Up the back, over the top and down the front… That’s how I knit my very first garment. I’ve since graduated to more complicated designs, but the over-the-top construction will forever be in my knitting arsenal (see Cap Sleeve Lattice Top, Cable Back Shell, and Bamboo Shell).

Over-the-Top Top | Purl Soho

For this Over-the-Top Top we combined Habu’s beautiful and rustic Linen Roving with a fan-favorite, Purl Soho’s incredibly soft Line Weight merino. The pair, pulled together and worked purl side out, creates a gorgeous drape, a lovely glow and just enough complexity for a pared-down structure.

Over-the-Top Top | Purl Soho

I love that this sweater’s hemmed edges add to its overall simplicity. Oh, and did I mention? It’s reversible! Those same hemmed edges on the reverse side contrast with stockinette stitch and exposed seams. Two tops in one… really pushing this top over the top! -Laura

Share your progress and connect with the community by tagging your pics with #PurlSoho, #PurlSohoBusyHands, #PurlSohoOverTheTopTop, and #PurlSohoLineWeight. We can’t wait to see what you make!

Materials

Over-the-Top Top | Purl Soho
  • Yarn A: 2 (2, 3, 3) (3, 3, 4, 4) skeins of Purl Soho’s Line Weight, 100% merino wool. Each skein is 494 yards/ 100 grams; approximately 820 (925, 1040, 1155) (1275, 1400, 1525, 1660) yards required. We used the color Oyster Gray.
  • Yarn B: 1 (2, 2, 2) (2, 2, 2, 3) skein(s) of Habu’s Linen Roving, 100% linen. Each skein is 795 yards/ 184 grams; approximately 795 (935, 1050, 1165) (1285, 1410, 1540, 1670) yards required. We used the color White.
  • US 6 (4 mm), 16-inch circular needles
  • US 6, 24-inch circular needles
  • Spare US 6 or smaller, 24-inch or longer circular needles (for hemmed edges)
  • Scrap yarn and a crochet hook to match (for provisional cast on)
  • Removable stitch markers
  • Stitch holders or scrap yarn

Gauge

22 stitches and 30 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch

Sizes

NOTE For help picking a size, please check out our Understanding Ease + Selecting Size Tutorial!

38 (42, 46, 50) (54, 58, 62, 66)

To fit actual chest circumference of 33-35 (37-39, 41-43, 45-47) (49-51, 53-55, 57-59, 61-63) inches, with 3–5 inches of positive ease

  • Finished Chest Circumference: 38 (42, 46, 50) (54, 58, 62, 66) inches
  • Finished Length from Shoulder to Bottom Edge: 19½ (20, 20½, 21) (21½, 22, 22½, 23) inches
  • Finished Length from Underarm to Bottom Edge: 11½ (11½, 11¼, 11½) (11¾, 12, 12¼, 12½) inches

SAMPLE: The sample pictured here is size 38.

Over-the-Top Top | Purl Soho

Notes

RIGHT + WRONG SIDES

For this pattern, the purl side of the stockinette fabric is considered the “right side” and the knit side is the “wrong side.”

PROVISIONAL CAST ON

For assistance, including how to put live stitches back onto needles, please visit our Provisional Cast On: A One-Step Method Tutorial.

M1P (MAKE 1 PURLWISE)

With left needle, pick up horizontal strand between last stitch and next stitch, bringing needle from back to front, then purl through front loop of strand. [1 stitch increased]

NOTE For a video tutorial of this increase, please visit https://www.purlsoho.com/create/make-1-purlwise-m1p/

PICKING UP STITCHES

For assistance on picking up stitches, including along a vertical edge, please visit our Picking Up Stitches Tutorial.

Pattern

BACK BODY

With scrap yarn and using a Provisional Cast-On (see Notes), cast 104 (115, 126, 137) (148, 159, 170, 181) stitches onto longer circular needles.

Holding one strand of Yarn A and one strand of Yarn B together…

Row 1 (wrong side [see Notes]): P2, knit to last two stitches, p2.

Row 2 (right side): K2, purl to last two stitches, k2.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2, until piece measures 2 inches from cast-on edge, ending with Row 2.

