Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Should you Take a Private Knitting Class? Part 2

Recently I did a one on one private session with someone who took a workshop with me a few years ago.

My partner on the road to knitting perfection told me she came to me for two reasons. The first was she likes the way my garments fit me. The second reason, she had noticed while we are very different sizes our proportions share some similar features. I'm short, she's tall, I'm busty so is she, I don't have a defined waistline neither does she. However I have short arms and she has average arms, she also has a long neck, mine is average. 

We started by working through my class: Perfect Proportions for EveryBody, I haven't taught that one in a while and it's interesting working with one person. I was very aware of the change in dynamics, when I work with a group, the participants are involved with the assessment. It is very affirming when a group of women do this together. We all make the mistake of focusing on our negatives, the group almost always disagrees, because they don't have the same emotional history.

Mrs. X has a high power corporate job and spends most of her day in tailored suits. Her knitting career has included a lot of sweaters for her two sons. She started knitting similar garments for herself.

Lessons learned: 

Sweaters that look good on tall skinny boys with broad shoulders don't work on Mom. Boxy shapes make bodies look boxy. Guy sweaters hang off the shoulders, women have more bumps.

Your base size can be different from your bust size. That's what the upper chest measurement is all about. Mine is four inches different from my bust. Mrs. X has a five inch difference. We went through a few pattern schematics and discovered her chest and shoulder measurement match garment sizes two or three smaller than what she has been knitting. No wonder she has been unhappy with the results. Read here for more details.

Refined fit vs. Standard fit. In the sewing world refined fit refers to making the front bigger than the back of a garment. Some of us have bigger fronts. If the garment is the same measurement on both front and back the fabric will be stretched horizontally across the torso on the front. It may hang loosely on the back. If the garment is pulled horizontally on the front it cannot stretch vertically to create the extra length needed for a curvy bust line. Knitting patterns normally have equal sized fronts and backs. Read here on how to change this.

Be realistic about sleeve fit. Knitting patterns create very different sleeve shapes as compared to patterns for woven fabrics.

Typical Sleeve (knitting)

Two Piece Sleeve (sewing pattern)
The front and the back of the sleeve have different shapes, the sleeve hangs with a curve towards the front of the body. Mrs. X is used to the sleeves of suits with the latter form of construction. Just in case you are wondering, you can knit a two piece sleeve. The easiest way is to use real size knitter's graph paper and a sewing pattern. I just don't know any knitters who would. 

Final lesson, we all prefer different amounts of ease. I'm a small person, I don't like a lot of ease. Our tall Mrs. X brought along lots of garments she already owns. We took lots of measurements. We pinned the garments that were too big to be smaller and measured them. We measured things she likes, we guesstimated how much bigger some of the items she felt were too small should have been. We marked hems, we measured cross shoulders and we assessed neckline and armhole depths. Mrs. X is now working on a starting point basic schematic and she promised to take good notes on yarn weights and the drape of the fabric to help expand her knowledge. Her first garment will have more ease than I would add for myself, but she will be happy with the results of her sweater. 

Part 1 is here.

1 comment:

  1. So interesting what you wrote about refined fit, as that's something I've been trying to incorporate into my closer-fitting designs (Sotherton has the waist decreases spread around the body but then puts the bust increases all in the front). Thanks for more food for thought, Robin!