Sunday, September 24, 2006

Spot reducing-I could use a little help here!

Ah yes-making it fit WELL. I am a firm believer in a little shaping. It's not a matter of fooling the eye, it's helping the eye see less! Because I sewed for years before I started knitting, I grew familiar with darts and shaping. It's very, very easy to add a little shaping in a sweater to help define your waist.

This is my Katrina top that I started a week ago. I've been knitting a tube from the top down. I've added decreases under the arm and bustline to reduce extra fabric around my waist. Now, I am adding stitches after my waistline to accomodate the rest of me.

My gauge is 4 stitches to the inch-so just a few stitches REALLY improve this top's shape. I distributed my increases and decreases evenly on both the front and the back. I decreased 4 stitches under the arm on one round, knit for about 1 1/2 inches, and repeated my decreases. (In my case, my decreases and increases were placed 20 stitches from the side seam marker.) I knit for about 6" and added 4 stitches at the same points, then repeated the increases about 2" after that. Remember, my gauge was 4 stitches to the inch-so reducing 8 stitches trims 2" from my sweater. My waist will look smaller without the exta two inches of fabric.

It's important to use increases and decreases gradually-your aim is to create a gentle slope, not a stairstep. And keep in mind, if I had started from the bottom, I would decrease for the waist, then increase for the bust.

You won't always be knitting in plain stockinette. You can reduce your sweater's waistline easily in Fair Isle or lace, still maintain your pattern, and NOT make yourself crazy with increases and decreases. Just go down a needle size-it should trim your garment's waistline but not be a visible distraction. On a 36" sweater, knitted at 20 stitches to 4", you would normally have 180 stitches. If you use a needle one size smaller, and knit 20.5 stitches per 4", you will automatically shave almost an inch of your garment's waistline.

That's a lot easier than shaving an inch off your waist!

Keywords: Knitting, pattern alterations


benne said...

Good tutorial, bets. With a tailoring and sewing background like you, lack of shaping in knit patterns drives me nuts. Well, it's one of the things that drive me nuts. ;-}

junior_goddess said...

I didn't think I was knitting anything special; I usually throw a little waist shaping in whether it's in the pattern or not. I've done this while sewing, and I'm sure you have, but I figured some people don't sew, and this might be helpful.

Grace Yaskovic said...

love the color of your sweater, I am working one in Black Estelle, endless acres of black silk noile---did I mention I am an ample woman

junior_goddess said...


These balls of yarn have about 180 yards each-so they take FOREVER! You must do a bit of waist shaping in your garment-so your curves S, not C. (Which is what I am going for!)


CatBookMom said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I am very short-waisted, only 14.75in, and have a relatively small waist compared to my hip measurement,so I'm finding that most tops are 'way too long for me, and the shaping is off. Your info will be a lot of help!!

CatBookMom said...

BTW, I LOVE your blue shawl! Do you plan to make the pattern available for others?

Sandra D said...

This is a good point to bring up Bets and what I liked so much in the English designers like Rowan and Debbie Bliss...they've been putting waist shaping in for awhile and the American designers were a bit lagging, but not now thankfully! Also, glad to see the end of the unmodified drop shoulder. I wasn't knitting in the 80's and 90's but I guess this is what you once called the time of the "balloon" sweaters? The thing about the fitted sleeve cap and the waist shaping is they're scary to do! I'm short so I can't take the waist shaping directions as is without modification. Hope to get more experience with it, thanks for your demystification.

Vamanta said...

Oh you clever girl. Making that devilish shaping sound so easy! Beautiful color too!

junior_goddess said...

Wow! All this time, I thought I was the only one who struggled with this!


Bri McStan said...

I would also add for the endowed gals such as myself that you can add stitches to the bustline as well to get the right waist size and a properly fitting, shapely bust. There's nothing worse than knitting something according to chest size and having the hips be way too wide or unshapely and thus dumpy. My method for increasing according to bust is hardly as well thoughtout or articulated as yours. Just taking good measurements, increases accordingly. I would think that the same logic applies to the small busted too, decreasing of course rather than increasing. Tailoring your own clothes is one very good reason to knit and sew for yourself.

Can you tell I have boring reading to do this morning!?!

junior_goddess said...

Bri-you get a little short row shaping action to add fabric where you need it.