I recently finished my sleeveless Tegna tank top, and I could never have expected the amazing response I got from it. (The maker community is beautiful and amazing!) Thank you to everyone who liked, commented, and sent love my way after seeing my post on Instagram. While I didn’t take detailed notes of my “pattern hack” that could be easily translated for the varying sizes, I wanted to write a little blog post about the general steps I took in order to knit Tegna without sleeves.
Disclaimer: I have absolutely NO experience with writing/adapting/hacking a pattern. (This is my first time doing so!) I have no idea how my suggestions would work with different yarns, gauges, sizes, and personal preferences. That being said, perhaps in my absolute newbie-ness in this arena, you’ll find a helpful hint or two so that you can draft your own Tegna tank to wear all summer long!
First things first, Tegna is Caitlin Hunter’s pattern (@boylandknitworks on IG). It is gorgeous. It’s written to be shortsleeved, cropped and flowy with intricate lace detail. Caitlin is an amazingly talented designer, and Tegna is just one of her many patterns that I’ve had in my “want to knit” queue for a while. Seeing that it's summer in my neck of the (hot, hot) woods, I decided that I'd modify the top into a tank so I can wear it all season long! To knit the sleeveless version, go grab the original pattern first.
If you haven’t cast your Tegna on yet and you want to make it summery, I’d suggest opting for a lightweight yarn such as the 75% cotton/ 25% wool blend I used by Yarn on the House, called Best Friend (the color I used is called Mint). A linen would work well also. (One awesome thing about Best Friend by YOTH - and no I am not sponsored (!)- is that you only need 2 skeins for most sizes of Tegna!)
If you’ve already cast on your Tegna, and you just want to modify the top portion to a tank, I started my mods at the “BACK” section of the original pattern, so that’s where I’ll pick this DIY up below.
Mod for Your Bod
Before I get started with my mods, I want to say that I was able to adapt the pattern to sleeveless because I tried my piece on a lot. (A lot a lot). If you have a dress form, that would be super helpful too. (If you want to your own, check out my DIY dress form post). Basically what I am saying here, is trust your knitstincts, try your knitwear on often, and adjust as needed.
Things to note: I knit an XS because I wanted less ease throughout. If you have begun your Tegna with a lot of ease, it may mean that your tank will be more open up top, in which case you could just wear a cami underneath! You’ll have to adjust the mods based on what size/style/yarn/ease/gauge you’re working with, my “instructions” are just a guide. Mod for your bod! :)
Once you’ve divided for armholes, and you’ve got your front stitches on a holder, you’ll begin working on the back panel. I did not do the m1 increases in rows 1 and 2 (and 3/4, which is a repeat of 1 and 2). Immediately, I was working with fewer stitches.
I did not do any shaping of upper back and shoulders - this includes the dropped sleeve. Instead, I just knit my back panel in stockinette for approximately 8.5 inches from armhole split (for my size).
For the neckline, I followed the pattern instructions for my size using the BO method. Because I had fewer total stitches, I bound off the recommended and split the difference, leaving half the stitches for the left shoulder and half for the right shoulder.
Despite having fewer stitches for right and left shoulder, I followed the exact pattern instructions.
I also left out the m1 increases on the front panel.
When I tried my piece on, I realized that I’d have to start doing some decreases to shape the bust/chest - you’ll want to determine how to decrease by trying your top on or putting it on your dress form.
I guesstimated the number of decreases to make by continually knitting some and trying on. I decreased a total of 14 stitches (seven on each side).
Here’s where it gets really wiley, folks. I am not sure if what I did was “correct” or “right” but it worked, so I kept going. I trusted my gut, and got through it! (I was also working on a deadline since I had confirmed that I would have my top done in time to wear to our monthly knit night and this was the night before!)
I decreased on RS rows like this: k1, k2tog, knit to three stitches before the end ssk, k1. Then, I purled the next row across. I performed these two rows a total of 7 times, decreasing 14 stitches total (7 on each side).
After my decreases, I knit a couple rows of stockinette before resuming the pattern instructions for the front neckline.*I drastically altered how many neckline stitches I bound off in the front to approach the neckline shaping. I bound off half the recommended neckline stitches to begin shaping right and left sides.
Since I had way fewer stitches from not doing the m1s and then decreasing a bunch, instead of shaping the way the pattern calls for (with three stitches BO on each side every other row for eleven rows), I decided to bind off one fewer stitch per row and add a stitch to every RS row on each side.
Here’s how I did it: For right shoulder/neckline front shaping, BO 2 stitches, knit to 1 stitch before the end, m1r, k1. I kept going with this every other row until I matched my stitch count to how many I needed to join with my back neckline stitches. Then, I knit in stockinette until, when I tried it on, the fit was right and the seams met.
I did the same for the left side, just opposite.
After doing the three needle BO for the shoulder seams, I attempted to pick up stitches all around the neck. It looked awful in the front since it wasn’t an oval, but more of a U shape (tank). I ended up only picking up around the neckline where I had bound off stitches across and up the sides, I did a six row garter hem, picking up an extra stitch on each side every row so that it followed the U shape of the neck. I left the rest of the neck (including the back neck) and the armholes raw. The armholes turn in slightly, but I don’t mind that look. If you don't like the raw edge look, you can pick up some stitches and finish the rest of the neck/armholes how you like!
You've Got This!
Since it will likely be different for everyone depending on what size/yarn/gauge/preference/etc. you’ve chosen to knit, I can’t emphasize this enough - try yours on often and get creative! You know the look you’re going for, so you can adapt it as you see fit. I hope my “instructions” will at least show you that it was easy enough (only some increasing and decreasing - not even short rows!) for me, so it will be easy enough for you!
Once again, thank you all for your support and enthusiasm with the sleeveless version of the beautiful Tegna sweater by Caitlin! When fall approaches, I'll have to make one with sleeves, as the original pattern is written :)
If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below, and I’ll do my very best to trouble shoot! Happy knitting, you've got this!