Cecily Glowik MacDonald is one. Cecily, a fantastic designer and author of my current-favorite knitting book, New England Knits, creates beautiful, elegantly simple designs that look just wonderful on her tall, thin frame. I uniformly admire everything she designs and would love to knit her patterns.This is not solely an ample knitter's dilemma. Most women - the vast majority in fact - struggle with fit. There are exceptions to this rule and
But now let's get real. Let's assume that Cecily designs sweaters for her own shape. I think that's a good assumption; if I ever become a designer, I'll be creating garments for mine. And let's assume that Cecily starts with her own design and upsizes from there, another good assumption. Fine. Now let's compare our respective asses. A picture paints a thousand words:
Here we are, two women of a certain age, garbed in green cardigans. Could we be more different? Cecily has no butt to speak of especially compared to my over-abundance in the hip department. Is it realistic for me to think that Cecily will or even should design patterns to accommodate my guitar shape? Especially when she barely has any hips of her own?
No, it's not. Instead, I need to be realistic and recognize that if I want something to fit, I need to fix the pattern. It's a difficult task and takes lots of education and practice, including knitting a number of sweaters that might not fit quite right. But if good fit is my goal, then this is what I have to do. Nothing else works.
As you can see, I made my cardigan A-line to accommodate my hips. My Augusta doesn't look like an A-line on my frame because I AM A-line! Another alternative would have been to make the entire garment large enough to fit my hips, but then I would have had literally 12 extra inches of fabric pooling around my waist - not good. I made other mods, too, like adding cables to the back and back neck shaping.
So, want to know exactly how I made this pattern fit? I started with graph paper and mapped out the sweater using the Augusta pattern and my exact measurements. This is what Kathy Zimmerman taught me this summer - and it works. I mapped out the entire design, including the sleeves.
So, in conclusion: Give up. You're not going to find a pattern that fits without some modifications. Or maybe you will but if you do, know that it is an absolute act of God. Instead, get real. Start by taking ALL your measurements and then comparing them to a pattern's schematic. Just begin there. You'll at least know why what you want to knit will never, ever fit you. Then you can start to learn how you, too, can make sweaters that fit. Don't let this bit of reality scare you back into a life of only knitting shawls, mittens, and hats. Be not afraid! I'll help you and lots of other knitters will, too. The first step to enlightenment is acceptance. Just accept that a published pattern will not fit you and then work from there.
I so strongly believe in these principles that I'm doing it all over again: last night I started another Cecily Glowik Macdonald pattern, the Melrose Peacoat. Stay tuned!