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How to Knit a Free Tunic Sweater

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Tunic sweater
 Anna Johanson 


  • Yield: 1 sweater
  • Skill Level: Intermediate

Sometimes you want to knit a sweater that’s not too plain, but not too complicated. This cap-sleeve summer tunic sweater requires no shaping or complicated seaming but has a lacy hem as a beautiful detail. You’ll love the loose and comfortable fit, as well as the mindless stockinette stitch, worked in the round. Because the shape is straight, you can adjust the sizing without much trouble.

Graceful Waves Knitting Swatch
 The Spruce / Mollie Johanson


This tunic has a straight, loose fit with eight inches of positive ease. 

XS (S, M, L, XL, XXL, 3XL). Shown in size M on a 36-inch bust.

Tunic circumference: 36 (40, 44, 48, 52, 56, 60) inches.

Tunic length: 26 (28, 30, 32, 32, 33, 33) inches.


25 stitches and 34 rows to four-inch in stockinette stitch on US 4 needles. 24 stitches and 24 rows to four-inch in pattern stitch. 

For best results, knit a larger swatch. Then wash and block your swatch in the same way you will wash and block the sweater.



This sweater starts with two separate lace sections for the hem. These sections come together and you knit the torso with stockinette stitch in the round. Finally, it splits to form the armholes before grafting together at the shoulders. 

What You’ll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • US 4 circular needles
  • Stitch markers
  • Tapestry needle


  • 2 (2, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4) skeins of Cheeky Merino Joy by Rosy Green Wool or approx. 615 (700, 840, 980, 1080, 1140, 1240) yards of sportweight yarn
  • Extra cable or waste yarn


  1. Cast On and Work the First Lace SectionKnit the First Lace SectionUsing the long tail cast-on method, cast on 109 (121, 133, 145, 157, 169, 181) stitches for the back lace section. Rows 1–4: Knit across the row.Row 5: K1, *(K2tog) 2 times, (YO, K1) 3 times, YO, (SSK) 2 times, K1; repeat from * across row.Row 6: Purl across the row.Row 7: K1, *(K2tog) 2 times, (YO, K1) 3 times, YO, (SSK) 2 times, K1; repeat from * across row.Row8: Purl across the row.Row 9: K1, *(K2tog) 2 times, (YO, K1) 3 times, YO, (SSK) 2 times, K1; repeat from * across row.Row 10: Purl across the row.Row 11: K1, *(K2tog) 2 times, (YO, K1) 3 times, YO, (SSK) 2 times, K1; repeat from * across row.Row 12: Purl across the row.Repeat rows 1–12 two more times for a total of 36 rows. Cut the yarn, leaving a tail to weave in later.
  2. Cast On and Work the Second Lace SectionTwo lacy knit sections of a tunicUsing the long tail cast-on method, cast on 109 (121, 133, 145, 157, 169, 181) stitches for the front lace section. Add this to the same circular knitting needle, making sure that you work so that the right sides of both pieces are facing the same direction. Work the second section in the same way as the first, but do not cut the yarn.
  3. Knit the Torso in the RoundA ball of yarn and two needles next to a torso of a tunicAfter working the last purl row of the front lace section, knit across the row. Place a stitch marker on the needle. Instead of turning your work, knit across the back lace section to join the two pieces on one side. When you reach the end of this section, place a stitch marker on the needle. Join up with the beginning of the front section by knitting the first stitch.Working in the round and slipping the markers as needed, knit every stitch until the stockinette section measures 11 (12, 13, 14, 14, 15, 15) inches.If you wish to alter the length of the sweater, you can work more or fewer rows here or in the next step.
  4. Split and Knit the Front and BackKnitting the front and back of the tunicStop knitting at the stitch marker at the end of the back. Place the back stitches (between the stitch markers) on an extra cable or piece of waste yarn. Working on the front stitches, work in the following pattern:Row 1: Knit across the row. Row 2: K3, P to last 3 stitches, K3.Repeat rows 1 and 2 for 9 (10, 11, 12, 12, 12, 12) inches. If you wish to alter the length of the sweater or the loose, open armholes, you can work more or fewer rows here.Rows 3–6: Knit across the row.Cut the yarn, leaving a tail of about 3 yards. Place the front piece on an extra cable or piece of waste yarn, then transfer the back stitches to the needles. Repeat the pattern above for the back section. Place the front stitches on the circular needle with the back stitches.
  5. Graft the Shoulders TogetherGrafting the shoulders of a tunic together with three needlesUsing the active yarn, graft the first shoulder together using the kitchener stitch. Graft 30 (35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60) stitches together. 
  6. Bind Off Stitches on the NecklineTwo knitting needles in chartreuse yarnWorking on the back of the neck, bind off 49 (51, 53, 55, 57, 59, 61) stitches. End off the yarn. Turn the sweater around and repeat the shoulder grafting, this time working with the long tail of yarn. Bind off the remaining stitches.Weave in all the ends and wet block the sweater.

Wearing the Graceful Waves Tunic Sweater

A woman wearing a finished version of the Graceful Waves Tunic Sweater Pattern
 Anna Johanson

This sweater looks great with a tank underneath and a pair of slim jeans. It also pairs well with pencil skirts. And because it’s light, you can wear it throughout the summer or layer it in the winter.

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