Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Making It Fit

I've always thought that the bust measurement was the be-all, end-all in measurements for a top or cardigan. Bust, waist and hip measurements are the 3 measurements that are listed on the pattern envelope for a sewing pattern. For a crochet or knit garment, the bust measurement is the one listed in the sizing area. So . . . what other measurements could there be? And how do they play into the construction of a garment?

Something called the Cross-Back or Shoulder-to-Shoulder measurement has turned out to be important for me. I am smaller than the "standard" measurement for the Cross-Back for my bust size, so a garment made exactly to the pattern will almost always be too wide at the neck area and hang off my shoulders. I have several tops that I constantly tug at to pull them back up onto my shoulders.

Bust, waist, hips and cross-back measurements are circumference measurements or measurements around the body.

Length measurements are also important for a good fit or a pleasing look. Back Waist Length is the distance between the little bump at the base of your neck to your natural waistline. I am of average height, so I don't usually have to make adjustments in the length area, but if you are taller or shorter, your garment will either be too long or too short.

Length is a matter of design or personal preference. Standard length for a top or cardigan is 5" below the natural waistline, while the standard length for a tunic is 9". I prefer my tops to be a little longer than the 5" as my midriff area is not as . . . enticing as it once was.

Next, I'll talk about getting all those measurements down.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Making It Fit

After that initial debacle with the sweater I made in my 30's, I didn't make another garment until I was in my . . . well, let's just say it was quite a while.  By this time, I had learned a valuable lesson--make an item at least 3 times. The why's and wherefor's of that wisdom is for another post.

I selected the Shapely Tank Top by White Lies Designs as my learning tool.  I chose a bamboo yarn by Southwest Trading Company in a gorgeous red and black.  I did a gauge swatch, selected the correct size and set to work.  The end result was good, but not quite the fit that I wanted.  It was wider than me, and it has grown longer as I've worn it. That's how I discovered one more thing to consider, fiber content.  Bamboo is oh-so-soft and comfortable, but it has a tendancy to stretch.

A few months later, I selected a cotton yarn by Gedifra.  I thought I would experiment a little and I knit this top in the round up to the armhole bindoffs.  I had a difficult time getting the top joined correctly to work in the round and ripped it out 6 times, but then I was on my way.  The end result for this top was better and I still wear it often.  But . . . it was still too wide for me, particularly in the shoulders. 

The solution to this problem seems quite simple in hindsight, but I must say that it didn't come quickly.  Over the years, I have gained weight, but that weight has not been distributed evenly.  While my bust has grown, my shoulder width has not, or at least not as much. So, the shoulder or armhole shaping has to be greater than the decreases for the size I selected.

Hmmm,  first it was gauge, then ease, and now additional body measurements that are important.