Knitting the Perfect Summer Tee: Patterns and Tips

We know it's still cold in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, but it IS time to start knitting for your warm weather wardrobe! This article will walk you through all you need to know to create your next favorite summer knit.

So grab your needles and get ready to knit the perfect summer tee. We've got you covered on choosing a yarn, a pattern, and creating your perfect knit summer tee.

Two women embrace and stare lovingly at each other. They are a similar size but very different shapes. They both wear a handknit bralette and pajama pants.

Warm Weather Patterns

From tees and tanks to a few surprising dresses and THE size inclusive bralette you need in your warm weather wardrobe, find your next favorite knit today!

Shop the Warm Weather section of our library!

Shop Patterns

Choosing the right yarn for summer tees

Start by considering lightweight yarns. They ensure breathability and comfort during hotter days. While it may take longer to knit with sport weight and fingering weight yarns, you are much more likely to wear these weights in warmer months. Yes, even when you use plant fibers.

Speaking of plant fibers, opt for natural fibers like cotton, or linen. These materials absorb moisture, keeping you dry and cool. Silk is also a wonderful fiber for warmer months and has antimicrobial properties. If your hands are sensitive to working with stiffer plant fibers, bamboo, tencel, and silk blends can soften up cotton or linen significantly.

Test the feel of the yarn. Softness against your skin is key for a summer garment you’ll love to wear. Not all plant fiber yarn will feel the same. We find organic cotton to be far softer than regular, mercerized or Pima cottons, which tend to be on the stiffer side. Linen, while stiff initially, does soften up a lot with wear.

As we mentioned in our recent article, pinning a swatch to the inside of your shirt is an excellent way to test the wearability of a particular yarn.

Jen wears her Classic LBD - a light beige, knit tee - with blue jeans. She leans against a table covered in a knit blanket and smiles at the camera.

Classic LBD

Just like every wardrobe needs an LBD, every knitter needs a summer tee.

Jen designed this casual raglan tee for everyone! Beginner friendly with impeccable fit, Classic LBD is a best seller for a reason.

Buy the Pattern

Summer tee patterns to consider

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced knitter, there are plenty of summer tee knitting patterns to choose from. Here are a few popular ones that you can try:

The Classic Tee: Timeless and simple, classic tee patterns can be dressed up or down depending on the fiber and color you choose.

Patterns to consider: Alice Tee, Classic LBD

The Lace Tee: If you're looking to add a touch of elegance to your summer wardrobe, a lace tee is a perfect choice. Lace knitting is a bit trickier for newer knitters; we do have an article to help!

Patterns to consider: Among Petals, Anna Tee

The Oversized Tee: For a more relaxed and casual look, opt for an oversized tee. This style is great for throwing over a bathing suit or pairing with jeans for a laid-back summer vibe.

Patterns to consider: Terese Dress (can be cropped to tee length!), Gone to Seed

Bess and Jen are both wearing a rustic silk lace tee, hand knit with rhythmic lace panels in front and back.

Kanno's Resistance joins the One Wild pattern library this Wednesday! A classic, yet playful, elegant, and spacious lace dropped shoulder tee. Part of the Rare Birds Collection.

Tips for customizing your knitting pattern

While knitting patterns provide a great starting point, don't be afraid to customize and modify them to suit your preferences. Here are some tips to help you make your summer tee truly unique:

Alter the Length: If you prefer a longer or shorter tee, this is a pretty simple modification. We recommend looking at the shaping of the armscye as well as any waist or hip shaping. Change the length where it will most suit you, perhaps redistributing some of the shaping as necessary.

Add Shaping: Speaking of shaping, adding extra space or length where you need it most will always result in a better fit! Add bust darts or alter hip shaping to suit your body.

Experiment with Stitch Patterns: Feel free to swap out stitch patterns or incorporate different lace motifs to create a one-of-a-kind design. Knitting is a creative outlet, so let your imagination run wild. Often, similar stitch patterns can result in the same gauge. We do recommend staying true to the gauge called for in a pattern unless you're ready to take on some extra math!

Incorporate Color: Add pops of color to your summer tee by incorporating colorwork techniques like stripes, intarsia, or color blocking. Typically these techniques won't change your gauge and will give you a special, "uniquely you" version of your favorite knitting pattern.

Remember, knitting is all about personal expression, so don't be afraid to make modifications and have fun with your project. The One Wild Slack community is a wonderful place to engage with other fit-minded knitters and ask for help as you make mods.

Bess wears a hand knit pale gray cotton tee with set in sleeves and a playful scoop neckline.

Alice Tee

Alice is a seamless, top down, set-in sleeve tee with a playful curved hem.

Set-in sleeves have a more formal, tailored fit. Perfect for everyday elegance.

Buy the Pattern

Swatching, finishing, and blocking

To give your summer tee a polished and professional finish, don't skip the important steps of swatching, blocking, and finishing.

Swatching is the first step to any successful knitting project. Especially when knitting closer fitting garments like tanks and tees, being off a couple of stitches or rows can lead to heartbreaking fit failure. Always knit a generous swatch, at least six square inches, and block it the same way you will block your finished garment.

Blocking is the process of wetting or steaming your finished garment to even out the stitches and improve the drape. It helps to relax the fibers, making the fabric look smoother and more cohesive. Follow the yarn manufacturer's recommendations for blocking, whether it's wet blocking or steam blocking. (Our experience is that cotton knits LOVE a good steam.)

Finishing a summer tee sometimes requires a little extra care. Plant fibers can be less forgiving when picking up stitches and you may find you have some holes around the neck or armholes of your garment. Some gentle seaming in these areas makes a world of difference. Weaving in your ends and finishing your garment is an act of love.

By blocking and seaming your summer tee, you'll give it that final touch that takes it from homemade to high-quality.

Are you ready to dive in to summer tees? We can't wait to see what you create. Leave a comment and tell us which summer pattern you're casting on next!

Knitting the Perfect Summer Tee: Patterns and Tips
Back to blog

Leave a comment