Then I remembered that in Elizabeth Zimmerman’s book “Knitting without tears” (ironic title for this post – I should have read the book again before starting on this sweater!) she details a technique of using a sewing machine and a pair of scissors to turn sweaters into cardigans. This allows you to work more quickly in the round, but still have a cardigan. If it works for that, surely I can use the same technique to take my sweater in to my size!
I think some people would not agree with this post and the hybrid of sewing and knitting. It’s true I should have washed my test swatch, tested my gauge, tried it on as I went and done it properly the first time. But I didn’t; and I do not have the patience to unravel the sweater and start again!
So I took the plunge and sewed in some seams, taking in the excess to make it fit me. It has worked a treat, and here’s how I did it:
Measure and baste
Work out how much you will need to take in. In my case I had to take in 1cm for each seam – 4cm around the whole body. Baste the seam in a contrasting thread, don’t just pin it as pins fall out of knit wear and will make your sewing slip. Try it on after basting to check the fit.
Sew and sew
Set the sewing machine to the smallest stitch, and sew down the basting line, ensuring that you’re sewing down a column of the knitting. If you have a lace pattern like I did, take care to make the pattern match up. Sew a second line parallel, and close to, the first.
Take out the scissors, be brave, and cut the excess knitting away, leaving about 1cm for a seam allowance. Then go and have a cup of tea – or a stronger drink! – to recover. It’s pretty scary cutting your own knitting away. I was then extra nervous and hand stitched a normal mattress stitch seam in the wool as extra reassurance. I have done this twice now, and the joins have lasted fine.
Remove the basting thread. Wash & block your knitting and wear it in style knowing it fits perfectly!