Fit to Flatter - Amy Herzog

Everyone, I'd like to introduce you to Amy Herzog, my very own Oracle at Delphi when it comes to choosing styles that look good on a given body. Doesn't she look marvelous in this lovely blue deep V-neck sweater with the elbow length sleeves and the subtle horizontal striation in the colouring. There's a reason why Amy looks great in a garment incorporating these design elements, and you too can discover these secrets and make them work for you.
So, before I end up sounding too much like a late night info-mercial, let me explain that I was introduced to Amy's on-line tutorial, Fit To Flatter, through the latest edition of Knitscene Magazines. I was hoping to, once and for all, eliminate some of the styles that I shouldn't even look at when clothes shopping. What I found was the true motherlode of fashion sense, and 123 pages of how to feel good about and work with your body, whatever its shape and/or size.

In Amy's words, these tutorials cover basic principles of knitting to flatter your figure:

•Determine your body’s inherent shape
•Discover how the visual elements of clothing alter that shape’s appearance
•Choosing patterns and making modifications to those patterns that will change the appearance of your shape in the ways you desire
•Achieving a custom fit.

This is a comparison picture of Amy wearing her good sweater and a bad sweater, which looks a lot like one of my choices over my knitting career. Read on:

Having developed my own "fashion sense" based on my adolescent shape, which was more like a bottle of Perrier than a bottle of Coke, (look them up, you'll see what I mean) I resolved that my image would be best served by covering everything up with an army jacket, a poncho or very loose fitting tops, which - I kid you not - sometimes had fellow passengers on the subway looking at me sympathetically, and asking when the "little one" was due. At 23, I lost 40 lbs but never did develop the bust or the curves that most people consider desirable when choosing their fashionable wardrobe.

At 12 when I knit my first sweater for myself, I was probably not as big as I felt that I was, but the concept of fashion was way down on my list of goals for this project. Completion, cost and coziness were prime. Every Saturday I would take the bus to Freeman's on Rideau St in Ottawa and purchase another skein of bulky royal blue pure wool to complete the next segment of my sweater. I can't remember how much wool went into that sweater all together, but it did take up most of my babysitting money for several months. The result was that I achieved all 3 of my goals, but it was obvious that fit had not made it onto that list. I would guess that the finished chest was close to 55" and my brother and I could easily have fit in it if we were standing back to back. But that was of no consequence...I wove a long red shoelace through the cast on edge to give it some sturcture, and proudly wore my sweater whenever I was cold in the house. (I think that I realized that it was not a design worthy of sharing with the public, no matter how proud I was of its completion).

This experience taught me 2 very important lessons that I've used both in life and in knitting over these past 35 years: Go head first with what motivates you. And don't ever be disappointed - there is always a way to fix results, or at least perceive them, even if it isn't in the manner that you expected.

Well, that led to a life of knitting for other people: family, friends, and eventually for the store. As recently as last night at knitting class, I justified this situation by affirming that I prefer to knit for others because I get to see the finished project more than I would if I was wearing it. I believe that is probably a cover up for the fact that in the venn diagram of my knitting life, what I like to knit and what I like to wear have very little overlap.

I can justify the time that I'm spending learning these fashion precepts by calling  it professional development. At the store, we are often asked for opinions as customers choose patterns that may be gorgeous on the model, but it would be nice to have some sense of confidence in discerning whether it will suit the intended recipient.

 But truly I just want to feel a bit more confident in my own choices. I don't have time to be knitting sweaters that I don't want to wear once they're finished.

A word of warning...You will notice that I mentioned that the full tutorial runs 123 pages. I have been studying each of the first 30 of those pages that I've printed off to carry with me to review and ponder as I stop for a coffee, or go through the car wash for a couple of weeks already.
In other words, this is not the on-line version of a little magazine article. There is information there that I'm sure is spread out over semesters of design study at any good college. But for me, and I'm sure for many others who would like to take the time, it's time and $10US very well spent.

Don't have time for the full "kit and kaboodle"? If studying 123 pages of excellent but intense concepts is a bit overwhelming, come and join Deb White's class, KNITS THAT FIT YOU! at WOOL-TYME Kingston on Wed. Sept. 28th, from 6:30-8:30pm.  Deb will be teaching how to make the knitting pattern that you choose work for you with particular attention to "tweaking" the original to make it fit the way that you want it to.
Call the store at 613-384-3951 to register.

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