Tag Archives: fitting

I blame Dolly Clackett!

Oh that Roisin!  She makes the most adorable dresses.  Most recently this little beauty.

dolly paris dress

Picture kindly allowed by Dolly Clackett, with thanks.

Isn’t it glorious!

Blue and white and Eiffel Towers and flowers.  Just perfect.

eiffel fabric

As soon as I saw this dress I was off on the hunt on the interwebs, and within 15 minutes I’d tracked down the fabric and bought myself 2.5 metres. Shameless plagiarism, I know, but I couldn’t resist.

If you’d like to get your mitts on some, I ordered mine from The Fabric Frieze on eBay.  It’s the first time I’ve ordered from this seller so she’s an unknown quantity, but her response to emails today was super speedy, which I always think is a good sign.

It will kick start me into working through the Sew the Perfect Fit course on Craftsy. So it seems that the sewing gods have made the decision for me.


I will fit Version D of this dress at toile stage, as per the course…that’s the straight skirted version with sleeves.  It will mean that I have all the elements fitted for future reference.

V8766However, with the Eiffel fabric, I plan on making a hybrid of the sleeveless bodice from Version D and the full skirt from Version F.

V8766 flatsOf course, this will also kick-start me into action and into finally finishing the Knit to Flatter course.


I’ve been procrastinating over the last few lessons of this course.  I’m at the tricky maths stage which includes a yarn substitution that is sending me into a bit of a tailspin.  I just need to bite the bullet and do the work.

I think the starting is the hardest part!

Wish me luck.

Knit to Flatter – episode 4

As I curled up on the sofa last night with a new book from the library (which I promise to review at a later date because so far I’m finding it pretty darned useful), I realised this was also a fine opportunity to work through the next lesson in the Craftsy Knit to Flatter course.

knittoflatterSo that’s exactly what I did.


Episode 7 – Size, Fit, Ease, is all about comparing your measurements to the pattern schematic to work out which pattern size you are going to use as the base size for the sweater you’re planning to knit.  So, armed with my recently completed Measurements Worksheet, and my pattern for Bud, I sat down and worked through the pattern to evaluate which size I would knit and which areas I would like to amend the fit on.  Another first for me, for sure.

The first thing to note is that the schematic for Bud doens’t really give you a lot of information.  I have to say prior to this course I paid little attention to the schematic…but I know better now.


You’ll also notice I’ve been scribbling on the schematic at the neckline.  I like Bud as is, but for my perfect cardigan the neckline would sit a little higher.  So I played around with it and I’m thinking of trying to raise the neckline a little bit.  I would not have even thought of attempting this alteration before this course.  I’m definitately making progress.

After an hour of watching the video and comparing the charts, I had a list of things that I’m considering amending on the garment I knit.

IMG_7922_edited-4Because this is quite a loose fitting garment there are less issues, however I will be adding shaping at the back to stop it being baggy, a little waist shaping at the front for the same reason, and I’ll attempt to raise that neckline a little too.

The most important thing to note is that normally I would have looked at the finished measurements for this cardigan and have thought that it would “fit” me because the overall finished measurements on the schematic would work, but in reality, whilst they do, I do need to tweak the pattern to make it look fabulous on me.

The next 3 lessons are, I believe, all addressing the HOW of making these alterations.  I’d really like to get lesson 8, Shaping and Modification, done over the weekend because I’m itching to cast on now.  But I’m keeping a tight hold on my enthusiasm, because I’m sure there’s lots more good stuff to come. However, if I do get through the lesson, I’ll let you know how I get on.

Knit to Flatter – episode 3

knittoflatterOh my word!  Lesson 6 was a revelation.

Experienced knitters who know how to fit knits properly might want to leave the room at this point!

Are they gone?

Phew…I suspect they would be a bit miffed with what I’m about to confess.

You see, every garment I’ve ever knitted for myself to date has started it’s life something like this:

  1. I see shiny new pattern or shiny new yarn, splash the cast and curl up on the sofa to cast on.
  2. I look at the pattern sizes and choose a finished garment size most appropriate to my bust.  This bit usually involves licking a finger and holding it up to see which way the wind is blowing…
  3. I do a cursory swatch to check that the gauge is somewhere in the ball park.  You know…10 rows over 20 stitches…it looks ok…lets get on with the good stuff.
  4. I cast on and I knit…periodically checking that it looks like it’s going to fit when it’s finished.  Sometimes more periodically than others, if you catch my drift. Audrey was a fine example of this!
  5. I cast off, sew up, block and pray to the knitting gods for a reasonable result.

You can imagine, I’m sure, just how shamefaced I am after Amy walked me through the 14 different measurements we will use to select our correct pattern size and base any modifications around.


17 if you include variations of sleeve length!

Compared to my heretofore paltry 3 measurements – bust, back length, sleeve length.

Miraculously, I have made successful and wearable garments with my old method. I’m putting this down to the skill of the pattern designer and the benevolence of the knitting gods.  It sure as hell isn’t down to any skill on my part.

I need to complete the measurements worksheet over the weekend before I start lesson 7, which is all about ease, but I’m only 4 lessons away from casting on Bud, and I cannot wait.

There’s a good chance it will fit too.

On purpose, this time! 😉

Knit to Flatter – episode 2


Ok…so you’ll remember in my last post that I waxed lyrical about the Craftsy platform.

Today I thought I’d walk you through the lessons I’ve completed so far and share a little of what I’ve actually learned.  I know that some of you are contemplating signing up for this course, so hopefully, this will help you decide whether or not this is the right course for you.

Lesson 1 – Introduction

There’s not a lot to say about this, except I really warmed to Amy very early on.  I like her approach, which is a very personal thing, but makes the whole course that little more enjoyable.

Lesson 2 – Body shape

During this lesson you take singularly the most unflattering photograph of yourself that you will ever take.  And no….I’m not sharing it with you here.  It’ll be on the interwebs for forever.  Shiver!

However, what I will say is that this section was a complete revelation.  Amy helps you analyse the picture, which is setting the scene for working out just what style of sweater will flatter you, and what adjustments you’ll need to make to your garment.

I always focus on my middle, because that’s where I hold my weight. But, these pictures show me that, when you look at me from the front, I’m actually more top heavy, a slightly inverted triangle if you will.  And, it’s my boobs that you’re seeing first, not necessarily my waist, or lack thereof!

At this point envisage my husband looking at me sheepishly and muttering “doh!”.

The photo also showed a slightly long torso…which is why, if I fit a dress to my ‘natural’ waist it looks and feels slightly odd.  If I raise it a little, I look to have much better proportions.

Which leads quite nicely into the next couple of lessons:

Lesson 3 – The visual impact of clothing


Lesson 4 – Flattering recommendations

In both of these lessons Amy shows different garments on different body shapes and highlights what it is about each combination that works or doesn’t.

Don’t expect any Trinny and Suzannah histrionics at this point…or Gok Wan and his bangers.  Amy is kind and thoughtful and points out that if you like a style that doesn’t necessarily conform to “the rules”…well, go ahead and wear it anyway.  The rules are really just guidelines and you can pick and choose.

What’s important is that the finished item fits as well as possible and that you feel great in it.

All very refreshing, no?

Lesson 5 – Your next favourite sweater

Here we start to get into the (k)nitty gritty of choosing your pattern and thinking about how you’re going to shape it to best flatter your shape.

As you know I’m going to knit Bud by Kim Hargreaves.


The key to this lesson is choosing a sweater that is knit in pieces – fronts, back, sleeves – rather than in the round.  This allows for easier alterations as you learn this new skill.

I was delighted to pick a cardigan constructed in this way…especially as current trends are towards sweaters knit in the round, like Audrey.  You’ll remember it was the fit problems I had with that pattern that started this journey! I’m looking forward to knitting on good old fashioned straight needles.

This lesson also discusses swatching.  Normally when knitting a swatch I do the absolute bare minimum to figure out that I’ve got the right sized needles to knit to the given tension, then away I go.

All very gungho!

This is the swatch I’ve done for this garment.


Yep – it’s a monster swatch!

For scale you have the end of my sewing machine (pink arrow) and an A4 notebook (blue arrow).

The section on the left is knitted on 4mm needles, the section on the right is 4.5mm needles.  The given size needles for this yarn is 5mm…but I know from experience that 5mm needles give a very loose and drapey fabric. And a fabric that sags easily under it’s own weight.

The 4.5mm needles give a better fabric; but the 4mms give a fabric that I’m really happy with. So I’m going with the 4s. I wouldn’t have learned that from the usual 10 rows on a couple of inches of stitches that I normally use. So I’m ahead of the game before I’ve even started.

So, as you can see, I’ve learned quite a bit so far.  And that’s from just an hour and 17 minutes of lessons.

I’m really pleased with how this is going.

Next up is Lesson 6 – Measure, measure, measure.  I’ll let you know how I get on.

Knit to Flatter – Episode 1

knittoflatterWell, it seems you’re interested in a little review of this course so here I go.  I’ll do it in several parts as I work through it, if that’s ok with you?

Although it probably doesn’t need saying, I will…Craftsy wouldn’t know me if I poked them with a spoon.  These are my thoughts and experiences and no incentive to express them has crossed my path.

So. To recap. After the knitting catastrophe that was the Audrey cardigan, I decided it was time to suck it up and finally learn to fit my knits.  I’m more than competent at constructing different kinds of stitches such as cable and lace, but my fit has always been, how shall we say…very hit and miss. There aren’t that many knit fitting courses out there in the ‘real’ world, so Craftsy seemed like the best place to start.

Craftsy…what the Dickens is that?

craftsy-logoCraftsy is an ‘online learning community’ which:

offers online classes about all of your favorite crafty topics – taught by amazing instructors. Craftsy classes are online, so they are available to you anytime you want for as long as you want – they have no scheduled class times, so you can enjoy them entirely on your own schedule. Each class is taught by an acclaimed instructor and consists of several hours of HD-quality video content

So far so good. They have a wide variety of courses on all sort of topics. Knitting, dressmaking, baking, cake decorating…to name but a few.  Obviously I’m most interested in the dressmaking and knitting, but The Husband has signed up for some of the bread-making courses (still waiting for croissants, darling ;-)), and Ma has signed up for a quilting course.  So the demographic for the Craftsy community is quite diverse.

There’s a pattern shop too.  For example, Steph sells her Cake downloadable patterns through Craftsy.

And, if you’re in the US, there are discounts to be had on fabric and other supplies.

Well, that sounds pretty interesting…but is it any good?

Although I’ve signed up for three different courses, I’ve only worked through the first few lessons of Knit to Flatter so far, but I can only say that I’ve already utilised most of the key benefits that Craftsy highlight…

  • Ask your instructor questions, upload photos, and get personalized responses

  • Participate in discussions with your classmates

  • Access supporting class materials – including patterns and helpful tips & tricks

  • Bookmark your favorite moments in the video so that you can easily re-watch them and take notes that you can refer back to anytime

I’ve also found the platform to be stable, and the video/sound quality to be excellent.  I suspect it helps that we have a bajillion whatsit internet thingy, so if yours is slower, that might affect things.

I also like that as long as I’ve got internet connection, I can access the material.  I can use my laptop or iPhone, or, if he’s not looking, The Husband’s iPad.

Obviously, that’s also a restriction – no internet, no access. You can’t download videos to access offline. But, for me, this isn’t a massive problem. And, in fairness to Craftsy, keeping everything hosted securely, without the opportunity to download, protects their material and allows them to keep their prices competitive.

Hmmmm…I’ll bet its pricey

Full price is usually around the $40 US…but seriously, don’t pay full price. There are regular sales and promotions. Also, when you sign up they give you the opportunity to “earn” points with which you can get a free course. I used my points to purchase Knit to Flatter.

There are also a selection of free courses that you can access if you’d like to try the platform without any risk.

For example, in My Craftsy, I have…

know your wool

block of the month

 short rows

…all of which are free classes.

You’d recommend it then?

I have to say that, so far, and touching wood, my experience of Craftsy has been a positive one.  I find it easy to use, which is helpful, because I’m an idiot with technology.  I like that you can go over and over (and over!) a bit of video if you need to, and can contact the tutor or other students if you’ve got a question.

