Grandma Knitty Home
Knitty: little purls of wisdom
letter from the editorfeatured articlesKnitty's fabulous pattern selectionarchive of back issuestell us what you think of KnittyKnitty's favorite linkshelp knitty keep on keepin' onknitty's virtual sNbjoin the Knitty notifylistknitty's tiny little shopping malltake home something Knitty

Elann

the Knitty FAQ

submission guidelines for designers and writers
the obligatory legal statement
the rabbit

© Knitty 2002-2006. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. This means you.

 



cleavesWmariposacambioasanaribbon Xbacksoleili dospring fling
tie one onbranching outhot tamalececiliavia diagonalecocktail monkey
itsybitsy / kitchensinkwheelieshadepetalstrellis peek-a-boobblythe

This DK-weight tank top serves double-duty as a nursing bra. A hook-and-eye closure at the top of the keyhole at the front allows the neckline of this top to sit higher than other nursing tanks. Undo this hook plus the closure at the top of the drop-down cup to easily feed your little one through triangular nursing openings hidden inside the cup.

This top features separate sizing for the body and for the bra cups, allowing you to put a D cup on a small body if necessary (isn't nursing great?)

The body of this top is knit in the round in simple stockinette stitch with rolled edge and gentle waist shaping. The bra cups are knit back-and-forth using two-end knitting (see Pattern Notes below) which provides more support and less show-through than a single strand of yarn. The bra cups are also shaped using short-row-shaping. The nursing openings are knit with a single strand of yarn in garter stitch.

Pretty ribbon straps cross at the back and help disguise the nursing function of this top. The straps adjust to help the fit of the top keep up with changes in your milk supply.

This is a perfect project for the expectant mother with an urge to knit - I know, you want to make a blanket or some such for the baby, but between gifts and hand-me-downs, you'll end up with a dozen blankets, and no cute little hand-knit nursing tops.

models: Amanda and Curtis Swoffer photos: Josie Mercier

SIZE

Body: XS [S, M, L, XL]
Bra Cup: A [B, C, D, DD]

 
FINISHED MEASUREMENTS

Chest (just under bust): 29 [32, 35, 37.75, 40.75] inches
Hip: 31.25 [34, 37, 40, 43] inches
Lower Body Length: 10[11, 12, 13, 14] inches

Cup Height: 6.25 [6.75, 7.25, 7.75, 8.5] (top) inches

 

MATERIALS

Sirdar Country Style DK [45% acrylic, 40% nylon, 15% wool; 174 yd/159m per 50g skein]; color: 440 "Saxe"; 3 [3, 4, 4, 4] skeins approx.

1 24-inch US #6/4.0mm circular needle
Stitch markers
Stitch holders
3 hook-and-eye closures
Plastic hardware from 2 lingerie straps, either purchased or salvaged from an old bra
2 yds ribbon, 0.5 inch wide (or same width as lingerie straps)
Thread to match yarn
1 yd of 0.5 inch wide elastic
Tapestry needle
Sewing Needle
Optional: 1 yd stretchy seam binding

GAUGE

22 sts/28 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch AND in Two-End Knitting (change needle size if necessary)

 
PATTERN NOTES

[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations can be found here]

Two-End Knitting
When working in Two-End Knitting, work with either two balls of yarn, or with two strands from the same ball of yarn (one strand from the inside of the ball, and one strand from the outside). Work in stockinette stitch, working the first st with one strand, the second st with the second strand , then continuing to alternating strands for each stitch, holding the yarn not in use to the WS of the work. (This is just like working two-color stranded knitting with a color change on each st.) The purpose of Two-End Knitting is to achieve a firmer fabric with more body than plain stockinette st.

DIRECTIONS

Lower Body
Using circular needle, CO 172 [188, 204, 220, 236] sts.
Place marker and join to begin working in the round, being careful not to twist. K 86[94, 102, 110, 118], place second marker, k to end.
K 26[26, 28, 28, 30] rows.
Next Round: K1, ssk, k to 3 sts before second marker, k2tog, k2, ssk, k to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1.
K 15[17, 19, 21, 23] rounds.
Work these 16[18, 20, 22, 24] rounds twice more. 160[176, 192, 208, 224] sts rem.
Work even until piece measures 10[11, 12, 13, 14] inches. (Unroll edge when measuring.) Break yarn.

Elastic Casing
VERY, VERY IMPORTANT: From this point on, the sizing is for cup sizes A, B, C, D, and DD. Make sure you are working the correct size.
Place 90[98, 106, 114, 122] sts from front and sides (45 [49, 53, 57, 61] sts on each side of center front) onto a stitch holder, removing markers.
Reattach yarn to rem sts (back sts).
Work 6 rows in stockinette stitch. BO these sts.

Bra Cups
NOTES:
- This section is worked entirely in Two-End Knitting, unless otherwise indicated. Directions that instruct you to k or p a certain number of sts, mean to k or p those sts in Two-End Knitting.
- The first st of all RS and WS rows is slipped purlwise.

