Knitting My Favourite Clothes: A CustomFit Love Story

I love my handknits. But I haven’t always LOVED my sweaters.  I’ve loved knitting them, but have not always loved wearing them. I found I was wearing them as show pieces and then stripping them off as soon as I could in favour of clothing that felt better on.

Five or six years ago, I knit my last sweater that didn’t fit at all. It was time for change. To move away from loving the knitting but not wearing them, to knitting something that fits well. So trying a number of different resources, I began to make better sweaters.

Cria and Caulfield

Cria      Caulfieldfile://localhost/Users/Louie/Pictures/iPhoto%20Library.photolibrary/Previews/2013/10/05/20131005-204509/8kEl0lA8RYuSqOxyecXa2g/DSC_0032.jpg

These are the first sweaters that fit me.

And I got better at it. Reading more about how to manage fit. Doing the math needed to move waists to where my waist is and to accommodate my hips AND my bust, reconciling both with a shoulder width that, in standard sizing, doesn’t match.

I was happy with the results.  Really REALLY happy.

Aislinn and Draper

Aislinn         Draper

Over the moon about how these were the best fitting sweaters ever. I couldn’t imagine being happier.

Then at TNNA, Amy asked me if I’d help test her new sweater pattern software, CustomFit.

I was wrong. I COULD be happier.

This is my first CustomFit sweater:

CF1 -2    CF1 3

Knitting with CustomFit is an entirely different experience.  During testing, I sent a lot of emails back to Amy. “I don’t think this waist/bust shaping is going to be right. This doesn’t look like what I’ve come to know is right for me.” And it didn’t look the same. It was better.

When I finished this sweater and tried it on for the first time, this is the shaping that made me lose my mind:

CF1

It curves where I curve. Exactly where I curve.

The details are perfectly tailored to my preferences. The neckline is at the depth I want it to be. The length is to my exact preference. The sleeve length? It’s where I want my 3/4 sleeves to land. I think about how and where I will wear my sweaters now and tweak the details to fit those desires.

One thing I noticed when I put on the very first CustomFit sweater: it didn’t feel right. It wasn’t sitting where I expect sweaters to sit on me. I wasn’t feeling the extra fabric under my arms, created by shoulder seams that don’t sit at my shoulders. I didn’t need to pull at the sweater to make it sit properly. I was, for the first time ever, wearing a sweater that fits me perfectly. And I had to get used to knowing what “good fit” feels like.

I learned much from this first sweater. I learned about fabric and that swatching now is for making fabric I love so that I can make that fabric into sweaters I love. I learned about my preferences and changed some of my measurements so that the next sweater (and the one after that and the one after that one…) would be even better. I added more ease in the armhole. I added a touch more length to my “mid-hip” length. As wonderful as the first CustomFit sweater was, I made adjustments that I knew would make me even happier.

CustomFit works best when the preparation work is done carefully and well. Have someone else take measurements for you, and double check them. If you don’t have a friend or family member who can help, try your local yarn shop or a professional seamstress or tailor.  Fabric is also essential. Swatch until you love the fabric you’ve created. And then test that fabric.  Measure it before washing. Wash it and dry it the way you’ll wash and dry the finished sweater. Hang your dried swatch to see how gravity will affect it. Wear it around your wrist to see how it will change on your body, with body heat and everyday activities. Measure it and make notes at every stage of this testing and you’ll have a pretty good picture of how your sweater will behave.  The bigger your swatch, the more accurate these tests will be. (6-8 inches square will give you a good sense of how it will behave)

Since that first sweater, there have been more.

My wedding sweater (from a recipe designed by Amy)

wedding 2 img_5518  wedding back

 

The third:

CF3 CF3-2 CF3-3

And Shore Ledges, using the CustomFit recipe found in the Shore Ledges pattern:

CF4-3 CF4-2

 

 

 

I finish sweaters faster now. Because CustomFit patterns don’t require me to figure out which size will be closest to mine, and they don’t require that I figure out the math to make them fit better. There is one set of numbers: mine.

But I also finish faster now because I want to wear the sweaters I’m knitting.

These are now the clothes that I reach for first. The pieces I build outfits around. And the sweaters that feel as comfortable on as my most worn in t-shirt. These are the clothes I get complimented on, even by the people who have never noticed my handknits.

I’m building a wardrobe of clothing that fits me well and feels good to wear.  I’m thinking about the sweater styles I love, and recreating them and improving them…making them absolutely perfect for ME.

I am in love with these sweaters.  And can’t wait for these to join them:

newsweaters

 

Comments

  1. I can’t wait to get mine started, especially now that I’ve been gifted a pattern code to use on the Custom Fit site.
    Now I just have to get my measurements done and I can get started!
    All of your sweaters are gorgeous. My favourite is a toss up between your wedding sweater and the third one. Nice job!!

  2. I can’t wait to see these next 3 or 4 either!! The suspense is killing me. 😉

    xo

  3. moiraeknittoo says:

    Oh! This gives me such hope that I will be able to make a sweater that will actually work with my shape. I am seeing a friend in a couple of weeks and I think I’m going to ask her to help me with my measurements to input on the site. HOORAY!

    PS – you look LOVELY in all your sweaters, but that first Custom Fit one made me actually clap my hands. 😀

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