HEM BACK BOTTOM EDGE

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With wrong (knit) side facing you, carefully remove scrap yarn from provisional cast on, slipping stitches onto spare circular needles as you go.

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NOTE: Visit our Knit Hem Tutorial for extra help with this section, noting that the tutorial shows these steps with the knit, instead of purl, side out.

Fold piece so wrong (knit) sides are together and right (purl) sides are facing out, working needles behind spare needles.

Next Row (wrong side): Using right working needle, [purl first stitch on left spare needle together with first stitch on left working needle] 2 times, *knit first stitch on left working needle together with first stitch on left spare needle, repeat from * until 2 stitches remain on each needle, [purl first stitch on left spare needle together with first stitch on left working needle] 2 times.  

Continue Back Body

Row 1 (right side): K2, purl to last two stitches, k2.

Row 2 (wrong side): P2, knit to last two stitches, p2.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until piece measures 18½ (19, 19½, 20) (20½, 21, 21½, 22) inches from hemmed edge or approximately 1 inch less than desired finished length from bottom edge to Shoulder.

Repeat Row 1 one more time.

Divide for Shoulders + Back Neck

Over-the-Top Top | Purl Soho

Division Row (wrong side): P2, knit 29 (34, 38, 42) (47, 52, 57, 61), place previous 31 (36, 40, 44) (49, 54, 59, 63) stitches onto stitch holders or scrap yarn for Left Shoulder, knit 42 (43, 46, 49) (50, 51, 52, 55), place previous 42 (43, 46, 49) (50, 51, 52, 55) stitches onto stitch holders or scrap yarn for Back Neck, knit to last two stitches, p2. [31 (36, 40, 44) (49, 54, 59, 63) stitches remain for Right Shoulder]

BACK + FRONT SHOULDERS

WORK RIGHT SHOULDER

Slip Right Shoulder stitches to shorter circular needles.

Row 1 (right side): K2, purl to last 3 stitches, purl 2 together (p2tog), k1. [1 stitch decreased]

Row 2 (wrong side): P1, knit 2 together (k2tog), knit to last 2 stitches, p2. [1 stitch decreased]

Rows 3–6: Repeat Rows 1 and 2 two more times. [25 (30, 34, 38) (43, 48, 53, 57) stitches remain]

NOTE: This is the halfway point on the Right Shoulder. Place a removable stitch marker (or piece of scrap yarn) on the outer selvage at this point. This will mark where to fold the sweater when it comes time to seam the sides.

Row 7: K2, purl to last stitch, k1.

Row 8: P1, knit to last 2 stitches, p2.

Rows 9–22: Repeat Rows 7 and 8 seven more times.

SHAPE RIGHT FRONT NECK

Row 1 (right side): K2, purl to last stitch, make 1 purlwise (m1p, see Notes), k1. [1 stitch increased]

Row 2: P1, make 1 right (m1R), knit to last 2 stitches, p2. [1 stitch increased]

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 seven more times. [41 (46, 50, 54) (59, 64, 69, 73) stitches]

Over-the-Top Top | Purl Soho

Place stitches on stitch holders or scrap yarn for Right Front.

Cut Yarns A and B.

WORK LEFT SHOULDER

Slip on-hold Left Shoulder stitches onto longer circular needles. With wrong side facing you, join a strand of both Yarn A and Yarn B.

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, knit to last 3 stitches, slip slip knit (ssk), p1. [1 stitch decreased]

Row 2 (right side): K1, p2tog tbl (through back loop), purl to last 2 stitches, k2. [1 stitch decreased]

Rows 3–6: Repeat Rows 1 and 2 two more times. [25 (30, 34, 38) (43, 48, 53, 57) stitches remain]

NOTE: This is the halfway point on the Left Shoulder. Place a removable stitch marker (or piece of scrap yarn) on the outer selvage.

Row 7: P2, knit to last stitch, p1.

Row 8: K1, purl to last two stitches, k2.

Rows 9–22: Repeat Rows 7 and 8 seven more times.