Place held sts on needle. With WS facing, join 2 strands of yarn to begin working in Two-End Knitting, changing needle size if necessary.
P 26[29, 32, 35, 38], place marker, p 38[40, 42, 44, 46], place marker, p 26[29, 32, 35, 38].
The next row will be Row 1 on the Short-Row Shaping Chart (see below).

Begin Short-Row Bust Shaping
To work short-row bust shaping, find your cup size in the chart below.
When working a row with short-row shaping, k to first marker, k indicated number of sts past first marker, w&t, p to marker, p same number of sts past marker, w&t, k to second marker, repeat short rows as for first marker. Pick up wraps as you encounter them and work it together with the st it is wrapped around. When a row has no number indicated for your cup size, work that row without short-row shaping.

IMPORTANT: Read through all remaining Bra Cup directions before proceeding!

Short-Row Shaping Chart

 

Cup Size

Row

A

B

C

D

DD

1

16

17

18

19

20

3

       

20

5

 

17

18

19

20

7

16

       

9

 

13

16

19

20

11

         

13

11

 

16

17

17

15

 

10

     

17

   

14

13

14

19

5

       

21

 

6

 

13

11

23

   

7

   

25

     

8

 

27

       

9

AT THE SAME TIME:
On row 17[19, 21, 23, 25], sl 1, k2tog twice, k 39[43, 47, 51, 55], BO 2 sts, k to last 5 sts, ssk twice, k1.

Right Cup:
Next Row [WS]: Sl 1, p 41[45, 49, 53, 57], place rem sts on hold for Left Cup.
Next Row [RS]: Sl 1, k2tog, work next row of short row shaping, work to last 5 sts, ssk twice, k1.
Next Row [WS]: Sl 1, p to end.
Repeat these 2 rows once more.

NOTE: Instructions follow for armhole shaping and neckline shaping (including keyhole); work both sets of instructions at the same time, starting on the next row.

Armhole Shaping:

D and DD cup only:
Next Row [RS]: K to last 5 sts, ssk twice, k1.
Next Row [WS]: Sl 1, p to end.

All Sizes:
Next Row [RS]: K to last 3 sts, ssk, k1.
Next Row [WS]: Sl 1, p to end.
Repeat these 2 rows 2[3, 3, 1, 3] times more.
Next Row [RS]: K to last 3 sts, ssk, k1.
Work 3 rows without armhole shaping.
Repeat these 4 rows 2[2, 2, 4, 3] times more.
Cont working Two-End Knitting, completing keyhole and neckline shaping.

Keyhole and Neckline Shaping:
Work 6 rows even.
Next Row [RS]: Sl 1, m1, k to end.
Next Row [WS]: Sl 1, p to end.
Repeat these 2 rows twice more.
Work 4 rows even.
Next Row [RS]: K 23[24, 24, 25, 26], place these sts just worked on hold, sl1, k2tog, k to last 5 sts, ssk twice, k1.
Next Row [WS]: Sl 1, p to end.
Next Row [RS]: Sl1, k2tog, k to last 3 sts, ssk, k1.
Repeat these 2 rows 0[0, 2, 2, 3] times more. 5[7, 7, 8, 8] sts rem.

Shoulder Facing:
Break one strand of yarn and continue in regular stockinette stitch.
Next Row [WS]: P2tog, p to last 2 sts, p2tog tbl.
Work 5 rows even. BO all sts.

Neckline Facings:
Place 23[24, 24, 25, 26] held sts from Right cup on needle. Using one strand, work 6 rows in stockinette st, decreasing one st at keyhole edge every row. BO rem sts.

Left Cup:
Place held sts for Left Cup on needle, and rejoin 2 strands of yarn with WS facing. P all sts in Two-End Knitting. (Continue in Two-End Knitting until instructed to do otherwise.)
Next Row [RS]: Sl 1, k2tog twice, work next row of short row shaping, work to last 3 sts, ssk, k1.
Next Row [WS]: Sl 1, p to end.
Repeat these 2 rows once more.

NOTE: Instructions follow for armhole shaping and neckline shaping (including keyhole); work both sets of instructions at the same time, starting on the next row.

Armhole Shaping:

D and DD cup only:
Next Row [RS]: Sl 1, k2tog twice, k to end.
Next Row [WS]: Sl 1, p to end.

All Sizes:
Next Row [RS]: Sl 1, k2tog, k to end.
Next Row [WS]: Sl 1, p to end.
Repeat these 2 rows 2[3, 3, 1, 3] times more.
Next Row [RS]: Sl 1, k2tog, k to end.
Work 3 rows without armhole shaping.
Repeat these 4 rows 2[2, 2, 4, 3] times more.
Cont working Two-End Knitting, completing keyhole and neckline shaping.

