Pia Sleeveless Vest

Knitting blog this time!  Here is my Pia vest pattern.  At the moment it is just written in sizes small and medium.  As soon as I have helped one of my larger friends to make it up I will be able to post instructions for the large size too.


Pia Sleeveless Vest

Design by Deborah Kemball copyright 2016




It’s the simplicity of the shape which appeals to me and makes it a modern and fresh take on the sleeveless tank top of yore. It uses the same needle size throughout (3.75 mm) and the same stitch too (stocking stitch). The picot edge is the only decoration. I feel this could be made more of a feature with a contrast colour on the underside and for the first row after the picot row.

I made the vest especially to take advantage of Yana’s hand painted beauty in Artfil’s Mericana merino DK. The simple shape shows off the yarn to its best advantage. It is worked in the round to the armholes and then the back and front are worked separately until being joined at the shoulder on the reverse with three needle cast off.


I like to wear my round necks quite high so the smaller version has a neckline like the one I am modelling above. The medium size has a slightly lower neck. I have written this pattern in my slightly chatty way instead of traditional instructions but I hope they are still easy to follow!



Knitting Gauge: 24 stitches and 32 rows for 4” or10 cm square with 3.75 mm needles

Requirements: 3 skeins Artfil Mericana DK Merino for size small, 4 skeins for medium. Stitch markers
Circular needles for body and shorter length circular needles for neckline and sleeve cuffs. (I use the interchangeable cord and needle system)

First size is for size small (32” bust) as modelled by me above and second is for size medium ( 36” bust).

Side by side you can see the difference:




Small Length 21”, Armhole 6”, neck drop 2”, chest 32”

Medium Length 23”, Armhole 7”, neck drop 2 1/2”, chest 36”

In the following instructions small size is first/ then medium size

Cast on 190/210 stitches with 3.75 mm needles – when casting on use two needles together for large stitch. I use a DPN sock needle along with the 3.75 mm needle. This gives a larger cast on stitch which makes it easier to pick up when you either knit or sew down the edge.



Here is the lovely loose cast on stitch once the second needle is removed:


Place beginning of round marker and join in the round taking care not to twist. (TIP – you can always knit backwards and forwards for a few rows before joining in the round to be absolutely sure that you haven’t twisted the round.

Knit 7 rows
YO K2tog to end of round

(NB YO – Yarn over is sometimes written YRN – yarn round needle. They are the same)

For the row count from the next row is now Row 1
Knit 8 rows.

Row 9: Knit the round picking up correlating cast on edge stitches and knitting them together with the stitches of row 9. This is easy if you make sure your first knit stitch is joined with the first cast on stitch. I find it easier to place the cast on edge stitches on a straight DPN needle in a smaller gauge as I go, about 20 cast on stitches at a time. If you find this onerous you can always sew the cat on edge down later.


As you can see here both versions look pretty neat. The first photo shows reverse of vest when the edge is knit together on row 9, the second when it is sewn down after completion.




Divide the round in half with second stitch marker for 95/105 stitches (front) and 95/105 (back) Knit in the round until you want to start shaping – i.e. – if you want to adjust the length this is where to do it. I start the shaping on row 36 for small, 44 for medium.

On Rows 36/44, 48/56 and 60/68 you will decrease 4 stitches across the round (ie every 12th row) . I like the shaping stitches to be about 6 stitches from either side of the side marker.

ie After beginning of round marker knit 6 stitches then ssk. Knit to 8 stitches before next marker K2tog then knit 6 stitches before marker, slip marker and repeat on the back.

After row 60/68 is completed knit 30/32 rows straight
Now we are going to increase four stitches across the round every ten rows. I use M1R and M1L to do this.

From beginning of round marker knit 6 stitches M1R knit to 7th stitch before side marker M1L knit to marker. Repeat on other side. Knit this increase down on rows 90/100,100/110 and 110/120 i.e. every ten rows

Divide for front and back on Row 116/130
On row 116/130 starting 6/7 stitches before the beginning of the round marker cast off 12/14 stitches. Work to 6/7 stitches before next marker and cast off 12 (14) stitches.

Work back first.

Back 83/91 stitches
Cast off 2 stitches at beginning of next two rows

Then working ONLY on right side cast off 1 stitch on either end of the row like this. Knit 1 SSK knit to three stitches before end of row K2Tog Knit1
Repeat this on every right side row a total of four times
Work three rows and then work decrease once more on the fourth row

This leaves 69/77 stitches
Work straight for 38/42 rows before shaping neck. Knit 17/19 Cast off central 35/39 stitches Knit 17/19


Work each side of neck separately

Decrease one stitch on neck edge every other row twice (ie four rows knit)

To do this on left shoulder on right side knit 1 SSK knit to end every other row twice. When working on right shoulder knit to three stitches before neck, K2tog knit 1 on right side every other row.

Knit one row, break yarn and keep remaining 15/17 stitches on stitch holder.

83/91 stitches
Rejoin thread and work front as back up to the armholes. Armhole shaping is same as front.

Round neck is worked over 20 rows for small size, 25 rows for medium. This means for the small size start neck shaping on 23rd row from the end of armhole shaping and for medium size start shaping 18 rows from armhole shaping.

Knit 24/26 stitches, cast off 21/25 using stretchy cast off, knit 24/26 stitches.

Working on one side at a time cast off two stitches at neck edge twice then 1 stitch every other row until 15/17 shoulder stitches remain. Work to match back in row count i.e. about 4 straight rows before joining shoulder for small size and 11 rows for medium. Make sure front and back match exactly in row count.

When front shoulders are completed either keep stitches on your long circular needle (which is what I do) or transfer to smaller DPNs. Turn the vest inside out and join the shoulder together on the reverse using three needle cast off. Although it is the reverse, i.e. purl side, I use a knit stitch to cast off. Tip: If you work towards the neckline the loose threads will be easier to sew in.


This is how I pick up edges for the neatest look. I use a much smaller and sharper circular needle to pick up and I pick up every single edge stitch starting in middle of the bottom of the armhole. When I have completed picking up the round I place a beginning of round marker on my short cord 3.75 mm circular needle and knit the stitches from the smaller needle and knitting every 4th and 5th picked up stitch together. Work 4 more rows in stocking stitch and then cast off with a stretch cast off.

NB I do not give an exact stitch count but if you follow my instructions you will be fine!

To do stretch cast off: knit first stitch then place knit stitch back on left needle, knit two stitches together through back of loops, place knit stitch back on left needle, knit two stitches together through back loops and repeat until you have cast off the whole edge.

Stretchy cast off gives a lovely edge to the armhole:


For the neckline I start at the back of the left shoulder and pick up the stitches in the round with a smaller needle but when knitting onto the 3.75mm needles I knit every stitch around the neck except for the across the back of the neck when I knit the 7th and 8th stitches together.

NB I do not give an exact stitch count but if you follow my instructions you will be fine!

Knit 4 or 5 more rows in stocking stitch depending on how deep you want the neck edge to be and cast off in stretch cast off as before.



Sew in ends.

Sew in ends and block (or iron with a hot steam iron which is how I do it!)



8 thoughts on “Pia Sleeveless Vest

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