Despite the long gestation period, this cardigan came out pretty well. I went with silver buttons to add a little bling to this teal blue sweater.
And now if you will indulge me, I would like to share some tips on how to make a sweater that fits. These nuggets of learning were revealed to me the hard way – through many years of experience and the making of several ill-fitted sweaters.
1. Start with the right measurements. For a sweater, these include hip, bust, cross-back, neck to wrist, armhole depth, upper arm width, and length (shoulder to garment hem.) TIP: If you own a coat or sweater that fits you well, you can take these measurements from it. If you don’t, get a friend to measure you.
2. Consider ease. Different body areas require different amounts of ease. Also different styles and yarn weights require more or less ease – thick yarns should have more ease, thin yarns can have no ease, or even negative ease. You may want a lot of room in your hip area, but a close fit at your bust – or vice versa! For an average fit, allow 2 inches at bust and hips and at least 1 inch at upper arm. Then use the schematic of your pattern to choose the right width to match your measurements and desired ease. TIP: Never add ease to the cross-back measurement. This is the distance across your back at the top of your armpits. If your sweater is too loose here it will slide off your shoulders.
3. Make a swatch. Or two or three. While EZ says to swatch in stockinette stitch, I like to swatch in the same stitch that I will be using for the garment. Always wet-block your swatch. I know, this seems like an extra step. But it’s important because certain yarns (superwash) and quite a few stitch patterns open up a lot with blocking. If you take your gauge from an unblocked swatch, your sweater will invariably end up too long and too wide.
4. If you are curvy, incorporate waist shaping. Adding a decrease section and then an increase section between hips and ribs eliminates bulkiness while making room for your breasts. You can also use short rows under the bust area to add more fabric where it is needed in the sweater front.
5. Block the finished pieces before assembling. It makes the sewing up much easier. For this sweater, I wet-blocked the body and sleeves. I then sewed the shoulder seams with back-stitch and the sleeve seams with mattress stitch. Next I knit on the button band. To set in the sleeves use yarn and back-stitch up from the underarm to the shoulder seam. Tie off yarn and sew up the other side.
I hope that you have found something of value in my long discourse. For those who are wondering, the pattern is called Passages from Knit-Picks.com and the yarn is Camino Alpaca Premium 6-ply from Bremont. It is a wool, alpaca and nylon blend.