Monday, February 1, 2010

Gaping at the belly gape

I am have an announcement. Effective today, February 1, 2010, I officially declare that I am sick and tired of sweaters that gape. You know the ones: they button at the neckline and split apart revealing the often most unattractive part of the human anatomy - the belly. They're all shaped like 19th century frock coats like the ones worn in "Sense and Sensibility" (which I watched for the millionth time this weekend).

I recognize that this design works well for many women - specifically chicks who have the great fortune of being tall, thin, and disciplined enough to do daily sit-ups. The rest of us? Not so much.

Maybe I feel this way because my slim, staturesque mother berated me for 15 years about covering my pudgy rolls. I hated it at the time, but I do think she was right. Most larger women look better when they avoid exposing their big bellies.

The queen of belly gaping sweaters? The February Lady cardigan. Pamela Wynne fashioned her design after Elizabeth Zimmermann's classic February Baby sweater. Believe it or not,  knitters all over the world have churned out nearly 8,000 February Ladies. The pattern is now available in English, Danish, French, Icelandic, Mandarin, Spanish, and Swedish.  

I like the February Baby sweater a lot - hey, I just made one for my friend's granddaughter to be. But I propose that the ample among us move on to March and amend these belly-gaping designs to accommodate our larger asses and assets.

For example, I really like Lisa S. Rowe's Solstice Three-Button Cardigan available in the new Curvy Knits book. It's a cute sweater. But it would be cuter if the placket didn't stop at the yoke and instead extended to the cardigan's hem. This modification would also finish off the left and right center - I don't like or understand letting the knitted edge just roll under. It looks unfinished to me. This pattern now resides in my queue, but when I get around to knitting it, I will definitely be making this alteration. (And a couple of others, too. I'll make the sweater longer; it's only about 23 inches long - at least five or six inches too short for my liking. And I'll drop the yarn overs on the raglan decreases. I don't care for raglan sleeve holes and a simpler raglan line would look better in my humble opinion.)

If you're contemplating a new cardigan, consider closing that gaping gap so popular in today's patterns. I think it will be more becoming on you. And it will last longer, too. One of these days, these gaping cardigans will look dated. A classic cardigan with full plackets and buttons will always be in style.


  1. excellently expressed for all of us with belly rolls and 'muffin tops'!!

    Speaking of rolls, what 's up with the edges rolling in the new sweaters now? Rolled necklines and hems were bad enough, now we have rolled and draping blanket-like edges too!

    Love the lace pullover...lifeline a must. Real pretty.
    I am sure, despite all the st st, the stranded sweater will be beautiful and the colors will bring the satisfaction you are seeking in this project.
    Thanks for a good post today.

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  3. Thanks, Teresa, for allowing me to expound on our conversation in this blog entry. Couldn't agree with you more about rolled edges.

    And yes! When I get to that beautiful lace sweater, I will use a lifelife and a basketful of stitch markers. I learned my lesson.

  4. I always have the problem of my shirts being too short to cover my belly. I hope to start knitting shirts and sweaters that will cover me appropriately. I'm just learning to knit so it'll take a while. :P Thanks for this post. At least now I know that i'm not alone in feeling that way.