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Knitting to create the perfect fit

by Fiona Stevenson

I hope you were encouraged to jump into lace knitting with both needles after reading my post yesterday, how to make lace knitting fun! I told you it was possible to love lace knitting.

Today I’m sharing with you some of my secrets to making a top that fits you perfectly – not someone the size of the model in the photo, but beautifully, uniquely shaped you.

This is me (always with my knitting). I love my body.

Every Body Is:

  • Perfect just the way it is, today
  • Unique
  • Precious
  • The right size
  • Beautiful
  • Powerful

I’ve been called fat all my life. For most of my life, I thought this meant I was bad, ugly, and lazy. I don’t believe these lies anymore, and knitting has helped me turn my beliefs around. When I learned how to make my own clothes I realized that I could make garments that fit me instead of feeling bad for not fitting clothes that were designed and manufactured to clothing industry standards. Nobody is average. Everybody is unique. With years of knitting experience, I have learned to adjust patterns to fit my curvy, hipcentric shape.

In today’s post, I’ll share with you the adjustments I made to the Graphite Tank top pattern, and how I used Fibra Natura Unity yarn to my advantage in creating a garment that fits my body perfectly.

Knitting The Graphite Tank top in the exquisite Unity yarn

I love my Graphite Tank tunic made to fit my unique, perfect body.

Find a design that will suit you

Choose a design that works for you.

The first step in getting the right fit is to choose a design that works for your body type. I’m a triangle or pear shape, so A-line garments that flare out at the waist work well for me. I chose the Graphite Tank top because it’s an a-line design which means it’s already designed in a way that suits me. Click here to get more information on different body shapes. Before you even consider casting on the first stitch take time to truthfully and with great kindness assess your body to decide if the pattern you are thinking of using will compliment your shape. If I’m not sure, I’ll often go to the pattern in Ravelry to see if someone else of a similar size and shape has knit it to see how it looks on them.

Know your measurements

Taking proper measurements before you start any pattern is key to ensuring a proper fit. To do this accurately it’s best to have a friend help you. Check out the video to see how it’s done.

Yes, you have to gauge

Nobody wants to take the time to knit it, but you must, must, must make a gauge swatch! What is the point of taking your measurements if you’re not going to knit to measure? Take the extra time and care to knit, block and accurately measure a gauge swatch before you cast on the first stitch. Click here to find out how to measure knit gauge.

Not enough stitches to get gauge – go up a needle size or two. Too many stitches – go down, and try again. Yes, I’m serious; you’ll have to knit another one.

Nothing will help more to ensure you get the right fit. Really. I’m not kidding. Go do it. I mean it.

Changing the fit from 3x to 1x in one top

Making the Graphite Tank fit me right!

The Graphite Tank uses only bust and length measurements to size the top. Unfortunately for me and my fellow pear-shapers out there, our key measurements are the lower waist and hips as our bust size is smaller than this area. Taking my hip/lower waist size into account I determined I would need to knit a size 3X at the bottom of the tank top, but I would need to go down a size at the by the bust, and one size more over the shoulders.

To fit me, I needed to make a few important adjustments. The first was to cast on for a 3x size since this top is knit bottom-up meaning I was casting on at the hips. The biggest challenge was to adapt the pattern as it moved over the lower waist up towards the bust. To make my size decrease, immediately after the lace section, I switched from 4mm to 3.75mm needles. Changing needle sizes is an easy way to adjust the size of a project.

I completed the required decreases for the 3x then needed to decrease ten more stitches to get to the 2x size for my upper waist and bust. To make the smaller size happen I added 5 more decrease rows every fourth row.

Finally, to fit my shoulders I decreased one extra row to get my shoulder seam to the 1x size.

Here’s the long and the short of it

I’m also quite long in the body, and I wanted this top to be a tunic to wear with all my fabulous leggings. This meant more knitting *groan* before I could make the bind off for the underarms. I knit 23½” instead of the 17¾” called for by the pattern. It’s very important to note that I measured in the front of my body not at the side to get my length measurement from underarm to thighs. As the fabric falls over my belly, which does not lie flat like my sides, there is extra fabric needed to fall at the point I want on my lower body. If you have a luxurious belly, try taking a measurement at your side from your underarm to your upper thigh then over your stomach in the front. You’ll see what I mean.

Use blocking to your advantage

In the photo at the top with me in my Graphite Tank tunic, you may see that it is unblocked. The photo at the bottom is the top after blocking. As you can see the unblocked version fits very nicely. I didn’t want to mess with that fit, but lace needs blocking to make it really come to life. I decided to pull my lace downwards when I blocked it out instead of adding width to it. As you can see, it came out beautifully.

Although my top fit right off the needles, blocking can add extra inches to a project that seems a little small. Yarn that has wool in it can block up to a third larger than before blocking if you can believe it! The wool content in Unity Yarn was easy to block, so I imagine you could add some extra size to your project, especially in the lace section, if needed.

Blocking the lace downward to add length.

Tomorrow is my final post about the Graphite Tank in Unity yarn, and it’s the icing on the cake. I’ll tell you about some of the finishing techniques I used to pull it all together and add a little extra “wow”.

This is part 4 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 3: How to make lace fun to knit!

Go to part 5: 4 finishing techniques that take your knitting from homemade to handcrafted


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