Thanks to everyone who commented on my previous post about my inability to find the just-right length for my sweaters. I received lots of advice:
Add short rows.
Many people wrote to suggest adding short rows to provide more room for the bust and belly without increasing the length of the sweaters. Amy - THE Amy of Fit to Flatter fame - writes, "You could probably get up to two inches of difference between the back and the front without too much trouble."
The goal is to insert extra fabric to make space for curves without adding overall length to the sweater. Check out Knotions Magazine's tutorial for more info; this illustrative photo comes from the tutorial.
The suggestion is to add an inch at the bustline and an inch at the front hips. This would let me make the sweater 27 inches, for example, in the back and 29 inches in the front.
I am thinking about adding an inch of short rows at the back hips to fix the way my sweaters always pitch upwards in the back. Most of this is because I have hyperlordosis, or a hypercurvature of the spine. It gives me a permanent bustle - lucky me! I'm thinking if I could add an inch in the back hips that it might move the back hem down where it belongs.
Make the sweater significantly wider.
Some folks urge additional ease. As Annie writes, "I think you need/want your sweaters as long as you've been making them. It's the clinginess at the bottom that causes Amy to think 'too long!' if you added maybe 6 more inches to the bottom back width, I believe you'd get the coverage you like and eliminate the clinginess." Jennifer agrees. She says her best-fitting sweater "skims my hips at the widest point and then goes straight down instead of hugging my hips all the way to the end."
Pat instead urges compromise. "I think the real problem starts when a sweater is long enough to start pulling in under our bellys and butts. Yeah, we just have to face the reality that compromise may be the only way to go," she says.
My response: I definitely HATE when a sweater clings under my butt and belly. This occurs especially with ribbed sweaters, so I make all my sweaters without the ribbing using hems instead. Regarding the ease, I'm making my two current sweaters a little bigger - not six inches, more like two or three - so we'll see if that helps. Here is a picture of me in the second sweater I made. I've lost 50 pounds since then, but I made this sweater to be bigger - and I'm afraid it makes me look bigger, at least from the back.
Wear a shorter sweater with a darker or matching shirt underneath.
Amy - again, THE Amy - says, "I'd recommend, with the shirt trick, ensuring that the under-shirt is the same color as your pants or a darker color. That way, the bits poking out won't be so noticeable." Robin Allen agrees.
I know this works. Nothing looks better on me than black slacks and a black shirt with a shorter sweater or a ruana on top. If I was willing to wear all-black, all the time, I'd be all set. The problem is that I'm more of a blue-jeans girl and like color. I did wear my Augusta sweater with jeans and a darker blue shirt underneath and it looked pretty good. Don't have a picture of my butt in this unfortunately, but here I am (without make up) with Kathy Zimmerman. This looks better than the patterned tee I wore previously.
Use side vents
Several knitters suggested using side vents to provide more room in the hips. I particularly like this idea for when I'm sitting down; I'm wider when seated than when standing and often could use a little more room. I've never done this in a sweater, although I appreciate the feature in my ready-to-wear clothing.
Sue, who also agrees with Amy about the shorter length, makes several good suggestions, including asking a kind and honest friend whether my bifurcated belly is really that unsightly - an excellent point since we all tend to obsess about an errant body part that most people wouldn't even notice. Sue also recommends photographing myself wearing different lengths to find the optimal one and reminds me that I can lengthen a too-short sweater by picking up stitches and knitting downward, something which I've done successfully in the past.
Given all these suggestions, here is my plan: