Under the Bust Shaping

Is it too early to think about knitting garments? Too late, I’ve already started but I don’t want to repeat this …

The cardigan is finished. I’m so excited as a stand in front of the wall of buttons at the Fabricland store trying to choose the perfect buttons. These ones, no maybe these ones. I’ve decided on the blue ones (ha, almost always). I’m rushing home to sew them on. Oh, it looks gorgeous. I’m patting myself on the back as I put it on and stand in front of the mirror.

I tug it a little, tug a little more and get that horrible feeling as my heart drops down to my toes.

I have that horrible buttonband gaping. Can I wear it without buttoning it up? Maybe, I guess I could but I really like 3 or 4 buttons done up.

That was several years ago before I realized that I had to have some extra width right here.

Body schematic bust shaping Top DownNow as a confirmed cardigan buttoner I add extra Front stitches for Bust Shaping to every cardigan. Then I have extra width just where you need it.Bust shaping Yoke increases Body schematic direction of knittingBut now what? What do you do with those extra stitches below the bust?

This is my current cardigan. I decided to knit this Top Down to my regular Finished size, including the ease, and then add even more additional width above my bust. I don’t want that unsightly buttonband gap that seems to show up in so many magazine photos. Negative ease on a cardigan across the bust is a mistake.

 

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Now I’m cruising down the body with the extra width across the bust. Decision time, do I want these extra stitches to remain on the front for the entire body? Sometimes the answer is yes and sometimes no.

This time it’s no. I’m going to decrease those extra bust stitches away so that my two Fronts and the Back are in their original proportion: 2 Front sts added together = Back sts.

Techy Talk:

I worked straight until I had knit just past the largest part of my bust. For me that’s 4″ measured down from the underarm cast on.

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This time I decided to decrease the extra bust stitches or most of them anyway, worked along with some waist shaping. So here goes.

On a Right Side row I’m going to decrease on the front side of the imaginary side seam on both Fronts (that will decrease an extra bust stitch on each Front). Then work a couple of rows and decrease on both the Front and Back sides of the side seams (waist shaping). Knit a couple of rows and repeat.

Underbust decreases bust and waist

underbust decreases with 3x3 sweater

I worked this repeat quite quickly with only a couple rows in between the sets of decreases. I’m very short and I needed to start the A-line shaping for my hips pretty sharpish to get the width I needed there. If you are tall, first of all I’m envious, and second you can space these sets of decreases further apart so that you work them down to your waist. It will look terrific.

Cruising to the bottom edge now. Yay. Sleeves here I come.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

Any Gauge patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever pattterns and Books

Knit to Fit and Fade

My first fade is finished. I love it. I knit it in Dragon Strings,   Fairy Wrap (worsted weight) in Dirty Hippy colourway with 4 colours. The Fade stripes were easy to work and it’s so much fun getting to see the next colour blend in. I would totally do another sweater this way.

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KNIT TO FIT:    Usually your Top Down pullover will have a specific number of stitches to reach for the bottom of the yoke. That was the case here but I still wanted to have extra width across the Front for 2 obvious reasons. The easiest way to do this was to work the increases that would normally be worked on the Back, on the Front as extra increases. The stitch count remains as it should and there would then be extra width on the Front where I needed it.

Continue reading “Knit to Fit and Fade”

Bust Shaping with Twin Stitches

The best part of writing a book for me, is discovery. There is always something that I learn that makes the book special. It may be a small detail that you, the knitter, might  never notice. It might be one pattern that was especially interesting to develop that is the highlight. It won’t necessarily be the most popular pattern in the book but it will be special to me.

In the Need A Circular Yoke book I had an “aha” moment. We, Elizabeth Fallone and I, discovered that the short row system using Twin Stitches which is usually used to turn the heel of a sock, could be used to raise the back of the neck. That’s not the moment though. I also discovered that it could be used in a different way to shape the bust. Short Rows can be used for bust shaping to make the Front longer to compensate for a larger bust, that’s not new. We didn’t do that. We didn’t use the short rows themselves. We used the Twin Stitches from the short row system to widen the Front so there would be less pull-up on the sweater.

NACY bust dart w arrow

Imagine if you could accurately position the bust shaping. You want to work increases to  widen the Front of your sweater so that the fabric is at its widest just above the widest line across your bust. I work from the Top Down so I am always trying to position the beginning point of the bust dart the correct distance from the underarm of my sweater. Not too high above my bust line and I definitely do not want to start the dart too low and run out of room.

Bust shaping w twin stitches

The twin stitches allow you to work an increase every round. In knitting, we don’t have very many increases that work well when worked every round so this was a find. When you can work an increase every round you can know accurately how much vertical room these increases will need.

