Modifying a knitting pattern to remove bulk makes this jacket a nice fit

This series of posts takes an in-depth look at knitting with Bella Chenille Big Glimmer yarn by Universal Yarn. The sister line to Bella Chenille Big, Glimmer has 6% metallized polyester fibers that give it a twinkly quality reminiscent of a dark sky on a clear night.

Bella Chenille Big Glimmer in Whispers, a soft gray

So far, I’ve covered many aspects of working with a super bulky yarn: sampling, joining in yarns and weaving in ends, and yesterday, allowing enough ease. The latter post also includes the pattern for Snug as a Bug, a truly oversized jacket that is both a cozy home and dress-up fashion statement!

Stylishly belted, or casually unbelted, Snug as a Bug makes a cozy, warm jacket.

In this post, I share my experience and adaptations for Snug as a Bug. My goals are to remove some of the bulk under the arms and shape the sleeves to make them more practical to wear when knitting.

I cast on the stitches for the back. About 6” [15cm] in, I discovered that my tension was not quite what it was in my sample! According to the schematic, the back should measure 35¼” across, and mine was barely making 29”! What the?

Back in my second post , I noted that when working with larger size needles, it can be a challenge to get the exact tension because of the increments between needle sizes. Here’s another example of how sampling can save you time – because I made my samples, I already knew that going up to size 17 [12mm] needles would leave me with a more open fabric, which might sag more than I want.

A jacket with a 58” [148cm] total circumference still gives me plenty of ease, so I forged on. Before I leave this subject, though, I want to remind you that even in a ridiculously oversized garment, tension is important! Also, gauge swatches save time.

Even though I’d have been closer to gauge with the larger, pink sample, sometimes it’s better to go with the fabric you prefer and adjust your pattern (or expectations) to suit.

To reduce some of the bulk at the underarm, I notched out the back and front pieces to make a square armhole. The sleeves themselves were very large at almost 37½” [95cm] wide – almost 19” [48cm] deep once attached to the garment, so I made them narrower – 32” [80cm] wide, giving an armhole depth of 16” [40cm]. This is still a lot as the armhole depth on my loosest-fitting winter coat is only 13” [33cm].

I decided to add strength to the shoulders by picking up the stitches at the top and knitting the sleeves down. To add to my future knitting comfort, I also decided to taper the sleeves. This was done by decreasing at both ends of every 4th row. I even incorporated a decrease row into the 6 garter stitch rows at the bottom of the sleeves. If you want to make bottom-up sleeves, I will share that I ended with 37 stitches on my cast-off edge.

I adjusted my copy of the pattern to look much like the red lines in the schematic below.

To change the fit of the Snug as a Bug jacket, I notched out armholes, extended the sleeves to accommodate the notches, and tapered the lower section of the sleeve.

Because of my gauge discovery, I had to re-jig my numbers, but only a little.

Another small adjustment I made was to the pleat at the back of the neck. Rather than sewing it after the fact, I decided to knit that pleat in, knowing that this would make the pleat very sturdy. To do this, all I had to do was rearrange the stitches at the center back.

I took the 8 center stitches and numbered them as they appeared in knitting order on the left needle: 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

For the first half of the pleat, I put the first stitch (1) onto a stitch holder and held it at the front, did an ssk with stitches 2 and 3, then an ssk with stitches 1 and 4. For the other half, I put stitch 5 on a stitch holder and held it at the back of the work, did a k2tog with stitches 7 and 6, then did a k2tog with stitches 8 and 5.

To finish the garment, I used mattress stitch for the seams, which, given the thickness of the yarn, went relatively easily.

Overall, I’m very pleased with the finished product. The sleeves are still larger than I had hoped and the armhole depth could have been shortened even more, for my 5’2” [163cm] frame. My gauge faux-pas left me with a jacket that has a good, sturdy fabric that’ll be disinclined to sag, and still fits me with sufficient ease.

My modified version of Snug as a Bug

I have more plans for Bella Chenille Big Glimmer. I have a few balls of pink, a couple of white, and one or two of gray. I want to take one of my top-down sweater patterns and make a little capelet to go over my shoulders for when I’m watching TV on nights when Snug as a Bug is going to be too warm. Spring is coming!

This is part 5 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 4: What you need to know about knitting with ease (trendy pattern – free)

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