Knits Spring 2009 Gallery: Zickzack Tunic

Zickzack Tunic

by Melissa Wehrle

from Interweave Knits Spring 2009

 36.5" sample garment

The images above are from the magazine where the sweater is modeled with about 2.5" positive ease.

The images below are of our Interweave Gallery Gals wearing the same sample sweater.


 Interweave Gallery Gals
Allison Allison

Bust:  36"
Waist: 27"
Hips:  36"
Height:  5 feet 4 inches

Ease at bust: 0.5" positive ease

All of us who tried on the Zickzack Tunic found it to be very stretchy, flattering and comfortable without too much cling.

Allison's height and torso length is perfect for the hem length here; the ribbing at hem starts a couple of inches below the widest part of her hip, allowing the stretchier zigzag stitch to give her hip room before the ribbing starts. Measure vertically to see where your hips fall into relationship with the ribbing; make sure that the ribbing does not begin at their widest point.

Allison is wearing black underneath the tunic; in a garment like this, what you wear underneath becomes part of the style! (Notice that the magazine model is wearing a light green tank top.)

Stef, back view
Stef, front view

Bust:  34"

Height:  5 feet 5 inches

Ease at bust: 2.5" positive ease

Stef really liked this! It's cute on her just as is, but several of us thought that the ribbing could start lower for a longer line and a more curvy silhouette overall. 
Toni, front view Toni, side view with buttons

Bust:  34.5"
Waist: 28"
Hips:  36.5"
Height:  5 feet 5.5 inches

Ease at bust: 2" positive ease

At right, Toni is showing off the pretty button detail that accents the ribbing.

Great fit–notice the differing amounts of positive ease shown across all three models here! The lace pattern is very forgiving and accommodates a range of body types and sizes, so the one sample garment looks great on our multi-size Gallery Gals.

The ribbing starts at a nice place here, although different from in Allison's photo–on Toni, the ribbing begins about an inch above her widest hip measurement. Either way looks great! Have the ribbing start above your widest part or below it, but not right at it, for the most flattering look.

Here are some questions to consider as you look at these photos:

  • How do you think the garment compliments each woman's individual body type and personal style?
  • Which body type does this garment look best on?
  • If you wanted to knit a sweater straight out of the magazine, with no pattern adjustments except for sleeve and hem length, would this be the sweater for you and your body type?
  • Would it fit your personal style?

Leave your thoughts in the comments!


Some links you  might find helpful:

Measuring yourself and your clothing

About positive and negative ease

Measuring tutorial with photos


Other Things You May Like to Check Out:


Knitting Patterns, Sweaters

37 thoughts on “Knits Spring 2009 Gallery: Zickzack Tunic

  1. It looks best on Allison. I’m shorter than Stef, so it’s interesting to see how it fits her. I would lengthen the ribbing, and always wear a darker tank!

  2. I was (pleasantly) surprise by this item! It was good looking on Allison, Stef, and Toni! I would have liked to see Sandi in it. This one has other possibilities as well. I agree that the ribbing should be lower for Stef. And it occured to me that buttons on both sides would bring interests for those of us who are not really hippy just fuller in that area!

  3. This looks best on Allison, and of course Toni looks adorable as per usual. I don’t like this sweater in general though – the pattern stitch makes everyone look more square than they are. And a bulky turtleneck with such short sleeves? And the sleeve shaping is odd to me – it almost looks uncomfortable on Stef. I think with a 3/4 sleeve it would be better.

  4. I really like this sweater. And I find it interesting that you only cite the +/- ease factor with regard to the bust, although with this pattern the hips are just as significant. With fitted sweaters on my body, I always choose the size that fits–or skims over–the largest part of my body–usually my waist, because I’m pretty much straight up-and-down, with very little waist definition.

  5. At first glance, I like this sweater very much, but then realized that the sleeves look too awkward and would accentuate my broad shoulders. I can see this on Stef. The shape of the sweater makes her body look too square. I like it best on Allison; the length is perfect.

  6. VERY CLASSY !!!

    but, there is always a but, if TOO tight, it loses its classiness.

    I think wearing this with a negative ease takes away from its beauty.

  7. It’s a great garment but not for a woman (like myself) with big shoulders and big busts. The combination of the sleeve and big turtleneck would make me seem gigantic. Looks good on the models, though, because they have more balance.

  8. Thanks for listing the model’s heights this time – but what happened to your tall gal? I am almost 6 feet tall, and appreciate seeing the styles on someone else with their head in the clouds. It can be tricky to decide where to add length in a pattern.

  9. I just wanted to say, “Thank you!” for modeling these garments every month. It makes a WORLD of difference in how I look at some of the patterns. I would say this is one of the best features of Knitting Daily (that and the free patterns, of course). Lisa (a designer and knitter)

  10. I can see this being the one I would make considering the criteria considered. I believe this would flatter most any type depending upon the length it is finished at.

  11. Looks best on Allison. The design draws the eyes down to the ribbing despite the neck treatment. The buttons increase this aspect even more and add the dimension of drawing the eyes out – making this part of the body seem wider. The bottom line – this garment emphasizes the broadest part of the body and makes it seem wider. This garment is designed for the woman built like a bean poled.

  12. This looks great and I love the colour too. I would have loved to see Sandi in it as she is the gallery gal that best represents me (almost identically!) and it would help to work out where the ribbing would need to start for us curvier types.

  13. I don’t like this pattern on anyone, even the model. All the bulk at the top, the disproportionately short sleeves, and the tubular body don’t fit together into an attractive pattern. I would never make this project.

  14. Thought I would chime in with my agreement on the need for a tall model. Clearly, next time you are hiring, you need to make height over 5’9″ a criteria for employment! 😉

  15. I don’t much care for this one on anyone. It just doesn’t seam to be a flattering combination of shapes. But I think it is very important to see a sweater like this on regular people vs. models, to get a more accurate idea of what to expect. Thank you for modeling this, beautiful gallery gals!

  16. I’m sorry to sound kind of depressing about this, but I have to say that I wasn’t happy with any of the styles, I could not see them on myself, and seeing them on the ladies did not make me feel any better. Some looked kind of frumpy (diminishing rib), others a little weird (saoirse shawl), the cocoon looked comfy but for me not worth the effort, and this one too tight and revealing in ways I would rather not show off. Thanks for modeling though, worth seeing.

  17. Yes, I’m with the “let’s find some taller ladies please” group. It’s so hard for those of us who have another few inches to cover to even begin to think what these designs would look like. I know we can add length on in our minds but it would really be sooooo helpful to actually see someone a little taller than average.

  18. You win. I was wrong. When you previewed the issue, my comment was that it was a very lovely design that would be fun to knit but sadly it probably was not actually wearable by anybody but a 6 foot teenager. I was so wrong. So so wrong. These ladies ROCK this garment. I want one. Gotta figure out whether to extend those sleeves or delete ’em entirely. Hm. Delete them. Make tunic a hair longer. Knit in dark teal, dark dark red, or cocoa. Wear over jskinny eans, flare leg stretch pants, or a short narrow skirt. Or… Hm….

  19. It’s a little discocerting that your “real women” look less like teal sausages than the magazine model. They also look happier, but it would take more courage than I have to wear this casing anywhere. Love the color.

  20. Only 3 brave models for this pattern?

    I generally avoid tunics, I think a long shirt over your pants just adds bulk in the waist area, and this is coming from a fairly short in-shape person. I don’t think long tops look great on 5’2″ me.
    I like it best on Toni I think.

    If I made this, I would shorten the hem to the low waist.

  21. I like this best on Allison, tho I would probably not wear this design. I’m one of those “pear shaped” people and my thighs are actually wider than the upper hip. I have a feeling I would look like a “drumstick” in this sweater….
    Is it possible they pinned back the sweater in the magazine shoot? I wonder why she looks so tight while the gallery looks much more relaxed, fitwise ….

  22. Love it , love it, love it! Great on everyone!! Come on, let’s get adventurous and wear this with leggings and the ‘shawl’. This is definitely one great sweater that is not for just the young, the old, the tall or the short — you can lengthen the sleeves, ditch the ribbing, maybe even add the shawl to the bottom instead of the ribbing!

  23. I just have to add—this is the nicest. forum of women! I love the magazine. I enjoy the galleries and the “real” models. After all, we knit for enjoyment however, we do live in the real world! This has been great! I went back to re-review the sweaters…I like this one. I considered some of the comments about shoulders, etc. I am 5ft 3. I have broad shoulders for a short woman of 58. Wearing sweaters w/o defined shoulders has been a pleasing as the seams never match correctly on me. I do think this one would be most flattering for the broad-shouldered lady and if a few rows were added for a little more length, if the bust line is ample the sleeve wouldn’t lose much of its shape.

  24. This looks great on every one. I’m just not attracted to this style, personally. But, it would look great one just about any one. And I liked the rick=rack effect of the lace. I migh incorporate that into a different style of sweater, like a cardigan or shorter sweater. It would look great in a shawl or afgan, also.

  25. I think it looks best on Allison because she isn’t wearing white underneath. Probably isn’t flattering on anyone from the backside where the zigs and zags are bound to stretch. Another piece that adds at least 10 lbs to look.

  26. I agree, it looks best over a dark undershirt. Also the wide hip band works best on Allison because it falls below the curve of her hips (I think – I’d like to see a back view on her). Looks worst on Stef because she has curvier hips, the sleeves are too snug for her full upper arms, the cowl collar muffles her neck – does she have a very short neck? The whole sweater appears snugger on Stef than on Toni, despite their similar measurements. So with this one, your proportion details matter as much as your overall size.

  27. What season is this sweater intended for? The collar is winter/fall as well as the length with the deep ribbing. But the body pattern and the sleeve length says spring/summer. Just my observations. Have a nice day knitting.

  28. I like the zigzag pattern in the body of this sweater and would use that in a sweater for myself. However I agree with those who say the big neck and short sleeves would not work well — your arms would be cold or your neck would be hot. Also the wide band at hip level would make my rear end look even bigger than it is. I think it would look best on someone with small hips.