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Ease in knit fabric for plus size body
How much is enough?
wood turtle

wood turtle
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MN USA
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Date: 10/7/06 12:13 PM

I recently had a bad experience in making a knit dress where I had graded up from a smaller size. The smaller size had 0 ease in the bust and 1/2" ease at the hip. I usually grade up to get a better fit in the neck and shoulder area.

This was definitely not enough for this plus sized body- it showed way more than I wanted to show. The fabric had plenty of stretch- more than the pattern allowed. It just didn't go around my body very well.

Do knit patterns for plus sizes allow for more ease than the smaller size? I am trying to get a ball park figure before I attempt my next knit project. I'm thinking that 1-2" of ease would be more appropriate, depending on the stretch of the fabric.

Stitchology

Stitchology
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In reply to wood turtle


Date: 10/7/06 12:20 PM

Patterns are so often inaccurate with the measurements they give on the envelope. The second best you can do is measure the pattern pieces. The best is a muslin with fabric as similar in stretchiness as possible. Measure a 4" (I think) swatch and then measure it maximally stretched to calculate percentage it stretches.

My personal feeling about knits on my plus size parts is not to have anything to close fitting or any fabric too clingy. I prefer knits with some body to them so they don't telegraph every bulge. I use almost as much ease as with wovens.

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Neefer
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Neefer
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Date: 10/7/06 9:38 PM

The only place I use zero ease in a knit, and this is with tissue fitting, is across the boobs. Everywhere else, I use as much as I do in wovens, otherwise I have the same issue with every lump and bump, fold and dimple getting emphasized.

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Neefer aka AgitProp and Village Churl Sewing Blog: http://www.oaktrees.org/blog/

Bonny lass, bonny lass, will you be mine?
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But sit on a cushion and sew a fine seam,
And feast upon strawberries, sugar, and cream.

Mini
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Mini
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Date: 10/7/06 10:46 PM

I agree with the rest of you-negative ease is not a good look for my size and shape. Maybe for something layered under a jacket that is going to stay on all the time, but otherwise an extra inch or two of ease is better. One problem for larger women wearing knits is that you really need a substantial bra to look decent, and it's more likely to show through a too tight or too sheer top. Knit pants and skirts that are too tight will have similar problems. I think that using darts and shaped seams to get a good fit rather than going too tight, is the answer for full figures.

Knit fabrics vary so much that it's hard to come up with a rule that will always give the perfect amount of ease. Draping your potential fabric on your body and pulling it tighter or looser until it looks right can be a good way to preview how close a fit you will want. Trying on RTW knits and measuring the ease is another way to find out how tight you can go before it gets tacky:).

Regarding knit show-through, I don't know if I'm the only one who notices this, but cotton knits seem to be the worst in terms of revealing the features of your figure or underwear that you really want to hide! It's such a comfy fabric to wear, but cotton tee shirt or sweater knits seem to have an uncanny ability to make whatever is under them appear in 3D. The boxy men's tees are the worst, but even nicer cotton knits will do this. The weird thing is it doesn't have to be tight for this to happen. You can check this out for yourself next time you are in a good people-watching location and see women going by wearing cotton knits.

wood turtle

wood turtle
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Date: 10/7/06 10:46 PM

Thank you all for your replies. I don't think I'll use zero ease in the bust again because it shows all the lumps and bumps in the back, even if it looks ok from the front.

That confirmed my feelings, that zero or negative ease in knits is not good for plus size bodies.
-- Edited on 10/7/06 11:14 PM --

stitchwitch
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stitchwitch
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In reply to Mini


Date: 10/8/06 5:04 AM

Hi Mini

the last bit of your comment chimed a chord with me. I live in T-shirts and I always have to resort to wearing a coverup at the school where I work as a technician as certain bras not only reveal all their details but the cloth seems to cling to the entire shape of each breast - I might as well not be wearing anything. Can you imagine what the kids would make of this? This can also be tricky in the fridge department of the local supermarket. I have invested in a couple of really ugly bras that are padded (not that I wanted the padded bit) but give a really nice shape under Tshirts and afford a lot more modesty!!

When I have made knit tops I find that I need lots of ease around the abdomen and hips (3"-4"), as much as a woven garment, as I think Neefer mentioned - looks a lot more flattering.

Wendy

juliette2
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juliette2
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Date: 10/8/06 7:45 AM

I learned this motto here on PR: "skim don't cling". It's especially important for us plus gals to keep this in mind -- it's the difference between terrible clothes and flattering clothes. I would NEVER EVEN TRY to wear something with zero or negative ease!

Some things are better left to the imagination ;-)

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It's a custom-made designer original. I made it myself.

Janie Viers
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Janie Viers  Friend of PR
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Date: 10/9/06 8:45 AM

Put a string or tape measure around you and then sit down or bend over or do an activity you would perform in the garment. I will bet you find that your "spread" factor is a bit more than it was when you were younger or firmer or smaller. I was amazed about how much more I "spread" than DDs' did! Standing I have a measurement of "x" at the waiste. Sitting I have "x 8inches!

------
JanieV

anna mermaid

anna mermaid
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In reply to Mini


Date: 10/11/06 10:54 PM

Mini,

I totally agree with you especially regarding cotton knits. I have even noticed this on expensive cotton knits. I have found the best knit for me is Slinky - the real stuff not the polyester kind. I would like to find some other knits that breathe that drape well, do you have any favorite knits you use?

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2007 YTD

Yards IN: 64.3 yards
Yards Sewn: 30.68

2006 YTD
YARDS PUCHASED - 42.2
YARDS SEWN - 52.8

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