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Free Knitting Pattern: Directions for Tulip Drape Top

Updated on March 8, 2016
purl3agony profile image

An avid knitter for over 10 years, Donna enjoys sharing her free patterns and knitting experience with other fiber fans and yarn lovers.

knitted tulip wrap top  (c)purl3agony 2012
knitted tulip wrap top (c)purl3agony 2012

This light, floaty top is based loosely on a wrap I saw on the Anthropologie website. I knew I could knit something similar, but I also wanted to make some changes to the design. Many people have asked how I made this, so I put together my notes. But this is not really a “pattern” - it's more of a description of how I designed and knitted this top. I’m sure there are many ways to create a similar garment, but this is how I made mine. This is definitely a project for an experience knitter, or at least an adventurous beginner who understands gauge and calculating stitches per inch. For further help with knitting abbreviations and terms, visit

To follow these directions, you first should choose your yarn and needles because you will need to calculate your gauge and shaping before starting. Keep in mind, you want to use a yarn with some drape.

First Step

The first step is to take your measurements: 1. your hips across the back from left to right, 2. your shoulders across the back from left to right, 3. length from shoulder seam to wherever you want the top to hit at your hip, and 4. the width of the front drape panels (deciding how far you want the neck to drape). I figured this out by holding a piece of fabric or a towel at one shoulder (where my shoulder seam would meet the sleeve), letting it drape as I wanted to the other shoulder, then measuring how wide the fabric was that created that drape. As you are draping your fabric, make sure it is covering your bust area as you want it.

As always, it is important that you swatch and know your gauge – this will determine how many increases and decreases you will do to shape your top.

I knitted the back section from the bottom up and the front panels from the top down. This way, I was able to shape the curve of the front drape panels. I also kept track of the number of rows, and where I knitted my increases and decreases on the back piece so I could match them when I knitted the front panels.

My Materials

7 skeins of Classic Elite’s Firefly in Hyacinth (75% viscose, 25% linen) 155 yrds per skein

#4 and #5 circular needle

Usual knitting notions

My Measurements

for reference

Shoulders = 15” = 90 stitches

Hips = 21 1/8” = 126 stitches

Length = 23” = 184 rows

Drape = 19” = 107 sts (this you can fiddle with a bit to work out the math)

Gauge = 24 x 32 (6 x 8 sts per inch)

Trellis Lace Pattern

in multiples of 6 sts + 5 (you might need to add some knitted stitches at the beginning and end of each row depending on how many stitches you cast on)

Row 1 (RS): K4, *yo, sl1, k2tog, psso, yo, k3; rep from * to last st, k1.

Row 2: Purl.

Row 3: K1, *yo, sl1, k2tog, psso, yo, k3; rep from * to last 4 sts, yo, sl1, k2tog, psso, yo, k1.

Row 4: Purl.

Repeat these 4 rows.

Back Piece (worked bottom to top)

For back, you need to calculate how many decreases and increases ( including binding off and shaping armholes) will create the shape you want for your top and still decrease from the number of stitches you cast on for the bottom edge to the number you need to fit at the shoulder. This is what I did:

CO 126 st on #4 needle, work back and forth in 5 rows of garter st, then switch to the Trellis Lace pattern on a #5 needle for 16 rows (roughly two inches).Then switched to St st and knit straight to row 28.

On Row 28, (roughly 3 inches), decrease 2 st. Continue to decrease 2 sts on these rows:

Row 40 – dec 2 sts

Row 50 – dec 2 sts

Row 60 – dec 2 sts

Row 68 – dec 2 sts

Row 76 – dec 2 sts

Row 84 – dec 2 sts

Row 92 – dec 2 sts

Row 100 – dec 2 sts

After 100 rows, you should have 108 sts left. Keep counting rows. Knit straight for 10 rows. Then on row 110, inc 2 sts. Knit straight for a total of 117 rows.

Shape armholes: On next row, bind off for armhole each side at the beg of every row: 6 sts 1 time, 2 sts 1 time, 1 st 1 times = 92 sts left. When piece measures 22 1/2” from cast on edge, bind off middle 58 sts for neck and complete each shoulder separately. Dec 1 st on neckline on next row TWICE = 16 sts left on each shoulder. Bind off when piece measures 23” from bottom.

drape on tulip wrap top  (c) purl3agony 2012
drape on tulip wrap top (c) purl3agony 2012

Left Drape Panel (worked top to bottom)

For this design, I found other patterns that used p1, k2tog, p1, k2tog edging to create a uniform decrease and a modified garter edge to prevent curling. I just needed to figure out how often to do the decrease on my edge so that the width of my front drape panel would gently decrease down the length of my top.

Now, this is where the math comes in. First, I did these calculations – I took the number of stitches I needed for the width of one of my drape panels, in my case 107 sts. I added in the number of stitches that were bound off for one armhole (because I knitted the front panels from the top down, I ADDED on the sts from my decreases for the back piece and SUBTRACTED my sts for the increases to match the shaping of the back). I continued to add and subtract the number of stitches for the shaping of the back piece. Here are my calculations:

Started with 107sts for top of drape panel + 9 sts for armhole – 1 st for chest inc + 9 sts for waist shaping decs = 124 sts.

Since I was planning to do 2 decs in each decrease row, I could divide the number of sts by 2. Now I knew I needed to do roughly 62 dec rows (124 sts divided by 2 = 62). And I knew I had knitted 180 rows for the back piece (this is why I had counted my rows). So I divided 180 by 62 and go roughly three. So I did my decrease row every third row. (Note: If I knitted this again, I might add about 5 sts to my original width measurement for the drape panel. That way, I would have a few sts left at the bottom for a bit more coverage at my hips.)

And since I was knitting a decrease row every third row, I needed to figure out how to do it on the RS and WS of my piece. I also wanted to bring some of the trellis lace pattern to the front drape. After much swatching, I decided to repeat one row of the pattern EVERY FOURTH ROW. With the regular decreasing, this also created a staggering shift to the pattern which I liked.

So, this is what I did…


On RS – Start: p, k2tog, p, k2tog, knit rest of row

On WS - purl until last 6 sts: k, p2tog, k, p2tog.

Regular non-decrease row (garter edge)

On RS – Start: p1, k1, p1, knit rest of row.

On WS – purl until last 4 sts: k1, p1, k1, p1.

Pattern row (always on RS)

Do decrease or 3 st garter edge (depending on whether you are on a decrease row or a regular row), then:

K2, *yo, sl1, k2tog, psso, yo, k2; rep from * ONE MORE TIME, then yo, sl1, k2tog, psso, yo, knit rest of row.

For my top:

CO 107 sts using backwards loop. Knit 3 rows of garter, decreasing two sts on Row 2, then continuing to dec 2 sts, every THIRD row. AT THE SAME TIME, knit pattern row above EVERY 4TH row.

Remember to add on sts for armhole and hip increases following back panel pattern above. Finished piece needs to match in rows and overall length.

Right Drape Panel (worked top to bottom)

Knitted the same as the left panel, only you are now putting the decreases and pattern edge AT THE END OF EACH RS ROW.


On RS with pattern – Knit to last 21 sts, knit pattern (see below), the p, ssk, p, ssk.

On RS with NO pattern – Knit to last 6 sts, then p, ssk, p, ssk.

On WS – Start row with k, p2tog, k, p2tog, purl rest of row

Regular row

On RS with pattern – Knit to last 19 sts, knit pattern (see below), then p1, k1, p1, k1.

On RS with NO pattern – Knit to last 4 sts, then p1, k1, p1, k1.

On WS – Start row with k, p1, k, p1, purl rest of row


*Yo, sl1, k2tog, psso, yo, k2; rep from * ONE MORE TIME, then yo, sl1, k2tog, psso, yo, K2.


I blocked each of these pieces, gently shaping the curved edge of the front panels while pinning them. Then I seamed the pieces together. You might want to pin the drape panels at the shoulder and try it on to get the front coverage and the look you like. I actually pulled the pointy-end of each drape panel up about an inch and seamed them at the shoulders to bring the panels in and hug my body a bit more. (See photo below).

pick up stitches for floaty sleeve  (c) purl3agony 2012
pick up stitches for floaty sleeve (c) purl3agony 2012

For the Sleeves

I chose to pick up stitches around each armhole and knit drapey, fluttery sleeves. You could also, of course, knit them separately and shape them however you choose. Here’s what I did:

Picked up 102 stitches using #5 dpns, putting a marker at the center of the underarm. Knitted 21 rows in the round.


On rnd 22, increased 2 sts in the underarm.

On rnd 24, knitted I rnd using Row 3 of Trellis Lace pattern (see pattern at top)

On rnd 26, increased 2 sts in the underarm.

On rnd 28, pattern row, dropping k1 from beginning of pattern(start at *)

On rnd 30, increased 2 sts in the underarm.

On rnd 32, pattern row, start with k2 INSTEAD OF k1.

On rnd 35, purl rnd.

On rnd 37, purl rnd.

On rnd 39, purl rnd.

Rnd 40 – bind off.

When the sleeves were completed, I laid the top down and blocked just the sleeves, pinning them and spraying them to block.


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    • purl3agony profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Herron 

      5 years ago from USA

      Hi Kim! Thanks! This pattern is on Ravelry and links back to the pattern page here. I'm so happy that other people enjoy this pattern. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 

      5 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      This is a flattering design for most any figure. You need to post your lovely pattern to Ravelry if you are a member so more knitters can find it.

    • purl3agony profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Herron 

      6 years ago from USA

      Thanks, Heather! This was actually my first design and it's still a favorite. This top is light enough (especially knit in linen) to throw over almost anything and be comfortable. I'm glad you like it! And thanks so much for your comments!

    • Heather Says profile image

      Heather Lavelle 

      6 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      I love how light and pretty this is! It's so fashion-forward (all of your designs are) compared to what I used to think of when I heard the terms "knit" or "knitting". I would love to wear something like this :)

    • purl3agony profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Herron 

      7 years ago from USA

      Hi LaThing - Thanks so much! I'm sure a similar top could be made from fabric. I think you would have to choose material that has good drape to it and then construct it by fitting and draping it on a dress form. Thanks again for commenting and stopping by :)

    • LaThing profile image


      7 years ago from From a World Within, USA

      This is a beautiful idea! I haven't knitted for ages, but seeing this makes me feel like taking it up again, LOL....... You did a great job. I wonder how fabric wrap would look with this same pattern. Thanks for sharing :)

    • purl3agony profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Herron 

      7 years ago from USA

      Hi KDeus - Thanks so much!

      Ktrapp - Wow! Thanks for reading. I appreciate your comments and compliments :)

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      While I don't knit at all, I couldn't help but read through how you came up with this creative sweater design. It's fun and beautiful.

    • KDeus profile image

      Keely Deuschle 

      7 years ago from Florida

      Love this one, too! Voted up and pinned!


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