Saturday, July 13, 2013

Delancey Try-On: Too Snug or Just Right?

Delancey Cardigan Try-On

Chevrons and stripes both rank high on my crafterly happiness list and this cleverly-constructed sweater has been a joy to knit so far. The big question, though—does it actually fit me?

Pattern: Delancey Cardigan. You may recall that the Delancey cardigan by Alexis Winslow was the winner of my indecisive "Sweater Girl Showdown 2013." Here was my original concept sketch:

Sweater Girl Showdown 2013: Which Cardigan to Knit Next? (Polka Dot Overload)

Ravelry link with all details: Here.

Yarn: Knit Picks Merino Style (discontinued) in various colors from the stash. A lovely DK-weight merino that I had lying around. Sadly I lost one of the colors I was using midway through (left it on a subway or airplane during a business trip) so you can see that the stripe pattern on the top back is gray/periwinkle/gray instead of gray/periwinkle/purple. Oops!

Size: 33" bust. The biggest challenge was deciding what size to knit—the 33" finished bust or the 36" finished bust. I have a 38.5" bust and 29.5" waist but I like my cardigans snug, with at least 2-3" of negative ease at bust and waist (see my old post on sweater fitting for more on this).

BUT because of the clever chevron pattern, there is no waist shaping here—the bust and waist are the same size. So if I went with the 36" bust, the waist might have been quite baggy. I wrote to the designer and she gave me some fantastic advice—based on my preferences and yarn she suggested I try the 33", as the bias fabric makes the cardigan quite stretchy.

So readers, what do you think so far? The back looks perfect to me (see top) but the bust area seems to be pulling away to the side (note that I've only knitted one of the side fronts, the other isn't done yet):

Delancey Cardigan Try-On

And the side "seams" aren't really straight when I pin the cardigan shut in front:

Delancey Cardigan Try-On

That said, there is going to be a button band and shawl collar in front which will add a little extra front width.

My verdict: Keep going and hope for the best. I think with a little blocking and the bands/collar, it'll be just perfect, and it may loosen up a little with a handwash and wear, too.

Delancey Cardigan Try-On

Speed notes: I swear I haven't been knitting MORE often than I did last year but I must be knitting FASTER. Not only is my Delancey more than half done, I just finished a baby cardigan for a friend two days ago. AND I just started on a Tulip for my niece-to-be yesterday and I'm already down to the chest:

Tulips Cardigan Progress

Hello, my name is Mikhaela and I am a cardigan knitting (and wearing) addict.

I think my new speed is from switching away from plastic to metal needles. I had some serious repetitive stress injury issues with my hands back in 2008 and had switched to using plastic and sometimes wooden needles... and they are just MUCH SLOWER. This year I decided to switch back to metal but just be careful—to knit in small chunks and stop if my hands start bothering me even the slightest.

So, what do you think—too tight or just right?

P.S. By the way, if you're interested in making the Delancey yourself, there was a Ravelry knit-along last year with accompanying blog posts on the Sweatshop of Love. It also comes in a plus-sized version (up to a 58" bust).

P.P.S. In case you're wondering why both Z and I are prancing around in black bike-short-esque things, we were about to go for a family bike ride. We went down to Brooklyn Bridge Park and rode the carousel four times until I got motion sick and had to let my husband take her around for the fifth ride. Phew!

20 comments:

  1. I knit a delancey for the sweatshop of love knit along last year and I would say stick with the size you have. It does stretch out quite a bit with a good blocking. I can also say that due to the bias nature of the fabric there will be some pulling in the front anyway.

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    1. excellent to hear, thanks for the tip! I've heard that about the pulling. I love the chevrons so much I don't mind!

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  2. looks just right to me but I'm not a knitter so what do i know? but great looking cardigan :o)

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    1. Thank you! I'm encouraged to hear that.

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  3. I think you're going with the right plan. It will undoubtedly stretch after seaming with some blocking. I blocked all of the pieces for my jacket sweater, started seaming the shoulder and realize that - despite getting the very measurements I was aiming for (after measuring 10 times!) - the thing is too wide. This is after I ended up reworking my painstakingly mathed-up sleeves cuz, apparently, my math was wrong. Sidenote: From now on, I'm reworking sleeve caps by sight. Fuck math.

