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

Materials

Over-the-Top Top | Purl Soho

Gauge

22 stitches and 30 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch

Sizes

36 (40, 44, 48, 52)

  • Finished Chest Circumference: 36 (40, 44, 48, 52) inches
  • Finished Length from Shoulder to Bottom Edge: 19 ½ (20, 20 ½, 21, 21 ½) inches
  • Finished Length from Underarm to Bottom Edge: 11 ½ inches

EASE: This piece is designed with a 3 to 5-inch ease.
SAMPLE: The sample pictured here is size 36.

Notes

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

m1 purlwise (make 1 purlwise): With the left needle, pick up the bar between the previous and next stitch from back to front, purl through the front loop. [1 stitch increased]

Pattern

Back

With scrap yarn, use a provisional cast on to cast 104 (115, 126, 137, 148) stitches onto the longer circular needle. I used a one-step technique. For some extra tips, visit our Provisional Cast On: a One-Step Method Tutorial.

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

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

Row 2: K2, purl to last two stitches, k2.

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

Hem Back Bottom Edge

With the wrong (knit) side facing you, slip each stitch of the work’s first row onto the spare needle.

Pull out the provisional cast on.

Fold the work so wrong (knit) sides are together and right (purl) sides are facing out and the needles are parallel with the spare needle in front and the working needle behind.

Holding the needles parallel in your left hand, use the other end of the working needle to work across the stitches on both needles…

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

Continue Back Body

Continue evenly in established pattern (see Back section), beginning with Row 2.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until piece measures 18 ½ (19, 19 ½, 20, 20 ½) inches from hemmed edge or approximately 1 inch shy of desired finished length from hemmed edge to shoulder, ending with Row 2.

Divide for Shoulders and Back Neckline

Over-the-Top Top | Purl Soho

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, knit 29 (34, 38, 42, 47), place previous 31 (36, 40, 44, 49) stitches on hold for Left Shoulder, knit 42 (43, 46, 49, 50), place previous 42 (43, 46, 49, 50) stitches on hold for Back Neckline, knit to last two stitches, p2. [31 (36, 40, 44, 49) stitches remain for Right Shoulder]

Shoulders + Front

Work Right Shoulder

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

Row 2: P1, k2tog, knit to last 2 stitches, p2. [1 stitch decreased]

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 two more times. [25 (30, 34, 38, 43) stitches]

NOTE: This is the halfway point on the Right side. 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 3 (right side): K2, purl to last stitch, k1.

Row 4: P1, knit to last 2 stitches, p2.

Repeat Rows 3 and 4 seven more times.

Shape Front Right Neckline

Row 1 (right side): K2, purl to last stitch, make 1 (m1) purlwise (see NOTES section above), 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) stitches]

Over-the-Top Top | Purl Soho

Place the Front Right stitches on hold.

Cut Yarns A and B.

Work Left Shoulder

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

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

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

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 two more times. [25 (30, 34, 38, 43) stitches]

NOTE: This is the halfway point on the Left side. As you did on the Right side, now place a removable stitch marker (or piece of scrap yarn) on the outer selvage.

Row 3 (wrong side): P2, knit to last stitch, p1.

Row 4: K1, purl to last two stitches, k2.

Repeat Rows 3 and 4 seven more times.

Shape Front Left Neckline

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

Row 2: K1, m1 purlwise, purl to last two stitches, k2. [1 stitch increased]

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

Join Front Left and Front Right

Over-the-Top Top | Purl Soho

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, knit to end of Front Left stitches; turn work and with right side facing, cable cast on 22 (23, 26, 29, 30) stitches; turn work and with wrong side facing, knit Front Right stitches to last two stitches, p2. [104 (115, 126, 137, 148) total stitches]

Continue Front

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

Row 2: P2, knit to last two stitches, p2.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until piece measures 20 ½ (21, 21 ½, 22, 22 ½) inches from the halfway mark or 1 inch longer than the desired length from the halfway mark to the Back Bottom Hem.

Repeat Row 1.

Hem Front Bottom Edge

Over-the-Top Top | Purl Soho

With wrong (knit) side facing, find the row that measures 2 inches from the working needle. Slip each stitch of that row onto the spare needle.

Over-the-Top Top | Purl Soho

Fold the hem, wrong sides together; so that the purl sides are facing out and the needles are parallel, the spare needle in front and the working needle behind.

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

[P2tog] two 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] two times.

Finish

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.

Seam the Sides

Fold the piece in half, wrong sides together, at the removable stitch markers (or pieces of scrap yarn) that you placed at the Shoulders. The right (purl) sides are facing out. Thread a length of both Yarn A and Yarn B onto a tapestry needle and use mattress stitch to seam each side.

Over-the-Top Top | Purl Soho

Start just above the hemmed bottom edges and end 8 (8 ½, 9 ¼, 9 ½, 9 ¾) inches before the Shoulder folds.

Add Hemmed Edge to Armholes

NOTE: Work the following section for each Armhole.

Over-the-Top Top | Purl Soho

With the right (purl) side facing you, join one strand of Yarn A and Yarn B and use the shorter needle to pick up stitches around the Armhole. Starting at the underarm, pick up 3 stitches for every 4 rows around the entire Armhole.

Place marker and join for working in the round. With the right (purl) side facing you…

Round 1 (right side): Purl.

Repeat Round 1 until piece measures 1 inch from where you picked up.

Over-the-Top Top | Purl Soho

Fold over the new inch of fabric so you can see its wrong (knit) side. Slip each stitch of the first Round 1 onto the spare needle.

Over-the-Top Top | Purl Soho

Fold the hem, wrong (knit) sides together, and holding the working and spare needles parallel in your left hand, use the other end of the working needle to work a three-needle bind off, knitwise.

Add Hemmed Edge to Neckline

Looking at the Back, with the right (purl) side facing, slip the on-hold stitches onto the shorter needle. Join one strand of Yarn A and Yarn B to pick up stitches around the rest of the Neckline. Pick up one stitch for each row along the slanted edges; pick up 3 stitches for every 4 rows along the 16-row vertical Shoulder edge on each side; and pick up one stitch for each cast-on stitch along the Front Neckline.

Place marker and join for working in the round. With the right (purl) side facing you…

Round 1 (right side): Purl.

Repeat Round 1 until piece measures 1 inch from where you picked up.

Just as you did with each Armhole, fold over the new inch of fabric so you can see its wrong (knit) side. Slip each stitch of the first Round 1 onto the spare needle.

Fold the hem, wrong (knit) sides together, and holding the working and spare needles parallel in your left hand, use the other end of the working needle to work a three-needle bind off, knitwise.

Weave + Block

Weave in any remaining ends and block as desired.

Over-the-Top Top | Purl Soho