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What's your sweater type?

Jul 4, 2011

Cooke Cardigan from Fall 2011 Knitscene     
With the Cooke Cardigan, Amy Herzog employs many of the principles of design for top-heavy women. This buttonless jacket, designed to be worn open, features a deep vertical neckline edged in a beautiful herringbone design that slims and lengthens the body. Long sleeves also flatter women with broader upper bodies.
You know Knitscene is always full of fun and funky patterns, cool new yarny product reviews, and in-depth features about yarn producers and designers. What you might not realize is that Knitscene contains lots and lots of fascinating instruction, too

Take Julie Matthews' piece from the Fall 2011 issue, about designer Amy Herzog and her tips for figure-flattering sweater shapes.

Here's an excerpt from that article.

Form & Fit
by Julie Matthews

We've all had the unfortunate experience of knitting a gorgeous pattern exactly as written, only to wind up with a sweater that falls short of making us look like the sample picture. The fact is knitwear designers need to draft patterns to fit some shape, so they choose a standardized average. Sadly, most women differ from this "average" in at least one way. That doesn't mean the rest of us should resign ourselves to lackluster sweaters—far from it! All of us deserve sweaters that perfectly fit and flatter us.

Designer Amy Herzog finds beauty in everyone. “As women in this culture, it is impossible to see ourselves in an unbiased way,” Amy says. “Everyone who comes into my classes, regardless of her size or shape, is obsessed with some part of her body. What she doesn’t see are her natural assets.” Her remedy: teach knitters to make sweaters that enhance their attractiveness and de-emphasize problem areas. She encourages knitters to start by determining whether they are bottom-heavy, top-heavy, or proportionally shaped.

Top-Heavy Shapes: Top-heavy women tend to have broad shoulders or busts proportionally larger than their hips. Amy advises moving visual interest to the bottom of the sweater. “Choose designs that incorporate eye-catching elements at the hem of the sweater or employ long vertical panels for the rest of the bodice,” she suggests.

Bottom-Heavy Shapes: With bottom-heavy shapes, the hips or thighs are proportionally larger than the rest of the body. Amy counsels moving visual interest to the top of the sweater. “Choose designs that have colorwork, lace, or texture across the shoulders or bustline, and vertical or plain patterning at the hemline,” she says. 

Proportional Shapes: When a woman’s upper and lower body measure the same width, she is considered proportional. “The key to flattering proportional shapes is to preserve the balance between the shoulders and bust with the hips and thighs,” Amy says. She recommends pairing a motif at the neckline with a similar design at the hips and cuffs. For example, yoked sweaters with colorwork repeated at the shoulders, sleeves, and hem particularly flatter a proportional form.

—from the Fall 2011 issue of Knitscene

For much more information about fitting and flattering your unique body shape, get the new issue of Knitscene now!


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DeeP wrote
on Jul 5, 2011 8:07 AM

 This article, like so many others, covers the easy stuff that every other article covers.  Medical issues have given me this belly that distorts my original proportions. In every set of tips on TV, in print, and online, downplaying the belly, an issue for millions of us, is ignored. Please address this in a future issue.  I often give up before I even buy the yarn because I'm not sure how to choose the pattern, yarn and stitch that will disguise this problem area. Thank you for addressing this issue and very much for Knitting Daily.

on Jul 4, 2011 8:04 AM

Since I refuse to use the word 'heavy' to describe my body type, I'll say I have small petite top with a shapely bottom, Ok? I look best in fitted sweaters that flatter my small bustline and proportionately smaller waist. Speaking of long verticals, I know I want to make the Spoked Cardigan (which is all about long verticals) that's in the new Weekend Knits. It's very striking bold and looks warm, which will be needed at that time of year!