Keyhole and Neckline Shaping:
Work 6 rows even.
Next Row [RS]: Sl 1, k to last st, m1, k1.
Next Row [WS]: Sl 1, p to end.
Repeat these 2 rows twice more.
Work 3 rows even.
Next Row [WS]: P 23[24, 24, 25, 26], place these sts just worked on hold, p to end.
Next Row [RS]: Sl1, k2tog twice, k to last 3 sts, ssk, k1.
Next Row [WS]: Sl 1, p to end.
Next Row [RS]: Sl1, k2tog, k to last 3 sts, ssk, k1.
Repeat these 2 rows 0[0, 2, 2, 3] times more. 5[7, 7, 8, 8] sts rem.

Shoulder Facing:
Break one strand of yarn and continue in regular stockinette stitch.
Next Row [WS]: P2tog, p to last 2 sts, p2tog tbl.
Work 5 rows even. BO all sts.

Neckline Facing:
Place 23[24, 24, 25, 26] held sts on needle. Using one strand, work 6 rows in stockinette st, decreasing one st at keyhole edge every row. BO rem sts.

Inner Cups with Nursing Openings:
NOTE: The Inner Cups section is worked using only one strand of yarn. When directed to join a second strand of yarn, do not begin working in Two-End Knitting this second strand is joined so that the two sides of the piece can be worked simultaneously, each with one strand.
It may be helpful to use a safety pin to mark the RS of the work.


Using same size needles as used for Lower Body, CO 66[72, 78, 84, 90] sts. Work 8[10, 10, 10, 12] rows in garter st.
Next Row [RS]: K 9[10, 10, 11, 11] sts, join a second strand of yarn, BO 15[16, 19, 20, 23], k 9[10, 10, 11, 11], place rem 33[36, 39, 42, 45] sts on hold for Right Inner Cup.

Left Inner Cup:
*Using separate strands of yarn, k across each section of the Inner Cup.
Next row [RS]: k2tog, k to last st, kfb; kfb in first st of second section, k to last 2 sts, k2tog.
Work 3 rows even.
Repeat these 4 rows 6[6, 7, 8, 9] times more. Break yarn attached to second section.**

Next row [RS]: k2tog, k to last st, kfb; kfb in first st of second section, k to last 2 sts, k2tog.

Join Left Inner Cup Sections:
Next Row [RS]: K2tog, k rem sts of first section, using same strand of yarn k to last 4 sts of second section, k2tog twice. 15[17, 17, 19, 19] sts rem.
Next Row [WS]: K all sts.
Repeat these 2 rows 3[4, 4, 5, 5] times more. 6[5, 5, 4, 4] sts rem. BO all sts.

Right Inner Cup:
Place held sts on needle, join yarn with RS facing. K 9[10, 10, 11, 11] sts, join a second strand of yarn, BO 15[16, 19, 20, 23], k 9[10, 10, 11, 11].
Work as for Left Inner Cup from * to **.

Join Right Inner Cup Sections:
Next Row [RS]: K2tog twice, k rem sts of first section, using same strand of yarn k to last 2 sts of second section, k2tog. 15[17, 17, 19, 19] sts rem.
Next Row [WS]: K all sts.
Repeat these 2 rows 3[4, 4, 5, 5] times more. 6[5, 5, 4, 4] sts rem. BO all sts.

 
FINISHING
Fold down Elastic Casing on back. Using sewing needle, sew down long edge of casing, leaving ends open.
Fold down Shoulder and Neckline Facings and sew in place.
Weave in all ends.
Block lightly. I found, amusingly, that for my size, upside-down baby-food bowls were just the right size for blocking the cups.
Sew in Inner Cups, placing bottom of Inner Cup piece 0.5 inch above bottom of Two-End Knitting section.
Insert elastic into Elastic Casing. Stretch elastic slightly so that it will hold back of top in place when top is being worn. Sew ends of elastic in place, then sew ends of casing closed.
Use the plastic lingerie hardware and two one-yard pieces of ribbon to make two adjustable straps. (Use a bra strap as an example of how to assemble the strap.) Use short pieces of ribbon (cut from the long ends of the straps) to form loops for attaching the plastic rings of the straps to the top.
Sew loops to sides of Bra Cups, at base of armhole shaping. Cross straps in back, and sew long ends of straps to tops of Inner Cups.
Try on top. Sew eyes of hook-and-eye closures to straps, slightly above the point where the Bra Cups meet the straps. Sew hooks to insides of Bra Cups. Sew remaining hook-and-eye closure to top of keyhole.

Optional: Larger sizes may wish to reinforce the Inner Cups with seam binding. Sew the seam binding along the outer edges of the cups, on the outer surface of the fabric (eg. so the seam binding will not be touching the skin).

 



 

ABOUT THE DESIGNER

Josie is a full-time mom in Belleville, ON, where her husband, toddler, two cats plus a large bag of yarn vie for her time.