FF: Practical Applications

I have to say, I look forward to Fashion Fridays all week long. I just love doing them. But sometimes, I think using only the materials at hand (a.k.a. me) must get a little monotonous for all of you. (What if you aren’t a proportional, straight, athletic sort of figure?)

Enter the lovely Linda, who wrote to me some time ago offering herself up as a Fashion Friday contributor. (I’d love to make an occasional series of these posts, by the way, so please let me know if you’d be interested in participating.) Linda is based in London, where she’s just opened a shop focusing on hand-glazed, ethically sourced British yarns. And this week, she shares her own experience in creating a version of Relax that works perfectly for her.

A while back Amy sent out a call for people to take part in her Fashion Fridays posts and I realised this would be a great way to get myself thinking more critically about what I knit and possible modifications to flatter, so got in touch.

(Linda’s comments will be in quotes throughout.)

Linda wanted to knit Relax for herself:


I love this sweater, it looks comfortable and cozy (and I’ll admit that I’m a huge fan of Dolman sleeves). Linda, approaching it with a thoughtful eye, knew she’d have to make some changes:

I think most of us have a fairly decent idea of what looks good on us… and we definitely know when something doesn’t! From past experience I instinctively knew that if I knit my Relax to the specified length it would be unflattering but couldn’t really say why.

Here’s Linda in her final selected length (left), and the original (right):


I love the shorter length on her. Linda does too – here’s what she has to say about it:

It wasn’t until I was mocking the photo up for this post and I started putting my ‘Knit to Flatter’ hat on that I realised the longer length not only emphasised my, shall we say ‘curvesome’, butt and gave no indication of the waist above, but the line across the hips at that point also made it seem wider AND a bit dowdy!

I didn’t think “dowdy” when I looked at the pictures, but I do think Linda’s curves shine through more readily with the shorter length. I notice the dolman sleeve line (which, flatteringly, lands at Linda’s waist) a lot more with the shorter length, which draws the eye up. On the right, my eye is drawn down toward the leg rather than up toward the neck. It’s a little more apparent when Linda raises her arms to the side:


I think Linda’s Relax looks great on her, and I love the thought she put into creating something she loves. (The difference between the two sweaters really highlights how large a difference sweater length can make, too!) There’s one more ingredient to Linda achieving the perfect sweater for her: The fabric.

Like many of us, Linda was substituting yarn for her Relax. Here’s what she has to say about that process:

A big consideration was also what yarn blend to use, as how a yarn drapes and moves can make a huge difference in boxier designs like this one. I decided to follow Ririko’s lead and chose my BFL/Silk mix, Islington, as the high silk content gives ample drape and therefore hugs into the waist a bit, keeping it from looking too boxy and adding weight to my frame.

So there you have it! Two very small, thoughtful changes (length and fiber) result in an utterly and completely wearable wardrobe staple.

Which is sweater knitting at its finest, basically. Many, many heartfelt thanks to Linda for so generously sharing her own experience; I hope to hear from more of you! (And for those of you who are fans of her yarn, pssst! She’s offering 10% off to folks who join her newsletter.)

I’d love to hear from all of you, too: Have you ever had the experience of making yourself a sweater and just knowing, instinctively, that you wanted to make a tweak? What was it?

Happy Friday!

8 thoughts on “FF: Practical Applications

  1. It’s fascinating to see how much difference the length makes. I’ve been noticing this with my tops. The frustrating thing is that so much ready to wear doesn’t give you much choice.

  2. Love this post! And continue to adore what you’re doing.

  3. I was happy to see how the focus on small details in a sweater with such a relaxed profile made a difference. It is easy to forget that we all must pay close attention to the numbers— even when all our bits and pieces have. Lot of wiggle room. I find fit in the shoulders to be essential to a great fit in anything oversized or boxy. Are there any shoulder-fitting issues in a dolman, I suspect it is more about sleeve length, and as was noted, the underarm line…

  4. I’m having the hardest time with what I “think” I look like or what I wish I looked like. We see these great designs and don’t always realize till late in that “uh oh” that’s not right, rip rip rip. We longntomlook like the models.
    Your great teachings help so much with suggestions and I can now think outside my hips (which are not horrible-I keep telling myself).
    If only we can tell them to stop expanding and they listen!
    Thank you Amy!!!!

  5. […] you follow the lovely Amy Herzog’s blog, you might have caught my guest appearance there on Friday, smirky face and […]

  6. I was interested in this post as I would love to knit Relax or a jumper like it. I do worry that as I am quite short (petite is my favourite description) this would make me look even shorter & boxy, so the info here is helpful.

  7. i love Linda’s sweater and all the thought she put into the making of it. really makes me think, I need to have more thoughtfulness with my knits too!

    thank you Linda and Amy!

  8. I always add waist shaping if it’s missing. My first super-successful sweater was a boxy v-neck cardi on paper. I knitted it up, including waist shaping and a generous shawl collar. It was only my second sweater project and my first time making big mods to any pattern. I still love this sweater! That success has helped me knit a lot of sweaters that fit through the waist- I’m excited about using your ideas about high bust measurements and bust darts in my next project to get great a fitting bust/ shoulder as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *