If I haven’t mentioned it already, I’m an experienced crocheter. My Mom started me on crocheting, embroidery, and sewing when I was a kid. Over the years, the desire to crochet has come and gone. I’ve made some amazing doll outfits, crocheted doilies and centerpieces, scarves and hats, a really sweet oversized top, and a somewhat unintentionally oversized cardigan. Recently, I finished making two tank tops, one in pink and one in black. Neither fits quite the way I would like, but, by creating two Tests, I learned a lot about my body, about sizes, and about how to adapt some crochet patterns to fit better.
Here’s the thing: I happen to be short. Last year, I started buying Petite pants, and recently started purchasing Petite sized dresses. It was last year that I noticed that clothes weren’t fitting me properly–I seemed to have a lot of “back fat” or items were too long in the crotch or too tight across the bust and ill fitting everywhere else. Now, most women I know (including myself) would say, “ugh! I just can’t find anything to fit me! There must be something wrong with my body! I’m going to have to go on a diet…”
Well, the problem isn’t with one’s body per se. The problem, really, is in buying the wrong sized, wrong proportioned clothing.
Most women, IMO, don’t think about the proportions of clothing. Not just the chest or hip or waist measurements, but also the torso length, where one’s natural waist is located, or the length from shoulder to bottom of armpit (there are other measurements, such as inseam and rise, which I talked about in this post.) Most of us go into a store, pick from one of the small-medium-large sizes or number sizes in the Misses department, and if we can’t find what fits, get disgusted and leave. I know for years I wore clothes that were too big for me because my body had changed and I didn’t quite understand (nor did anyone tell me) that perhaps I was buying clothing of the wrong proportions and not the wrong size.
I also thought there was something wrong with me, with my body. If I could lose weight, I’d fit into a perfect size 8 or 6 or whatever size. The truth is, once one becomes a full-grown adult (as opposed to a Junior size) proportion matters more than the number size. Really!!
So, here’s what I discovered by making the tank: as per the instructions I first did a gauge swatch to make sure I would be using the right hook. No problem there. I’d be using a G hook and a soft 4 ply worsted yarn (I prefer Caron’s Simply Soft–a favorite, inexpensive yarn that works up nicely.) First, I would make the pink tank since I wanted it to be part of a sweater set. I made some preliminary body measurements, and decided to adjust the pattern to fit those measurements. I took two inches off the length of the body and 4 rows from the arm to the neck shaping. I then took another 2 inches from the neck shaping to the shoulder.
Once I tried on the top, I noticed that the armhole and shoulders were perfect but it seemed a little snug across the chest. So, for the next tank, which I would make in black, I decided to follow the instructions exactly as they are printed (here’s the pattern from the Yarnspirations website.) Since the finished bust size on the large is 40 inches, I believed this size would give me plenty of room.
It gave me more than enough room across the chest, but far too much room in the armhole and the shoulder strap length. That’s because I happen to be a Petite–not that there’s a problem with my body–and the pattern is proportioned for someone who’s definitely taller (by several inches.)
So, I will now made a third top, using the finished chest measurement of the large size, but making adjustments in the depth of the armhole and in the neck shaping.
It will be interesting to see if these particular adjustments will create a tank in the correct, not too snug fit.