A question of fit

I am struggling with a fit question on the Paid in Full tank.  I have finished about 8 inches of this tank, which is knit in-the-round and bottom-up.  I did almost all of this while on my trip to Malaysia, during which I was too lazy to transfer the stitches to a super long needle and try it on.  In fact, because I was knitting it on a 24″ needle, I kept thinking it was on the small size, but was content with the fact that the lace would make it very stretchy.  I have now taken the opportunity to try it on, and to be honest, I am fretting about the fit.  I think it’s too big.


It feels really loose.  I don’t think it looks terrible in the above photo, but I have already put in all of the waist shaping and there is still too much fabric around the waist.  Here is a different view:


If you look at the pattern photos, the tank is not skin tight and does have some ease, particularly on the back view.  I really like the way this looks on Deb, where it clearly has a bit of ease but not too much.  (This is the tank as worn by Deb Hoss, the designer. She looks good in everything.)

© Deb Hoss

When I compare mine to Deb’s, I think mine looks a little bit big, but it feels VERY VERY BIG!  It is super stretchy, as you can see here:


Below is a photo taken with a measuring tape.  For zero ease, I would need 42″ across the bust.  I am getting about 36″ on the un-stretched piece laid flat, measured just after the first set of waist decreases.  So, this piece shouldn’t be too far off.  Even allowing for a lot of stretch in the lace, it SHOULD fit.


When I cast on, I had to choose between a size 38.5 or a 44.  The 38.5 would give me 3.5″ of negative ease, while the 44 would give 2″ of positive ease.  I went for the 44 and I think that was a bad choice.  However, 3.5″ seemed like a lot of negative ease.  I didn’t want to end up with something that was tight and thus didn’t get worn.

There is a moral here: when knitting in the round, try it on!  Try it on before you knit 8 inches!  Laziness is a terrible excuse!  Even if you are sitting on a fabulous beach on an island in the South China Sea while knitting it! (Note that the moral of the story should always be accompanied by exclamation points; the more the better.)

I now have a dilemma.  I can’t decide what to do, and so I am in limbo at the moment.  Here are my choices:

  1. Pretend everything is good and carry on.
  2. Rip out a couple of inches and add in more waist shaping.  I have 5 sets (20 stitches decreased), and I could possible make 8 sets (32 stitches decreased).
  3. Brace myself, rip the whole thing out, and start over.

Note that my options don’t include “Throw it in a basket and forget about it till next year.”  That is because I love this pattern and I love the yarn.  I want to have this tank in my wardrobe.  Help me, dear readers!  What to do?  I need some advice.

24 thoughts on “A question of fit

  1. Do you happen to have a tank you’ve knitted that fits the way you’d like that you could compare the fit of your wip to? If, not and you already feel that it is much too big, I vote for #2 and, possibly, #3. I agree with your point to try on a garment when knitting it, as soon as you can. I too have been guilty of not trying on to see the garment fit when I should/could have. So much extra work if the fit is not what ‘we’ want because of avoiding moving to a longer needle! My Chiagoo interchangeable needles (absolutely Love these needles!) have adaptors that give me the ability to easily add another cord and make the existing cord longer; even so, I have, at times, avoided this easy solution to trying my garment on! I think I have finally got it after reading your latest blog post!! BTW, I absolutely love the sweater you made for your daughter …… such a lovely, stylish sweater that looks delightful on your beautiful daughter!!

    • Hi Karen, I knit almost everything with my Chiagoo interchangeables (including this) but don’t have any of these adaptors. I need these! Now! The sad thing is that it really is just laziness that kept me from trying this on earlier.

      And thanks for the nice comments on Emma’s sweater. I am quite pleased with the way it turned out. (And happy that Emma and Doug picked such a nice spot to photograph it.)

  2. hi Kelly! I honestly don’t have a problem with the lower bodice fit in your photos. While thinking about it, I slipped mine back on and find can pull it away from my body to the same extent you’ve shown. That said, where I don’t want the extra width is around the bust and the armholes where it will gap. One solution would be to leave lower bodice and waist shaping as is and work the upper bodice with fewer increase rounds modifying their intervals (more rounds between each). Working 3 increase sets instead of 5 will get you to your 42″. Then if you work the armhole shaping as indicated in your original size your cross back would be diminished by 4 sts (about 3/4″), which would likely work out well. Note that each shoulder will have 2 fewer sts too – no big deal. This design is good for re-configuring in this way since the lace won’t be impacted – it’ll all be on the stockinette so less complicated. Hope this helps! Keep me posted? Deb

    • Hi Deb, thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. I am thinking that maybe a combination of my option 2 and your suggestion here may work. I had already been thinking of doing fewer sets of increases on the upper bodice, so this syncs with my thinking. I’ve also thought about giving it a good soak and drying it and then trying it on again. This is because my swatch (which was washed) looks just a bit tighter. In any case, I will not do anything rash. By the way, your pattern writing is meticulous. This won’t be the last of your designs on my needles.

  3. You don’t need any more suggestions from us! ; ) Go with the designers suggestions! Looking forward to seeing the finished tank.

  4. I think it looks OK (and comfortable) at the bottom, but needs more waist shaping, so I would just continue with that, and try it on again when you think you’ve bought it in enough. I see this as a case of “custom-fitting” for yourself, rather than knitting the wrong size all together. Good luck!

  5. Dear Kelly, please go for number 3. If you’re using Tern for this beautiful tank, make it the negative size. Once you have blocked your finished tank you will see that it grows terribly. A few years ago I made Aisance with Tern. I forgot to block it, but at the end of summer I decided to do it. I should never have done so.
    Good luck with your choice!

    • Hi Jelma, thanks so much for leaving this advice. I have not used Tern below so I am especially interested in your experience. I absolutely love Aisance, and it has been in my queue for a long time, so I am sad that you had this experience.

  6. I see you received personal advice from the designer. I hope everything works out! Better make adjustments now then keep on knitting and staying in denial…

  7. Before I read the comments, I was going to suggest #2, but Deb gave you an excellent solution.

    I agree, before you decide, wash what you have done and see what it does. It’s going to be too beautiful to get wrong.

    Also try it on as you would wear it – over whatever clothes you think will be on you when it is done. No need to show us if it isn’t decent! 😉

  8. The pattern looks nice – not sure what I would do though – it doesn’t look super big and I think maybe it is hard to gauge until you get to the bust. Love your ‘non option’ of throwing it in the basket !

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