Wanting to knit a sweater that fits, we measured a sweater that fits. How obvious is that? We then compared that finished measurement to the measurements for finished chest size as given in the pattern. We also talked about how lucky it would be if the pattern had exactly our size but what to do if it didn't.
That knowledge in itself will give you a pretty darn-good fitting sweater. But being the creator of your own sweater, you can make it even better. You can accommodate the dowager's hump, the big bust, the narrow waist, the big belly and shorter or longer garments.
Length is an easy adjustment. Simply knit more or fewer rows/inches than the pattern suggests. But I caution you - whether working on the sweater body or the sleeves, these adjustments MUST come prior to the armhole. Recently, a friend was knitting a beautiful baby dress for her new grand daughter. She had finished the front and showed it to me, saying " I wanted it longer so just knit an extra inch once I got to the bodice." Oops. That won't work. The bodice contains the armhole. Extra length there would make a sleeveless garment baggy in the armhole. And if there are sleeves to be fitted into that armhole ..... well, you can see, it won't work. Any changes in length must happen before the armhole.
Now, what about those other lumps and bumps you might want to accommodate? Let's look at fitting the person with the rounded back.
Sweaters that are the same length in both back and front will ride up in the back of a wearer with a rounded upper back. The cure for this is more length in the back than in the front. Knit a sweater that when worn, appears to be the same length for both front and back but when laid flat and measured, you see that the back is longer than the front.
How is that done, you ask? Through short rows. Short rows, worked only part way across the row will lengthen the centre back while keeping the back, side seams the same length as those of the front. Accurate seaming can still happen but at the same time, the sweater has extra length in the back. The sweater currently on my needles
Waist shaping, is also easy to accomplish. A few inches before you reach the waist section of the sweater, put a decrease just before the side seam . Repeat this decrease every inch or so until you reach the waist. Then reverse the process by increasing every inch or so. And remember, there is no law that says you must have the same number of stitches at the hem of your sweater as at your bust. If you are large busted, keep increasing as you knit towards the bust, until you are happy with the measurement.
There is also no knitting law that says the back needs to be the same width as the front. Knitters might find that increases done at the sides of the front only are a great way to accommodate a larger bust without putting unwanted added fullness in the back of the sweater.
Knitters that need belly room will find that short rows in the front do a great job of masking that 'pot'. Or alternatively, increases at the sides in the belly area of the sweater front will work as well.
As I have often told students, "There are no knitting police." You won't be ticketed for inserting your very own shaping elements. Just because the designer doesn't mention waist shaping, or belly/bust room or accommodating the rounded back doesn't mean you cant incorporate these features in your sweater. After all, it is you or your loved one who will wear the sweater. Not the designer.
So far, I've talked about shaping as it relates to the pattern. But there is still the issue of whether the knitter can pull off the vision. And that has to do with GAUGE. Tomorrow's story.