Welcome to the FLS Modification Clearinghouse and Party Time Fun Zone!
In early 2010, I issued a call for folks to share their experiences modifying the February Lady Sweater pattern. I read through all the feedback and synthesized it into the list of helpful hints below. If you have something new to add, please contact me via email.
Thanks for all the thoughtful input! I hope this information is helpful!
- WHEN IN DOUBT, SIZE DOWN! When choosing a size to knit go with the size that is closest to your own measurements without going over. This is important because (1) the sweater will grow, and (2) the yoke looks best with a bit of negative ease, so as long as your bust is bigger than your waist, a smaller size is going to fit & flatter you best.
- STOP THE GARTER SECTION ABOVE YOUR BREASTS. If you’re a busty lass, your first instinct might be to lengthen the garter section to cover your breasts. Before you do this, you might check out the project photos on Ravelry and see which you look prefer (garter stitch stopping above or below the bust).
- MEASURE YOUR ARMS. If the finished sleeve measurements are too big for your arms, see sleeve mods below.
- SWATCH. And stretch out your swatch a bit when blocking, to give you an idea of how the sweater will grow with washing, weight and time.
The sleeves, as written, are pretty wide, and will flare a bit below the elbow. On some people, the combination of increase row + wide sleeves will create a bubble of fabric at the underarm. Lots of knitters have figured out ways to narrow the sleeves, both at the top and below the elbow.
TO DECREASE OVERALL CIRCUMFERENCE OF SLEEVES, you can do one or more of the following:
- Omit eyelet increases on sleeve stitches — only do them on the fronts and back.
- Omit additional cast-on stitches at underarm.
- Decrease the cast-on stitches at underarm over first few rounds of the sleeve (Round 1 and odd rounds: SSK first 2 cast-on sts, K to last 2 cast-on sts, K2TOG; Round 2 and even rounds: K) until you are out of cast-on stitches. NOTE: this will create a small stockinette triangle under each arm.
- go down 1 needle size, to knit sleeves at a smaller gauge.
TO ELIMINATE BELLING/FLARE, you can do one or more of the following:
- Below the elbow, decrease 2 stitches for each pattern repeat. So every time you knit Round 1 of the gull lace pattern, begin the round with a SSK, and end the round with a K2TOG.
- Go down 1-2 needle sizes for the garter cuff.
- INCREASE EVENLY OVER A ROW: Lucia (The Knitting Fiend) has a million fantastic calculators on her web site. This one will calculate how far apart to place your eyelet increases.
- CHANGE THE FIT OF THE YOKE:
- Omit eyelet increases and instead continue raglan increases until you reach the correct number of stitches.
- For a more fitted sweater, omit the eyelet increases and do raglan increases until you reach the number of stitches for the next smallest size. (Or just knit Amy’s February Fitted Pullover instead, which has lovely shaping and looks loads better as a fitted garment.)
- SWITCH UP YOUR INCREASE METHODS:
- On the raglan yoke, replace EZ’s M1 increases with KFB (knit in front and back of the stitch). Many knitters find the KFB increase easier to do, and prefer the way it blends into garter stitch.
- On the eyelet increase row, eliminate the eyelets by replacing YOs with KFB or M1 increases.
- RAISE THE BACK OF THE NECK. Add a couple of short rows to raise the back of the neck and lower the front. (Elizabeth Zimmermann’s indispensable Knitting Without Tears explains how to do this on a sweater knit in the round.)
- CUSTOMIZE THE NECK OPENING. If you’re concerned that the neck opening will be too big, use a provisional cast-on. Once you’ve finished the yoke, you can try it on, then pick up the cast-on stitches and either bind them off or knit the neckline up a bit further.
- ADD BUTTONBAND OVERLAP: The pattern is written to open up/fly away a little bit below the buttons. If you’d like it to overlap all the way down the front, you can add a few extra stitches to the fronts.
- Add a collar! using Gleek’s tutorial.
- Knit with a round yoke, instead of raglan. While I chose the raglan yoke to hug tight to the upper chest, curvy ladies might find a round yoke more flattering. (Melissa has a beautifully-designed top-down garter yoke on her Garter Yoke Cardigan that might be helpful here.)