These 7 Delightful Lacy Summertime Tops Will Help You Beat the Heat

Finding the summer heat stifling? Try one of these 7 adorable free knitting patterns for summer shirts to help keep you cool

As I write this, it’s still very hot in Oklahoma. (I hear this is the case around the United States, and many parts of Europe as well.)

This very hot summer has produced a strange little problem, and definitely a first-world problem if ever there was one!

The Tank Top Problem

You see, I have accumulated quite a few tank tops. They’re great tank tops with adorable spaghetti straps and fabulous shelf bras so I don’t have to worry about wearing a separate bra.

However, for some reason these tank tops alone don’t feel as comfortable as they used to. If I sit in any seat that isn’t upholstered and has a back, all that exposed skin on my upper torso is poked and prodded by the seatback.

(I suspect the problem is that I’m in my 40s and have much more sensitive skin than I used to. Sigh.)

Anyway… I don’t want to get rid of my tank tops, because in Oklahoma summer heat they’re very practical. I’m thinking that my solution is a lovely lacy top that I would ordinarily not wear because my bra would be exposed for all the world to see, but would work perfectly over a tank top.

A top like this would also make a terrific cover-up for days at the beach or pool!

The Solution: Openwork Summer Shirt

So I set about finding a collection of free patterns for just such openwork summer shirts.

I needed the patterns to meet a few criteria.

1) They need to be almost completely open. A few bits of solid fabric here and there are okay, but two or three rows or columns of eyelets would not do. These are meant for Oklahoma summers… which means they need to be airy. Bring on that openwork!

2) They need to be loose. No explanation necessarily, I trust.

3) They need to be relatively easy. I’m slowly starting to incorporate more lace into my knitting repertoire, but I’m still not a confident lace knitter, so I really need something as easy as possible.

Fortunately, the Ravelry pattern browser did not fail me, and so for your viewing pleasure I offer 7 free knitting patterns for openwork summer shirts. For all of you who suffer the same tank-top issue I struggle with, or for those who need a swimsuit cover-up, these are for you!

Free Knitting Patterns for Openwork Summer Shirts

Malena by DROPS Design: This is a pretty, flowing lace top with a lovely triangular-shaped lace pattern. 

Lucky Star Tee: This is an even airier, more open pattern with a bit more shape.

Mariela: Another DROPS Design pattern, this one creates a pretty diamond-shaped lace pattern.

Red Heart Diamond Girl Top
Red Heart Diamond Girl Top
Photo: Yarnspirations

Red Heart Diamond Girl Top: Like the previous pattern, this one also creates a diamond-shaped lace pattern, though the lace stitch is much larger. It’s probably the least-airy pattern in this collection, so I don’t know if it’ll work for my purposes, but it’s so pretty!

For more summer knitting fun, check out the pattern collections in my Spring/Summer Patterns category!

Lacy Top: This is probably the most intricate pattern on this page. It’s more cropped than most of these, and it also has unique detail around the neckline.

Cibber summertime top
Photo: Berroco

Cibber: This type of shirt is exactly what I had in mind when I started searching! I just noticed that it’s for an “experienced” knitter (I’m not sure if that means me, since I know how inexperienced I am with lace), but just look how open it is! I may regret it, but I think I may have to try it. (Gulp. Pray for me.)

Copacabana - Summertime top
Photo: Hilary Latimer

Copacabana: The only sleeveless top in the collection, this one is also unique because you have two options. One option leaves the sides open (perfect for a hot summer day!); the other option has you seam the sides closed to make it more like the other tops on this page. The openwork pattern is very simple, and you’re encouraged to use lots of colors!

I’m thinking one of these tops will be my “reward” for my current round of charity knitting. Which one is your favorite? Would you use one of these over a tank top or as a swimsuit cover-up? Or would you never wear one for any reason?

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  1. You are a constant source of inspiration and encouragement. I decided to spend this summer knitting for myself and family. I am almost finished with Skywalker a lace shawl from Craftsy by Laura Nelkin and Cloe a lace jacket for my daughter-in-law. They have both been fun and challenging. I have increased my lace skills incredibly. I can knit sections of both without using the pattern!!
    Probably going back to knitting squares for blanket charities. I want to knit through all four Barbara Walker treasuries of knit/purl and cable patterns. I also knit hats for the Salvation Army to distribute. I would like to try to knit something for our troops. But that will probably have to wait until after Christmas since I have four grandkids projects in the UPO file.

    1. That’s awesome, Patricia. I’m so excited that you’ve improved your lace skills! That’s something I’m trying to do as well. Congratulations on all your finished projects!

      Thanks so much for your very kind comments. I greatly appreciate it. Folks like you are why I do this! 🙂