Friday, July 24, 2009

Desperately Seeking Ditto

Okay, so my one major quest in life is to make a damn sweater that fits. That doesn't mean making the sweater equivalent of an upside-down green trash bag with arms. I don't want some baggy thing that sorta, kinda fits, but a garment that actually contours to the twists and turns of my over-ample body.

Good luck, huh?

The knitting industry just recently discovered plus sizes and congratulates itself whenever it publishes a pattern that goes up to a 50-inch bust size. In real-world terms, that means size 24 or 3x. But what about the rest of us poor souls who need a larger bra?

Take me, for example. I have a 62-inch bustline. Not bragging, just the truth. *smile* This means I can't just take a 50-inch pattern and add 12 inches to it. It doesn't work that way! If you've ever bought a huge T-shirt, you know what I mean. The shoulders droop to the elbows and the short sleeves drop to the wrists. This is because some numbskull decided it was a good idea to make the shirt exponentially bigger than the size 10 he or she started with.

I challenge you: go find a so-called "normal" size woman and hold your arms up to hers. You might have twice her hips and boobs, but your arms are just the same length. Which shows you exactly why exponentially larger garments do not fit.

So, let's start again. I'm in quest for a pattern that fits my big sorry ass - which sadly is even larger than my big sorry boobs. This is why I've spent all day with a calculator, an Excel spreadsheet, and my menopause-addled brain doing knitting-pattern math.

My prototype? I am starting with Ditto, a new, free Norah Gaughan pattern available from Berroco. I like the look, including the simple styling and the "slimming vertical twisted stitch ribs." Plus the pattern goes to size 54 - a whole four inches over Berroco's usual sizes! *rolling my eyes* (Editorial comment: Norah Gaughan is a size 16 so you'd think she'd be a bit more accommodating in the larger sizes department...)

I started with the schematic and wracked my brain about how to proceed. After an hour of messing around with pen and pencil, I decided I needed to graduate to Excel. I started inputting the numbers from the pattern into a spreadsheet, including the measurements, stitch counts, etc. Then, using every single brain cell leftover from my high school algebra class, I figured out the ratios between, say, the total number of stitches at the hips versus the total number of stitches for the sleeves. That gave me a ratio to use for my own pattern - and my own hips and sleeves.

Then I took the pattern and added text comments with my numbers in red. Hopefully, this will give me a proportionally larger pattern than will actually fit. Accepting prayers for this project starting... right NOW!

I don't know if any of this will work, but I'm going to give it a try. God willing, it will be close and if it is, I'll give you the download so you can do it yourself. Frankly, as long as my Ditto fits better than a big green trash bag, I will be happy. Apparently, it doesn't take much to put a smile on my face.


  1. Thank you for sharing your succes w this design. Me having the measures in cm (sorry) bust 109, hip 109 bum 103, fits in no standard clothes. My length is 160 cm! So the Ditto could be what I so long have waited for. Will do like you, print out the pattern and note my measures and see what need to be adjusted.

  2. Good luck, StickLena. If I were as tall as you, I wouldn't be nearly as fat! lol I'd love to see your Ditto after you make it. Thanks for reading the blog!