Sunflower Shell Tank


Make your own lightweight and shimmery summer tank with this free pattern excerpted from the Martingale book "Beyond Wool." Other than sewing up the side seams and grafting the straps, there's no finishing work to worry about. The smoothness of the yarn gives the center panel incredible relief, which contrasts nicely with the flatness of the stockinette-stitch sides. This is definitely one of those knit top patterns that's a must-have for hotter weather.


Knitting Needle Size2 or 2.75 mm, 3 or 3.25 mm

Yarn Weight(3) Light/DK (21-24 stitches to 4 inches)


  • 6 (6, 7, 7, 8) skeins Pure Cotton from Jaeger (100% mercerized cotton; 50 grams, 122 yards per skein), color Corn #528, or other DK-weight yarn
  • Size 2 (3 mm) needles
  • Size 3 (3.25 mm) needles or size needed to obtain gauge
  • Stitch marker
  • Stitch holder

23 sts and 29 rows = 4” in stockinette stitch on size 3 needles

Finished Measurements
Bust: 38 (40, 42, 44, 46)”
Center Back Length: 14½ (14½, 15½, 15½, 16½)”

Pattern Stitch
Stockinette Stitch
Row 1 (RS): Knit.
Row 2 (WS): Purl.

Center Panel (22 sts)

Cast on 22 sts
Note: Sl all sts pw wyib.
Row 1 and all WS rows: P10, K2, P10.
Row 2 (RS): K6, SSK, return resulting st to LH needle, and with point of RH needle pass next st over it and off needle; then sl st back to RH needle (this is the “SSK and pass” below); YO, K1, YO, P2, YO, K1, YO, sl 1, K2tog, psso, K6.
Row 4: K4, SSK and pass, K1, (YO, K1) twice, P2, K1, (YO, K1) twice, sl 1, K2tog, psso, K4.
Row 6: K2, SSK and pass, K2, YO, K1, YO, K2, P2, K2, YO, K1, YO, K2, sl 1, K2tog, psso, K2.
Row 8: SSK and pass, K3, YO, K1, YO, K3, P2, K3, YO, K1, YO, K3, sl 1, K2tog, psso.

With size 2 needles and using cable-edge cast on, CO 110 (116, 122, 128, 134) sts.
Purl 5 (5, 5, 7, 7) rows. Change to size 3 needles.

Establish patt on WS as foll: P42 (45, 48, 51, 54), K2, work row 1 of center panel, K2, P42 (45, 48, 51, 54).
Next row: K42 (45, 48, 51, 54), P2, work row 2 of center panel, P2, K42 (45, 48, 51, 54).
Cont in above manner, until 11 (11, 12, 12, 13) rep of center panel have been worked—88 (88, 96, 96, 104) rows. Work row 1 of center panel.

Shape armhole: BO 10 (11, 12, 13, 14) sts at beg of next 2 rows—90 (94, 98, 102, 106) sts.
Work foll 2 rows a total of 14 times, then work row 1 again—60 (64, 68, 72, 76) sts:
Row 1 (RS): K3, sl 1, K1, psso, work in patt to last 5 sts, K2tog, K3.
Row 2 (WS): Work in established patt.
Next row (WS): Working in established patt, work 20 (22, 24, 26, 28) sts, work middle 20 sts and place on holder, work rem 20 (22, 24, 26, 28) sts. Work each side separately.

Right armhole and neck: Cont armhole dec as above, work to last 5 sts, K2tog, K3 (neck dec).
Turn work and work WS row. Cont to dec at both armhole edge and neck edge every RS row 5 (6, 7, 8, 9) more times—8 sts. Work only armhole dec 4 more times—4 sts. Place sts on st marker.

Left armhole and neck: With RS facing, attach yarn at neck edge and work other side to correspond, working neck dec as foll: K3, sl 1 kw, K1, psso.

Straps: Work 4 rem sts of strap in St st for 2”.
Place sts on st marker. Rep for other strap.

Work another piece exactly the same as front.


Sew side seams. Center sts of neck will want to turn under at the curved line of the pattt. Carefully sew down live sts to make a hem.  Graft front and back straps at shoulders. Steam genftly, but do not pull down gentle curve of center patt at lower edge. Do not press open St-st straps and armhole shaping, but let them gently roll to form a finished edge.




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dainty and feminine with so many options - wear it with a skirt as shown or with dress pants, add a jacket for the office with a flowing midi or maxi skirt or a pair of flowing pants for evening or just to feel sooo feminine, with or sans jacket even with jeans --- the ultimate top. Brilliant

I am going to knit it in cotton as it is very elegant to wear during summer!

Simple and elegant knit for summer wear. I love the skinny profile and the elegant center panel. The good news is, the lace section is only 22 stitches wide so those contemplating learning how to knit lace patterns might find this one a good place to start. I recommend using stitch markers to mark the beginning and end of the lace section, they will help you keep track.

how many stitches do you cast on?

the instructions for how many stitches to cast on are under the heading Front-follow the line across to see the different numbers of stitches for each size.

I'd love to give this a try, still a novice knitter. Wonder if you have a photo of back of tank? Thanks!

Are the sizes Misses or Womens ?

Based on the gauge and measurements provided they are women's sizes. hope this helps.

This pattern looks lovely. It would make a nice gift as well.


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