SHAPE LEFT FRONT NECK

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, knit to last stitch, make 1 left (m1L), p1. [1 stitch increased]

Row 2 (right side): K1, m1p, purl to last two stitches, k2. [1 stitch increased]

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 seven more times. [41 (46, 50, 54) (59, 64, 69, 73) stitches]

JOIN LEFT + RIGHT FRONT

Over-the-Top Top | Purl Soho

Joining Row (wrong side): P2, knit to end of Left Front stitches; turn work and with right side facing you, cable cast on 22 (23, 26, 29) (30, 31, 32, 35) stitches; turn work and with wrong side facing you, knit across Right Front stitches to last two stitches, p2. [104 (115, 126, 137) (148, 159, 170, 181) total stitches]

FRONT BODY

Row 1 (right side): K2, purl to last two stitches, k2.

Row 2 (wrong side): P2, knit to last two stitches, p2.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until piece measures 20½ (21, 21½, 22) (22½, 23, 23½, 24) inches from halfway marker or 1 inch longer than desired length from top of Shoulders to bottom edge.

Repeat Row 1 one more time.

HEM FRONT BOTTOM EDGE

Over-the-Top Top | Purl Soho

Find the row that measures 2 inches from working needles and slip each stitch of that row onto spare circular needles.

Over-the-Top Top | Purl Soho

Fold piece so wrong (knit) sides are together and right (purl) sides are facing out, working needles behind spare needles.

Holding needles parallel in your left hand, use the right working needle to work a 3-needle bind off in pattern. Here’s how…

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[P2tog] 2 times (one stitch from each needle), bind off one, *k2tog (one stitch from each needle), bind off one, repeat from * until two stitches remain on each needle, [p2tog (one stitch from each needle), bind off one] 2 times.

SIDE SEAMS

NOTE: Right now is a great time to weave in all the tails. Taking care of them now makes seaming the sides and picking up for the Armholes and Neckline a bit easier.

Fold piece in half at the halfway markers at Shoulders, wrong sides together. Right (purl) sides are facing you. Thread a length of both Yarn A and Yarn B onto a tapestry needle and use mattress stitch to seam each side, allowing selvage stitches to form two columns of knit stitches on the right side of the piece.

Over-the-Top Top | Purl Soho

Start about an inch above hemmed bottom edges and end 8 (8½, 9¼, 9½) (9¾, 10, 10¼, 10½) inches before halfway markers at Shoulders.

SLEEVES

Over-the-Top Top | Purl Soho

Pick-Up Round: With right (purl) side facing you, join one strand of Yarn A and Yarn B and use shorter circular needles to pick up stitches (see Notes) around armhole. Starting at the top of the Side Seam, pick up 3 stitches for every 4 rows around the entire Armhole.

Place marker and join for working in the round.

Round 1 (right side): Purl to end of round.

Repeat Round 1 until piece measures 1 inch from pick-up round.

Over-the-Top Top | Purl Soho

With wrong (knit) side facing you, slip each stitch of the first Sleeve round onto spare needles.

Over-the-Top Top | Purl Soho

Fold wrong (knit) sides of Sleeve together, and holding working and spare needles parallel in your left hand, use right working needle to work a 3-needle bind off, knitwise.

Cut Yarn A and Yarn B.

Repeat for other Sleeve.

NECKBAND

Pick-Up Round: With right (purl) side facing you, slip on-hold Back Neck stitches onto shorter circular needles. Continuing with shorter needles, join one strand of Yarn A and Yarn B and pick up and knit for Neckband: one stitch for each row along slanted edges; 3 stitches for every 4 rows along 16-row vertical Shoulder edges; and one stitch for each cast-on stitch along Front Neck.

Place marker and join for working in the round.

Round 1 (right side): Purl to end of round.

Repeat Round 1 until piece measures 1 inch from pick-up round.

With wrong (knit) side facing you, slip each stitch of first Neckband round onto spare needles.

Fold wrong (knit) sides of Neckband fabric together, and holding working and spare needles parallel in your left hand, use right working needle to work a 3-needle bind off, knitwise.

WEAVE + BLOCK

Weave in any remaining ends and block as desired.

Over-the-Top Top | Purl Soho