Working with worsted weight yarn (because the math is easy) let’s say you want to add 3″/7.5cm to the front of your sweater. That would be about 8 stitches on each side of the Front for a total of 16 sts added to the front. Your row count for worsted weight yarn is 7 rows = 1″/2.5cm so working 8 increases over 8 rounds would take just a smidge over 1″/2.5cm (1.14″/3cm to be exact). Ta, da. Start your twin stitch increases just an inch and a bit above the widest part of your bust.

NACY bust dart

What is a Twin Stitch? It’s a “Knit in the Row Below” stitch where you hold onto the loop you made in the row below and use it as an increase. You do not pull off the original stitch on your left needle (the stitch you knit into the row below of). Wow, that’s really confusing. It’s much clearer on my video. Check it out.

Here’s the link for  Twin Stitches for Bust Shaping on a Top Down Pullover  as used in the Need A Circular Yoke book by Cabin Fever where we made the Front of these pullovers 2″/5cm wider than the back.

NACY cover

Have you used this system? Did it work for you?

Thanks for reading,

Deb

Cabin Fever patterns on Ravelry

Vertical Darts Top Down

The holidays are over. Is it time for you now? Are you knitting a sweater for yourself? It’s a long winter. I’ve got a couple started because, as you know, that’s the most exciting part.

If it’s a sweater for yourself how much bust shaping would you like to add to a pattern that doesn’t include any?

Adding a couple of inches to the bust on a Top Down sweater is fairly straight forward. But what if you wanted to add more than 2″ in total across the bustline? Could you start your bust increases in the Yoke while still working the raglan increases and then continue them down into the body? Vertical Darts work from the Bottom Up, why not from the Top Down?

Since I raised this question I decided I had to try it out. I started working the bust shaping increases when I still had 8 rounds left to work in the Yoke. This is the same strategy as the Top Down Easy Bust Darts but this time the bust increases are worked in a vertical line away from the raglan line. The vertical line of increases will allow me to continue to work bust increases until I have reached the largest point of my bust. (This schematic is an approximation – the raglan and bust increases are worked in the same round – dots on the schematic make it look like the bust increases are worked more often, they are not.)

Bust shaping Top Down increases showing high bust

I worked a raglan increase and a bust increase on each side of the Front for the last 4 Increase Rounds before I divided for the underarm. After the Divide I continued to work the bust increases 4 more times for a total of 8 increases on each side of the front giving me 3″ of extra width.

bust shaping in yoke

My main concern was what would show.

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While the increase line is visible it is not so noticeable when I’m wearing the sweater (or when my best girl is wearing it) and the extra room is well worth the effort.

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This was easier to do than I expected. It shows but only as a dart which is acceptable. I got quite a bit more bust room because of it. I’m really happy with the result.

How about you? Could you add this into a Top Down raglan?

Thanks for reading. Cheers,

Deb

More reading on Top Down Bust Shaping:

Do I Need Bust Darts?

7 Reasons to Double Up the Increases for Bust Shaping

How Do You Want Your Sweater to Fit?

Bust Dart, Top Down

Knit to Fit: Bust Dart, Top Down

Let’s get back to my first love, Top Down knitting. One of the things I like best about knitting from the top is that everything does not have to be planned ahead of time. I will decide that I am going to add bust shaping to widen the front of my sweater. As I approach the bottom of the Yoke I can think about how I might do the bust shaping since it can be done in several different ways.

One method to use is Easy Bust Shaping , working the bust shaping into the last couple of inches of the Yoke, above the underarm.

Here is a second method, a Bust Dart. The bust shaping occurs just where you need it, in the couple of inches between the underarm and the largest part of your bust.

NAPC Bust shaping (559x640)

I introduced this method in the Need A Plus Cardigan book where the Front of the cardigans are set up to be 3″ wider than the back. Two inches were added through the bust darts and the third inch in the buttonbands. The extra width is incorporated into the final sizing of all the cardigans.

NAPC Cover

Set up a Bust Marker on each side of the Front and work increases every other round.

Bust shaping Top Down increases showing

bust shaping

Could you add more than 1″ worth of stitches? It depends on how much vertical room you have between the underarm and the largest part of your bust.

Bust shaping Top Down vertical

Your bra matters here! Put on your best figure enhancing bra and measure. Since you are working an increase every other row you need to check the number of rows you can fit into this vertical distance. You may be able to sneak in a couple more increases. I usually do.

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Me, wearing a Lace Panel cardigan from Need A Plus Cardigan book.

Could this method work for you?