    Anyway, my original pieces looked very small but after blocking the (non-superwash) yarn released quite a lot and softened (which will impact the drape over your breasts). I really think you're making the right call. And since the designer has helped, I think you're on really solid ground.

    Sometimes fit seems wrong when you're constructing the fabric but it resolves when you seam the pieces together and they stretch the fabric evenly around the body.

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    1. Aw, that sucks—sleeve cap math is the worst. I had a friend who reknit her sleeve caps five times and then gave up. Can you put some elastic in or add a belt to tighten it up?

      Yeah, the designer pretty much said that. She also asked me if my knitted fabric was stiff or soft after I blocked it—I told her soft and drapey, which helped support her recommendation for the 33".

      And it's true about things looking weird when they are only partially knit and safety-pinned together. Fingers crossed!

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  4. Oh that is so gorgeous! What a beautiful piece you will have when you are done! I hope it fits you splendidly. Sometimes it is hard to tell when it is half finished like that.
    Hurrah for lots of knitting accomplished and no pain. I've had to take a break from my needles for awhile because of hand problems. Can't wait until they get rested up and I can get back to it. Thanks for the tip on metal vs. wooden needles.

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    1. Oh, hugs! I've so been there. I took a year-long break from any sustained knitting and did a lot of physical therapy... now I just take care to listen to my hands and stop immediately if any pain.

      I actually DO think the plastic needles are better when you are having hand pain... they force you to slow down and knit less. If I have to I will switch back.

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  5. I'm always freaking out and think that everything I knit is either too big or too small...based on the structure of the pattern and the pix you've posted thus far, I think you're good...and there's always a hard blocking!

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  6. It looks just right to me, especially considering the button bands and collar haven't been added yet. The bias fabric will also contribute to the "issues" you're noticing at this point. Beautiful colors! This is going to be a fabulous cardi!

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  7. I agree with your verdict too. I think this cardi is going to look great, and the button bands/collar should adjust the fit just enough to be perfect.

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  8. I don't want to be too harsh, but I think it's too small. That side seam distortion isn't going to go away by itself, and it's really going to show with those (otherwise beautiful) chevrons. Remember that adding two 1" button bands is still going to give you a single inch more. And maybe look really pulled out between the buttons (better plan a gros-grain ribbon or something to stabilize them if you have negative ease).
    You can pin the sweater fronts 1" apart on a fabric scrap to get a better idea of what it'll really be like when done.

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    1. Thank you for your honest assessment! I do admit I'm a bit biased here because I don't want to have to reknit it, BUT I think if I made the bigger size I'd be more upset about a baggy waist than I am about the pulled side seams. I've noticed most Delanceys seem to be worn with the lowest buttons unbuttoned—I suspect this is to make up for the way the side seams start to pull around the hips when it fits.

      Your idea of pinning the sweater fronts 1" apart is great!

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    2. Totally agree that the less re-knitting the better :-(. You're probably entirely right about the reason for the un-buttoning though. If you can live with it, knit on with abandon!
      And next time, consider back darts to get a good fit without squeezing your hips too much, as a seamstress you'll get the hang of them in a blink. Check out the Amy Herzog groups on ravelry (Fit to Flatter..) to get the lowdown on them.

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    3. I definitely use back darts for fitting BUT they wouldn't work with the chevrons—these pieces are sort of knitting diagonally, so any shaping would distort the chevrons.

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  9. I'd be a little concerned about the side seams. Maybe you could email the designer again and ask for her insight on that issue?

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    1. I think it's just the chevrons that create that issue. They're not actually seams—they're increases/decreases that create a faux seam as you create the chevrons.

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  10. I think button bands + a good block will see this turn out just the right size, too

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  11. Mikhaela! It's gorgeous! The fit is looking perfect, in my opinion. Your careful planning is really going to pay off. I know it's a little hard to imagine, but that button band and shawl collar will make a big difference. The side "seams" will be perfectly straight when it's all said and done. Just a little tip: because you are so curvy, the collar will tend to flip up at the front. I included a few increases in the pattern to help avoid this, but if it's still a problem for you, it's totally legal to stitch the collar down at the back of the neck. That's all it needs to behave in the front, usually.

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    1. Thank you Alexis! I'm so glad to hear that. I will definitely stitch that collar down in back!

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