Sunday, May 22, 2011

Adjusting sleeve widths on the Banstead

In the run-up to the Banstead Lystra KALs, some folks making the Banstead have discovered that the following the pattern results in gigantic sleeves, especially in the larger sizes. This post explains why the sleeves are not optimally sized and gives instructions on how to modify the sleeves for a more realistic and flattering fit.

Let's start with the schematic - which is always where you should begin when considering fit issues.

This pattern comes in sizes from 42 to 66 inches - a very wide size range. That's the good news. The bad news: although the pattern designed for a 42-inch finished bust size has sleeve widths that work perfectly, when the pattern is graded up to the largest sizes, the lower sleeves become too large. Why? Because an ample women's upper arms get larger as she gets larger -  but her lower arms do not.



So what works at the smallest size does not when when you get to the largest size, because what we really need is an upper sleeve that's 20.5 inches and a lower sleeve that's still 15 inches. As we get fat, our entire arm doesn't get fat - the bicep grows (or the fat around the bicep anyway) a lot and the lower arm expands just a little..

So, to correct the problem, we need to cast on for 15 inches and then add increases to expand gradually to the larger upper sleeve measurement. I present suggested modifications for each size below. Note that if you have particularly large lower arms, you may not need to make these modifications. Do what's right for your particular form. As I always say, your mileage may vary.

Size 42 - 15-inch upper arm
No changes - knit according to pattern

Size 46 - 17.5-inch upper arm
  • Beg with purl (WS) row, work in St St.
  • On next row (RS), inc 1 st each side every 14th row 5 times.
  • Total stitches: 70
  • Work in St St until piece measures 12" from CO for all sizes. End with a WS row. 
Size 50 - 18.5-inch upper arm
  • Beg with purl (WS) row, work in St St.
  • On next row (RS), inc 1 st each side every 10th row 7 times.
  • Total stithces: 74
  • Work in St St until piece measures 12" from CO for all sizes. End with a WS row.
Size 54 - 19-inch upper arm.
  • Beg with purl (WS) row, work in St St.
  • On next row (RS), inc 1 st each side every 8th row 5 times.
  • Then increase 1 st each side every 10th row 3 times.
  • Total stitches: 76
  • Work in St St until piece measures 12" from CO for all sizes. End with a WS row.
Size 58 - 19.5-inch upper arm
  • Beg with purl (WS) row, work in St St.
  • On next row (RS), inc 1 st each side every 6th row 1 time.
  • Then increase 1 st each side every 8th row 8 times.
  • Total stitches: 78
  • Work in St St until piece measures 12" from CO for all sizes. End with a WS row.
Size 62 - 20-inch upper arm
  • Beg with purl (WS) row, work in St St. 
  • On next row (RS), inc 1 st each side every 6th row 5 times.
  • Then increase 1 st each side every 8th row 5 times.
  • Total stitches: 80 
  • Work in St St until piece measures 12" from CO for all sizes. End with a WS row.
 Size 66 - 20.5-inch upper arm
  • Beg with purl (WS) row, work in St St.
  • On next row (RS), inc 1 st each side every 6th row 9 times.
  • Then increase 1 st each side every 8th row 2 times.
  • Total stitches: 82
  • Work in St St until piece measures 12" from CO for all sizes. End with a WS row.
I hope this helps the Banstead intrepid knitters. BTW, the Lystra does not have this issue because the sleeves are already tapered, so Lystra knitters need not worry about this Banstead-specific problem.

Oh! And let me give credit where credit is due. I figured out all the increases using the fabu iPad Touch and Go Knitting app. Get your copy now through iTunes - only $5.99!

3 comments:

  1. Hi Julie,
    That's good information to think about whatever pattern we may be using. Why don't pattern designers know these things??? I really think before they publish patterns they should have someone make them up in several different sizes to check the veracity of the instructions. I kinow not everyone is shaped the same, but at least they would have a CLUE!
    P.S. the weekend is 3/4 over and I still haven't blocked the darn Waltham pieces!

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  2. Wow! I'm so glad I found your blog on the Cabin Fever girls site. I'll have to go thru and read ALL your posts, they're just what I need...I've been trying to adjust patterns with mixed success, so I've ended up using ONE pattern that fits and making it up in every conceivable variation. I'm a PETITE large sized woman, and "pear shaped" to boot..about a 14 Women's petite in Liz clothes, and have to have almost all my off the racks altered,..maybe now I can get my handknits to fit. THANKS! :)

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  3. welcome, Susan! Handknits give us the chance to make something that really fits. My sister-in-law is petite and ample, too. It's hard to find clothes that fit at all, let alone right and well! Please join our Ravelry group. Thanks again!

    http://www.ravelry.com/groups/knitting-at-large

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