This is a question that was left on our video about Understanding Ease, and it required a little more conversation, so here are some options to consider when choosing a size for hips that are significantly wider than your bust.
Q: What if you have hips that are 7 inches larger than your bust?….How do you select the size to choose when most patterns have just the bust measurement?
A: This is a common problem for many of us, and one of the reasons why it’s important to know all of your measurements.
The thing to remember is that sweaters hang from our shoulders, not our hips, so to keep a nice looking upper body in our sweaters, we need them primarily fit our bust and shoulders. If you’re knitting a pattern that’s very oversized—say 10″+ of ease—you can just knit the pattern as written for your bust or preferred fit.
If you’re looking to knit a more fitted piece, such as Kai, you’ll need to work adjustments. The first thing to do is look at the schematic for the garment. Here’s the schematic for Kai (if you’re making a garment and it doesn’t have a schematic… you may want to choose another pattern—any reputable knitting or crochet pattern will have a schematic with it).
You see it lists three width measurements at the bottom, with corresponding dots. The tank is knit flat at first, before being joined in the round, so the numbers are HALF of what the finished measurements would be. The very bottom number lists the bust measurement. The numbers at the top of that column are the hip measurements. I’m going to double those numbers, so the hip measurements for Kai are 36(40-44-48-52-56-60)”. They’re about 4″ more than the bust measurement, so if you were going to knit this and you had a 7″ differential between your bust and your hips, you’d have 3″ to create somehow. Here are a few options.
1) Sticking with my 35″ fictitious example from the blog post, if she had a 42″ hip circumference, what I would probably do is cast on for the 44″ hip numbers, and then decide on my decreases. As the schematic shows, there are decreases to the waist, and then increases to the bust. Let’s say that I’d cast on with 200 stitches (please note, these are not the actual numbers from the pattern), and the pattern has you work decreases and increases until there are 160 stitches for the bust, so that’s a difference of 40 stitches. I would probably convert this into an A-line tank and just work decreases until I ended up with the 160 stitches for the bust.
2) Alternatively, you could decrease to the size that matches your waist measurement and then increase again to the size that matches your bust, though this technique is going to require some adjustments in the number of rows you work between decreases (as in, you’d probably need to work the decreases more frequently).
3) Another option is to use a larger needle size at the bottom and then gradually decrease to a smaller size as you progress. The trick with this is that to make up the 3″ differential is that you might have to go up to a needle size that doesn’t create a nice fabric, so you’d need to swatch a few different needle sizes to make sure you still like the fabric.
Got any tips and tricks of your for handling this problem? Leave them in the comments!