauge.... 16 stitches = 31/2 inches. 24 rows = 4 inches..... how do I adjust for this?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Mary, you'll have to adjust based on your personal measurements for your body. You know that 16 sts will yield 3.5 inches of width. It's just stockinette stitch so you don't have to worry to much about keeping a certain stitch count. Similar calculations will have to be done for shoulders.

  10. I'm a new knitter and right off the bat having issues with the seed stitch. I end up having to switch from starting with a slipped purl then K1, P1, etc. for a row to starting with a slipped knit stitch then P1, K1. Having an even number of cast on stitches is making this confusing for me. Is the pattern right or am I messing up somehow?

    1. Hi Leslie,
      So sorry for the confusion -- you are exactly right and there is an error in the pattern. It should read:
      Row 1: s1pw, *k1, p1, repeat from *, end k1
      Row 2: s1pw, *p1, k1, repeat from *, end p1
      Please let me know if you have any other questions!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. THANK YOU!!! As a beginner, I was totally convinced it was me! I ripped it out twice to fix it, then made a sample chart, then a bigger chart, and still couldn't figure it out! Thank you!!! I'm sure I'll have more questions as I go! Glad I asked!

    4. Your intuition was so right. I just made a little swatch myself to double check! Thank you for bringing this to my attention!

  11. What do I do with the extra threat at the end of each shoulder strap for the first side of the shirt? just knot it however I want?

    1. You should secure it by weaving it in to the garment: https://www.purlsoho.com/create/weaving-in-your-ends/

    2. Thank you and thanks for the pattern! It is my first item other than a scarf! I will post details of my project when I am done!