How to (not) shrink a too big bustline... in a knitted cardigan

in #needleworkmonday3 years ago (edited)

Last week I presented you with the riddle of how to shrink a too big bustline in a knitted cardigan. Perhaps you remember – it’s my blue-gray Miette cardigan which I on the one hand made to big in neckline and bust area and on the other hand which had bust darts which formed two baggy protuberances one cannot ignore (especially because they stay empty even when I wear the cardi).

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I got so many helpful, funny, and comforting answers from you (thank you!!!!!) that I made a big step forward into finishing the cardigan: I started the first sleeve. Now I hear you wondering ‘why didn’t she followed our advice and tackled first the bustline problem?’ And I wonder with you. I misguided my self into thinking, that the sweater would miraculous fit, if I simply finish the sleeve.

I could not convince myself entirely, so I distracted myself from sensible and honest thoughts by starting to sew a jeans skirt. But everything is connected and so the sewing led to a new attempt of mending the sweater, but with a little detour.


The sewing was dammed in the beginning, every time I started to seam the fabric, the thread tore. As I told you, I am not so experienced in sewing and perhaps I am a tad stubborn and ignorant, so I tried it not one time but perhaps eleven three times. But the thread did not work. I have a very sweet neighbour who is more accomplished in sewing and she told me that I was using a too old and thin cotton thread which was the culprit. I believed her (yes, I can be sensible) and went to the fabric store to buy something adequate. This store has two very nice salespersons who started to chat, and we wandered from sewing to crochet to knitting and I again presented my cardigan problem. And they presented me with another very easy idea how to mend this huge bustline. And because I am lazy at the bottom of my heart I immediately jumped on this ‘simple’ solution. I am sure you already can imagine how this went.

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The idea was to sew a curve beginning at the waist up to the armpit to the sleeve and so tuck away the excess fabric. I discussed this technique with a goo friend who was instantly sceptical, but nevertheless wanted to help me. She recommend that I firstly block the cardigan and that I should press down the protuberances… and I followed that advice (I am learning :-D) The sweater was dry very fast, because we have again summer instead of spring and so we went into the forest to find a secluded spot. Firstly I forced gently persuaded my friend to take the camera and document everything, then I sat down to sew. I turned the sweater on the wrong side and basted everything together. And surprise… I produced a lovely bulge. Arghhhhhh!!!!!!

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I think the idea with this sewn curve was ok, but the yarn of the sweater is simply too bulky to make an invisible seam - I could not get it tapered out (not sure if the term is right).

Because it was super hot (me wearing a wool sweater did not made it better) we fell a little bit overboard with the photos.

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End of story: I will wear this sweater as it is. The blocking helped a bit and perhaps I will get used to its appearance. If I ever think again about mending this sweater I will try out @shanibeer idea to steek, @cryptocariad idea with the lacing and if nothing helps I will reenact Cinderella (recommend by @jamethiel )

find a random stranger with a big bust but narrow waist and throw it at them, then run! It would be like Cinderella but with a cardigan and the fairy godmother has cool glowing wands (Star Wars knitting needles which glow in the dark)! If the Cardigan fits, you get to go to the ball...

Happy #needleworkmoday to you all (not sure if I should not better publish my posts under the hashtag #craftfail ??) And big thanks to Silvia Szlapka a for the photos and the patience


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Once again I'm dying laughing. Those photos of you goofing around!!!😂 This has to be the most humorously documented sweater on the internet...thanks for such a funny and enjoyable post, it made my morning!

Though I am sorry it bulged after you sewed it. I think @tali72 did a post a few weeks ago about something similar with a sweater, and she cut away the extra material to make it lay flat.

Happy I made you laugh :-D
And I read the post of @tali72 , but I think my sweater is simply too thick to be sewn successfully without a bulge. Perhaps with a overlock machine as @crytocariad proposed...

Heeey, this is Miette! I found the pattern on Raverly and started knitting it few years ago ... then I've not finished it yet. It was a good reminder to start knitting it again :)

Yes the miette :-D It is such a lovely pattern. Do you have the project on ravelry? I am curious which yarn you used (I am thinking of starting one in cotton)

Knitting in cotton was the problem I had. The yarn splits so easily comparing to wool one. But it's not the yarn's problem more like just I haven't knitted with cotton yarn. I used red cotton yarn from Wolle Rödel:
I may use thinner yarn for my second attempt to make it a bit lighter :)

urgs, this does not sound too good... I seldom use cotton yarn because it is so plitty and because it has a strange feeling on the needles, but I thought it would be great for the stitch definition. I have to ponder this....

hee hee hee :)))) I adore your humor !!!! wow !!! you already finished one sleeve! improvements have greatly helped. I like how your cardigan looks. when you finish the second sleeve, it will be gorgeous!

Thank youuuuu - and I am nearly finished. I completed the second sleeve, now I have to sew on the buttons and wait for the next winter to wear it :-DDD

You are very funny! I kept smiling reading this post. Anyway, I would not notice the bulge if you did not tell me. When you put on this sweater in winter, I think people will not really pay attention too because they are busy making their body warm!😂

Happy I made you smile, and it is encouraging to hear my miscalculating is not too obvious. I also hope it will be ok with warmer and more clothes beneath :-D

You have such a good sense of humor about it! It looks so pretty anyway. See what it looks like when you are bundled up for winter underneath maybe? It might not be so noticeable when you have layers under it?

Thank you! And there is no other way than humor, if you have my skill in math and in estimating the size of knitted items :-DDD
And you are right, I think with a more winterly outfit, the sweater will look better and the cupsize not so big (pleaaassseeee)

That's a good plan!

Hahah.. you are funny @neumannsalva! If you hadn't pointed out the bustline problem, I wouldn't have noticed! You did a great job! I am still far from being able to knit like that.. Straight lines for now 😜

Thank you so much for the compliment. But the pattern is not really hard. I think advanced beginner. If you already know how to knit a top down raglan sweater, then I would recommend this patter, it is very well written. If you have never worked top-down (in crochet or knitting) than I would star with a pattern without lace :-D

I admire your patience, as I have very little for a sweater project. Love the design around the waist line and button line. It is beautiful and I am sure you will figure out something that works!

It so interesting to learn about other crafters preferences. I more or less only make cardigans and pullover - everything smaller makes me nervous. I so admire amigurumi for example, but I do not like to work with thin yarn and small circumferences. Then my fingers start to hurt, and I get impatient.
And with the sweater... perhaps I will block it again and try to wear it as it is (I also love the design and the designer. She has many more beautiful sweater patterns)

This is what happened to my too big jumper:
We tried a similar technique of taking in the sides and sleeves, but like yours, it was too bulky and refused to hang properly. I think @phoenixwren has the next best idea.

Sorry I wanted to be funny. I think you are simply more courageous than me to unravel a garment which does not fit. I am still deluding myself, that the sweater is ok... if you close your eyes or it is very dark outside.

Haha - actually I don't feel so bad undoing it here in the sunshine 😎

I hope you are sitting at the sea and relax profoundly (while perhaps starting a new cardigan?)

My sister asked me to help find out what was wrong with her sewing machine and this happened:


All our surgery couldn't revive it - a rubber part had perished

But at least this patient survived and is back in working order.

Wow I have never seen the intestines of a sewing machine. And cudos to you, that you were able to repair it. But I still hope you are doing this at a beautiful beach :-D

I loved all the action photos @neumannsalva :)

Apologies for the quality of the photo below... When I did some surgery on a very cheap shop-bought cardigan, I used my overlocker/serger which trimmed the shape of the curve. It was tough doing the overlocking on the knitted garment but it worked - it doesn't really show on the outside.

You succeeded with what I tried 👍 👍👍 👍. The sewing machine maybe another alternative I could try. Sadly, I don't have an overlock machine (And I never tried to sew knitted fabric) There is a sewing school in town and I am contemplating to ask there, if someone dares to sew this sweater...
Thank you for this good tip <3

Lol, this cardigan is on the spot yet again! The first thing that caught my eye was the sleeves. I actually crave a dress with a long sleeve and a short sleeve just like that. Long story short , This sweater must be worn☺ .Your friend took really nice pictures of you tho, lovely spring delight.
So what happened to the jean skirt you wanted to sew ?

laugh My friend who took the photos also thought I will leave one sleeve unfinished, but now I still want to finish this thing :-D I can imagine a dress with this short/long design. The cardigan is so warm I will wear it more in winter and one short sleeve would not be practical.
And the skirt is finished. I wanted to write about for next Monday. But it is a super simple design and my execution is so so :-D (nothing to compare to your exceptional sewing skills)

I love all your photos. How you have a spare pair of socks? LOL!!! Actually it doesn't look so bad.....a blind man would love to see it. Is it comfy to wear? I wish I had some magic wisdom for you but I sounds like you've had some good advice! BUT....if you decide to "gift" it to someone by way of throwing it at them can you please get video? LOL!

