Briar Rose Vintage KAL: Initial thoughts on resizing, modifications

I hope you’ve all been thinking about yarn! I made my final decision. I’ll be knitting my sweater in ivory, and ordered KnitPicks Comfy yarn. It’s mostly pima cotton with a bit of acrylic, and should be perfect for Spring and early Summer wear.

In this installment, I just want to touch briefly on a couple of topics we’ll focus on as we go along. One that may apply to some of you: making modifications. One that will probably apply to many of you: resizing the pattern.

Thinking about pattern modifications

You certainly don’t have to make any final decisions about what modifications you might like to make to the pattern. Hell, sometimes I’m halfway through a sweater before I decide to tweak something. Case in point my current sweater. During the course of a few days I changed my mind how I was going to work the sleeves twice.

If you’re planning to make a big change like knit long sleeves instead of short, make sure you take that into consideration when you estimate yardage. But for small changes, just start kicking ideas around in your head. Do you want to omit the collar? Make two pockets, or none at all? Make the ribbing a little longer, or shorter? The sky is really the limit here. I don’t plan to make a lot of modifications to the pattern myself so that I can walk you through as many of the steps as written as possible, but I’m happy to help anyone out who’d like to try and change something.

Initial thoughts on resizing

Resizing this pattern is going to take some effort, but everyone can do it, no matter your shape or size.

Before I go further, though, I had a thought that occurred to me that I hadn’t mentioned yet in relation to resizing. If you’ve previously knit a basic stockinette sweater that you like the fit of, by all means, feel free to use that pattern as your base to build off of! Because essentially, Briar Rose is just a short-sleeved stockinette sweater with a collar, pocket and fancy sleeve caps. You could put that collar and pocket on any pattern, really, and shaping the sleeve caps would be all you have left to tweak. Just something else to think about, if the prospect of resizing seems daunting or if you’ve already done half the work by knitting a similar sweater in the past. I frequently combine elements from multiple patterns to achieve a similar look, and when we get into resizing, I’ll go over a couple of examples of resizing that I’ve done, including one subtle example and one dramatic example.

I’m giving you two week’s warning that resizing is going to involve math, so get ready! But I promise, just like when estimating yardage, it really will be pretty basic. I’m not a knitwear designer and don’t have software to help do the work for me, so this will all be built on the basic shape of our own body. No algorithms, nothing like that. Just using simple arithmetic, along with knowing our gauge (which we’ll work on next week) and our body measurements will get us there.

Just to give you a little taste, take a look at the image below of the shell of an inverted trapezoid style sweater, and it’s the basic shape of our vintage pattern.

One of the primary ways we can resize our vintage pattern is by breaking it down into basic parts. The above is just my first pass at how we’ll be breaking down the sweater. (Let’s just get it out there in the open now: I suck at drawing. So you’ll have to forgive my crude pictures.) For those of you who sew, you probably won’t find it much different than grading sewing patterns up or down. For those of you who don’t sew, don’t worry. You really don’t need any background in anything to do this.

What do you need, then?

Here are the supplies. It’s really easy.

A calculator, a pen or pencil, a piece of paper, a ruler, and a comfortable chair, because it may take a little while.

A good beer is optional.

Last thoughts for the day

As an FYI, I’m starting to post the subject of each KAL post in my sidebar on the right, for easier access to each topic as we go along. I hope that will be helpful!

And… don’t forget to order your yarn! We start swatching next week. In order to do that, you’ll need to estimate your yardage. Feel free to ask if you have any questions.

Have a great weekend!

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