|we tried on A LOT of sweaters|
My LYS hosted Amy Herzog for her four hour Knit to Flatter workshop. It was fantastic.
Because I don't pay much attention to fashion or commercial clothing design there are some fundamentals about dressing that have always eluded me. I have a good sense of what colors look good on me, but cut and style? That is a whole other ball game. And the few hand knit sweaters that I have made, while lovely, haven't left me exactly excited about knitting more. And this class taught me why.
First, I have leaned heavily towards raglan sleeve sweaters which, based on the method of increasing stitches, presumes your body is the same shape on the front that it is on the back. Well, I haven't been that shape since before puberty! And while they are arguably easier to knit up, they don't fit as well unless they are heavily modified to suit your shape. And that is incredibly difficult to accomplish well when you knit your sweaters all in one piece. If you deconstruct your sweater into parts you can focus your modifications where they are needed/necessary. This allows you to make a custom knit, without too much pre-planning. And the tailored look is always in...if your clothes fit they will almost always look good. If they don't, well, then they won't.
Secondly, I have never understood the concept of ease in a knitting - I vaguely understood it to mean that negative ease would give you a tighter garment and positive ease a roomier one - but this class showed me exactly how to work with ease to match your measurements to a garments schematic, thus greatly increasing your chances of making a sweater that looks suited to you (vs. a sweater you are trying to fit into).
Lastly, during this class we took digital photos of our bodies, drew our outline and took a few measurements - now I have a solid understanding of shape. I am relatively proportional, but straight (as opposed to curvy). It is not how I envisioned myself as I walked into the classroom, but upon leaving a light bulb had gone off and I realized why certain sleeve lengths and necklines look good on me while others most certainly don't. Fantastic. And I would almost call it magic, except Amy is wicked smart with the numbers and has obviously spent a tremendous amount of time and energy analyzing these issues.
Amy's book, Knit to Flatter, is full of patterns that will suit any body shape made in amazing yarns. Each sweater features directions for how to customize for your particular body, including flattering shaping lines. You can also access all her wisdom on her blog.
I have already ordered yarn (Shelter by Jared Flood!) to knit up a new sweater for myself. My goal for this sweater is to spend a lot of time focused on shape and fit; to knit a relatively plain/simple sweater, but one that looks smashing on me and my body. Armed with Amy's expertise I have more than half a chance at success! Wish me luck.