Off the Rack ~ Another PUG Review to Come

Sorry readers, this week has been so busy that I was unable to get my post done for today. But you can look forward to next week’s post, which will be a review of the ever-popular Pin Up Girl Clothing “Heidi” dress in birdcage print. It’s a winner!

Look for a recap of tomorrow night’s Hourglassy dinner, taking place in my old ‘hood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, later this weekend.

Business Briefing: My Big Bust Dress Shirt Sewing Lessons

Today I’m getting double mileage out of my Campbell & Kate blog post.  Click here for an update on what I’ve been learning:

Let’s Get Together this Saturday!!

Guess what? Tina will be in NYC to give the Corporate Curves Report in person this Saturday after she lands in the United States for yet another one of her whirlwind business trips. It gets even better because Leah from Off the Rack is joining us for dinner, too!

Are you in town? Then come join us at Mesa Coyoacan in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We need to make reservations by tomorrow night, so let us know in the comments if you can make it it. (It will probably be at around 8, but we’ll know for sure after we have our numbers and see what time slots the restaurant has open.)

We would LOVE to see you there. And it goes without saying that we would love to see what you WEAR.

big bust readers get together for mexican food

Busty Knitting and Fitting

This is the Amy Herzog sweater I have vowed to knit. It’s different from the one I posted when I first wrote about my determination to learn to knit because I want something super basic for my very first sweater.

boob friendly Afterlight sweater pattern

This is the purple yarn I’m knitting it in. Below is the swatch to determine whether my gauge (stitches per inch) matches that of the pattern. I spent three weeks on this 10″ X 8″ rectangle. At this rate, I should finish by the fall of 2014!

swatch for my busty sweater project

Interestingly, in her workshop, Amy told us not to wait until we reach a desired weight to begin knitting because there’s a 30-pound-range in which a sweater will fit us. In other words, a sweater will still fit me whether I gain 15 pounds or lose 15 pounds.  So even if it does take me over a year to finish this sweater, there’s a good chance it will still fit me.

Today I’m sitting down and trying to understand the pattern, and it’s putting me in a cranky mood because it seems very complicated to me. Instead of detailing the complicated features here, however, I thought you’d be interested in reading how I determined which size to knit.

My bust measures 45 1/2″ around the apex, but I chose the sweater size for someone with a 40″ bust. That’s because most patterns are created for Miss Average, whose shoulders and bust measure almost the same. To figure out how much fabric I needed for my shoulders, I had to measure my “torso circumference” by pulling the measuring tape all the way up into my armpits and over my bust. Now where have you seen this measuring technique used before?

bra band measuring according to VS

This is almost how Victoria’s Secret tells you to figure out your bra band size! I’m curious whether this is somehow connected to their rationale for using the overbust measurement. Anyhow, Amy Herzog uses this measurement to determine what shoulder size you need. I need a 40 1/2″ shoulder size. The closest pattern size fits a 40″ bust, and because Miss Average’s 40″ bust would be the same as her 40″ shoulder, that’s the size I’m going with.

Somewhere along the line I will be adding the extra 5 1/2 inches that I need for my bust. Even though I’m pretty intimidated by the prospect (I’m still struggling to understand how to cast on and rib), it sounds a LOT easier than altering the armscye. As Amy explains in her book,

Regardless of construction, all sweaters are three tubes: one for the torso and two for the arms. They’re joined together at the top in some (usually complicated) way, because we ourselves are joined together at the top in a fairly complicated way. The general principle of simplifying modifications is to ensure that the top of the sweater fits your shoulders—trying to fiddle with very complex sleeve cap math is much more challenging than making three or four easy modifications elsewhere.

You’ve stacked the deck in your favor by choosing a size based on your upper torso, which ensures you’re making the easiest mods possible. This is a departure from the typical recommen­dation to knit to bust size, but if you choose a size to fit your shoulders properly, most modifications you need to make will be easy . . . even if your sweater is knit in pieces!

Modifications that don’t affect a seam will cause no interference when you go to piece the sweater together. The illustration below shows the pieces of a seamed sweater, with the seams highlighted in blue and orange.The orange seam is for the set-in sleeve and you shouldn’t need to modify this if you’ve chosen the right base size. So we’ll skip those modifications . . . and focus instead on modifications that either don’t affect seams at all or that affect only the blue seams (shoulders, sides, and sleeves).

why busty alterations to bust are better than to armhole

In addition to adding inches for my bust, I’m considering deepening the neckline of this sweater dramatically and perhaps shortening the sleeves to elbow-length, although I’m also fine with the 3/4 sleeves. Let me know if you have any other suggestions. And if you’re thinking of jumping into the knitting pool, the water’s fine! I’d love to do this project together with  you. I just added it as my first project on Ravelry today, so you can follow along there when I’m not writing about it here.