Thanks for reading,

Deb

Cabin Fever books and patterns

Knit to Fit: 7 Reasons to Double Up the Increases for Bust Shaping

One of the easiest ways to work some extra width on the front of your Top Down Raglan sweater is to work an extra increase beside the regular Raglan increase on both sides of the Front. In the last couple of inches at the bottom of the yoke you can work the EASY BUST SHAPING .Bust shaping Yoke increases Body schematic working EASY

You can add up to about 3″/8cm to the Front this way. Bust shaping Yoke increases Body schematic direction of knitting

I was asked if there were specific circumstances where you would use this method.

  1.  It’s a very straight forward way to add width to the front of your sweater without affecting the upper yoke and neckline.
  2. It’s easy to add these extra increases into any Top Down Raglan sweater pattern that doesn’t have extra width already written in.
  3. A couple of extra inches on the front really helps to alleviate button gap on your cardigan. If you wear your cardigans buttoned up, positive ease at the bust is a necessity. I cringe every time I see button gaping on a cardigan in a magazine.
  4. Nothing shows. No one can see the extra increases since they are almost in your armpit.
  5. Working the increases above the underarm works really well for a bust that is high. More traditional bust darts may be too low when they begin below the underarm.
  6. One of the best reasons is for the well endowed. The Doubling Up of Increases method can be used in conjunction with more traditional styles of bust darts. A couple of inches added at the bottom of the yoke (just above the underarm) plus bust darts in the bust area itself can add 4-6″ extra width at the bust if needed.
  7. If you have a stitch pattern on your sweater, bust darts may interfere. This method can be added where you are already working the raglan lines so they are less likely to interfere.

Could you do a little bust shaping on your next Top Down using the Easy Bust Shaping method?

Thanks for reading,

Deb

Knit to Fit: Top Down Easy Bust Shaping

Would you like the front of your sweater to be wider than the back? There are two obvious reasons why you might need that. Knit to Fit: Do I Need Bust Darts?

If you are working a casual Raglan sweater from the Top Down here is an easy way to get some extra width across the Front just where you need it: not over the entire front of the sweater and expecially not around the top of the shoulders and neckline, just at the bust.

Body schematic bust shaping Top Down

As you work down your yoke, you are working increases at the raglan lines.

Top Down pullover schematic

As you approach the bottom of the yoke, what would happen if you doubled up the increases on the Front only? Wouldn’t there be more width on the Front?

In the bottom couple of inches of the yoke, on the Front only, you could work an additional M1 increase beside the raglan increases you are already working, separated by a stitch or two. This could easily add an extra 2″- 3″ to the Front.

Bust shaping Yoke increases Body schematicWould the extra increases show? Not really. You can put them in just before the underarm. Can you see them?

Everyday Cardigan close up bust shaping yoke

They’re right there.

Everyday Cardigan close up bust shaping yoke showing

At my gauge of 5 sts = 1″,  5 extra increases on each side of my front (yes I did work 5 extra  increases but I can’t find the 5th one) for a total of 10 extra stitches, which gives me 2″ of extra width across the front, above my bust. Great for my casual cardigan.

Everyday Cardigan Yoke shaping

Now for the nitty gritty details. Here is an example of how it works for a cardigan:

Double Increases on Fronts for Bust Shaping

Increase Row: (RS) Work across the Front to 2 stitches before Marker#1, M1L (extra increase for bust), K1, work your regular raglan increase, K1, slip Marker#1, K1, work raglan increase, work across Sleeve to 1 stitch before Marker#2, work raglan increase, K1, slip Marker, K1, work raglan increase, knit across Back to 1 stitch before Marker#3, work raglan increase, K1, slip Marker#3, K1, work raglan increase, work across Sleeve to 1 stitch before Marker#4, work raglan increase, K1, slip Marker#4, on the Front work K1, work raglan increase, K1, M1R (extra increase for bust), knit across remaining stitches of Front to end of row. – increase of 10 sts, 8 raglan increases + 2 extra bust increases on Fronts only.

You can use this in addition to other bust shaping techniques for more width or shaping. You can add this shaping to any Top Down Raglan sweater pattern where the front and back are the same width.

You can decrease these extra bust stitches away as you work towards your waist or leave them there. It’s a casual cardigan so I just left them there. It helps to prevent button gap.

There it is. One easy way to make some extra width for your bust.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

M1L: Work before the Raglan line:  With Left needle, lift the running thread between the stitch just worked and the next stitch, from front to back, and knit into the back of the resulting loop.

M1R: Work after the Raglan line:  With Left needle, lift running thread between the stitch just worked and the next stitch, from back to front, and knit into the front of the resulting loop (this is tight to work).