I’d like it if the questions were answered a little quicker, for sure.  I’m currently awaiting an answer so I can move to the next lesson of Knit to Flatter.  But that’s a minor niggle, and I appreciate that for the instructor this isn’t a full time gig.

And, lets face it, you can try a course, or two, with no obligation to see if this is an platform that works for you.  You’ve nothing to lose except a wee bit of time.  And you could gain a whole lot more.

Which is what I’ll talk about next time…what I’ve learned so far in this course.

It’s all about the fit, baby.

When I first learned to sew and knit, I’d throw stuff together with impunity and happily wear it, regardless of whether the fit was a bit off or not.

Heaven only knows what I looked like.  Ah, the folly of youth. Although I do remember a spectacular success with some black and white polka dots, a halter neck and a lot of buttons…my, that dress was a showstopper!  Pity I’ve no pics.

These days, however, whether it’s due to more experience of knitting and sewing, or just encroaching middle age, I’m much less tolerant of poor fit. That goes for RTW and stuff I’ve sewn.


Needs a bigger FBA and darts lowering.

So what I really need to do is buckle down and improve my fitting skills so that time after time I can turn out well fitted clothes that flatter my shape and feel and look great.

It’s a pretty tall order, but achievable, if I take the time to do the groundwork. I have a library of the best fitting books money can buy.  I need to read them instead of just dipping in and out to find a solution to something that gets thrown up on a particular garment.

To date, time has always been the issue that stops me completely getting to grips with this.  Demands of life in general plus the fact that my wardrobe is invariably very, very empty because I a) don’t like clothes shopping and b) don’t have the time to sew what I need.

So I rush to make something, anything, so I’ve something to wear.  And don’t take the time to do it properly and ensure the fit.

It’s a vicious circle.

But the-rod-for-my-own-back shirt has shown me what I can achieve if I slow it down, take the time to do it all properly, and make sure the fit is spot on before I start.

So, it’s time.  Time to go back to basics and work out my fitting issues.  Get a great set of measurements and work each step of the fitting process methodically.

Actually get a methodology for my fitting…a check-list of specifics that I know I need to change and by how much.

To facilitate this I sucked it up and on Tuesday went clothes shopping.  I need to add a couple of pairs of leggings (M&S – £7.50!) to the mix but then I’m good to go for a while.  This takes the pressure off.

I’m currently working my way through the Knit to Flatter Craftsy course.


I am loving it.  I’ll do a review so far next week if you’re interested.  But I’ll be casting on and swatching over the weekend and doing some serious measurements for my next cardigan project, Bud by Kim Hargreaves.


image from Ravelry.com

I’m also about to start another Craftsy course, Sew the Perfect Fit…


..which hopefully does exactly what it says on the tin! I know that Sewing Princess is working through this too and her toile is looking great so far.

The upside of this course is that once you’ve fitted the pattern you effectively have a fitting block for tops and skirts.  Add to this the basic trouser pattern that I’ve already made twice and I’ve got my basic blocks for drafting my own clothes.  Eeek!    That’s pretty exciting, no?

But of course I really want to make some things whilst all this learning is going on…so I’ve got a couple of, hopefully, quick wins lined up that I can complete in the next week or so.

First up is Washi.  I’ve tweaked the fit since I made my last top (which has since been donated, because I wasn’t happy with the fit…not a large enough FBA!  Although I did wear it a lot out of necessity before this weeks little spree.)


This time I have the dress version on the table in crinkly black poly-cotton. The fabric’s a bit thin so I’m interlining it with a mystery poly-cotton from Abakhan.  Doing this means that I won’t need a slip under it in the summer, but can wear it with tights until then…it’s snowing outside today, peeps.

I’ve also been working on the first toile for the Amelia dress. I now know what adjustments I need to make for the second toile and then, fingers crossed, I’ll be ready to sew that too, although I’ve no idea which fabric I’m going to go with for this dress!

This should keep me busy…but it’s lovely to be able to take my time and take it step by step.  I will, of course, let you  know how I get on!