Thaaaanks 💕💕
Maybe the socks are the magical solution???! I hope I will be brave and wear the cardigan with pride.
The wool is really nice, not scratchy or pilling and very warm (I felt like bathing in sweat during the photoshoot... 30 degrees!!) But if I notice that it is only laying around, I will try out @cryptocariads new idea of sewing it with an overlock machine or I will produce a film: "Sweaterella - the woman who throws her sweater at innocents" 😆😆

Awww you are just the cutest!! I’m so sorry about all the complications and that you ended up with a bulge. Nevertheless it’s still a cardigan that you should be proud of because YOU made it and didn’t pick it up from the nearest store.

I love that you can still have fun even in your disappointments and still make the best of your time, enjoying outside and having a fun photo shoot. At least you have gathered some awesome ideas from other needleworkers for next time (let’s hope there won’t be a next time and you make the cardigan to fit just right the first time 😉)~

Thaaanks 😍 Up to now the new grey sweater fits very well, but who knows... I seem to have a talent to make strange mistakes while knitting 👽
And you are right, I try to make more of my clothes myself, but it is not easy, because clothes are so cheap around here and fabric and yarn much more expensive. And I am still not very accomplished in sewing, the summer dress and the longer summer skirt are still waiting to be sewn (I am not courageous enough)
Besides I recognise a pattern in my clothing behaviour: I often are too afraid to wear my knitted/crocheted items because I fear they are not washable and will get destroyed… not clever, so they are lying in my wardrobe. But I try to better me.

As @jamethiel once told me,

a small imperfection is just a signature

You can think of those strange mistakes as this. I definitely understand about the sewing, we all have our things we are a little intimidated with. With practice, overtime I think you will overcome that.

Oh no! You have to be able to enjoy and wear the things you have made. You can just hand wash and hang dry, that usually helps things last longer and keep it’s shape :)

Can't wait to see the panel skirt next week! Lol - that is too funny. You'll wear it as is with one long sleeve, one short, one sort of fixed bust and one droopy one? That sounds like a good plan. ;) You make me laugh and I enjoy reading your posts every Monday!

laughing No, hopefully I will finish the second sleeve soon and after this I will again try too block it and/or sew the bulge away. @cryptocariad had a good idea with doing it with an overlock machine instead of by hand. But this would be a bigger undertaking, because I neither have an overlock machine nor used one before.
If nothing helps: after all this sweater cheered us all up :-D I am happy you liked my posts and I am glad too have found this amazing community <3

Well, good. I was worried that you were going to wear one short and one long sleeve out in public. ;) Ha.

The half finished sleeve had me worried when I saw the first photo! Great write up and I look forward to the day you sneak through town looking for the right person to gift with the cardigan! :)
It is barely noticeable in the photos, at least the ones from more than 20 ft away, so just staying away from people might also be an option!

Your worry is not completely unfounded... I may have lost my momentum to carry on with this sweater. As I wrote in the last post I stared a second version without the darts and a size smaller and so far, it looks better.
And with the idea of staying away from people... I am working on it: I upped my garlic intake and we will see where this lead :-D

Garlic should help! Lol! Good luck with the second sweater and definitely finish that first one! You know the fairy tale where all the princes and princesses were turned into swans? You don't want to throw that sweater on someone and have them only change partially!

nooo this would be so sad. I know the story and I think I firstly saw it as a cartoon when I was very young. At this time, I absolutely could not understand how she made fabric from nettles - I thought it was magic. Do you know the retold story by Juliet Marillier (Daughter of the Forest)? It is some years (ok many years) back that I read it, but I remember to have loved the books... but no guarantee, perhaps they are kitschy...

I will look up her retelling! It is always nice to find retold stories as each author puts their own touches on the story.
My Mom had some of the nettle yarn and it was ok, very tough and a natural cream-brown color. I think she made a shopping purse out of it.

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