New handknit and Outfit Lab

Outfit Lab? Is that what we call it here when we're looking for help fixing / deconstructing a piece/outfit? 

Anyway. This tank is my newest handknit, in reclaimed hemp/cotton (60/40). 

I'm not happy with it, for a number of reasons. Hopefully it won't fit me next summer, so I'm trying to decide if a) I should do a couple quicker fixes, b) redo the whole thing to fix larger problems or c) it's not worth it for such a short time of wear / it won't make it fab enough to make it worth all that work.

I put my hair up for the pix so you can hopefully see the tank a bit better.

Problem 1: the armscye is way too large/low, requiring a cami (here), which defeats the purpose of a loose light summer tank. To fix this, I'd rip out the top third or so and rejigger the math. 
Problem 2: the bottom edge curls up (not easy to fix, even if I start over completely).
Problem 3: I don't think there's enough contrast in the hi-lo / left-right of the hem.
Problem 4: The high side of the hem feels too high.
Problem 5: It's just not as flattering as I hoped. Would making it larger at the bottom help this? I didn't grade between sizes, instead hoping it was designed with enough ease that it would be OK, but I'm not sure I was correct.
Problem 6: Is the neckline dramatic enough to even be noticeable? Should it be deeper? Should it be symmetrical instead?

The first photo is the pattern photo. (Nice concentration face in pic 5, eh? Ack.)

Edit: I added another photo from a different vantage point so you can hopefully see the hem better.

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Maneera replied 8 years ago

    Nice work

    1. The neckline is asymmetrical right now, right? It's pretty great the way it is

    2. Can't see the hi-low hemline at all. I think you need to make it longer

    3. The arms look fine

  • Word Lily replied 8 years ago

    One side of the tank is 4 inches longer than the other side, right now.

    And yes, the neckline is asymmetrical right now. Thanks!

  • approprio replied 8 years ago

    I don't knit but I do sew. If this were my project I'd prioritise a few fixes and nix the rest. I suspect a lot could be improved by simply shortening the shoulder straps and lengthening the hem, but then the neck might be too high. I agree that there should be much more asymmetry there, so maybe an extra inch or so on the right,

    I think it could look very nice on you. It's a cute top in a glorious colour, so if you think it's worth the time, go ahead! And when you get bored, you can always unravel it and make something else!

  • Word Lily replied 8 years ago

    Approprio: If all I did was shorten the shoulder straps (it would shorten the whole thing, obviously), without reworking all the neck decreases, it would make the neckline wider and shorter, too. It's knit bottom up, so adding length at the bottom is trickier. If I rip out to below the armholes, I could add length there (but it wouldn't add to the asymmetry), and it would be narrow length, so it would in effect put less ease at my hips, etc. 

    To add more drama to the hem, I'd have to rip out nearly the whole thing, at which point, I might as well fix all the things. :)

  • Diana replied 8 years ago

    I have to think about the other questions some more, but for the hem, you could easily add a turned hem if you still have extra yarn.  I do this by picking out the cast-on (you could probably just pick up the stitches but it might be more bulky), and putting the stitches back on a needle 1 size smaller (keeps the hem from flaring too much), work 1 purl round (the turning ridge) and maybe an inch or so in stockinette.  Then just fold up the hem and whip stitch the live stitches to the inside of the sweater (or do a 3 needle bind off by first picking up the row you're going to sew the hem to). 

    ETA: Fixing the rolling will probably fix the too short problem too, since you'll get the extra length back that was rolling up.

  • Word Lily replied 8 years ago

    Diana: A turned hem would fix the rolling, you're right! (I do have plenty of yarn.) I'd probably have to knit a few rows to be able to turn if I didn't pick out the cast on because there's a purl ridge just above the cast on as it stands. It's really not rolling much, but if I picked up and knit down a few rows and then turned and knit the facing? Hm. More to think about.

  • amiable replied 8 years ago

    Gorgeous color, and I like the asymmetrical neckline.  I agree that the hem line asymmetry should be more dramatic, and also agree with you on the armholes (I have this problem a lot too).

    It looks to me like it fits pretty well - but if it doesn't next summer, was it fun enough to knit that you could rip it out and re-knit it?  :)

  • Diana replied 8 years ago

    The armhole thing is frustrating. I have learned to shorten almost all of my armholes on handknit tanks and sleeveless items by an inch.  How high does the neck go in the back?  Sometimes it's possible to shorten the straps out of the back only (or more out of the back than the front) if the neckline is not too high there, but it may affect how the thing sits on your shoulders.  I'm guessing since the hem is asymmetrical anyway making it slightly shorter in back won't be noticeable. 

  • Word Lily replied 8 years ago

    I was worried about the armhole depth as I was knitting, but ... I guess I wanted an easy/easier project. The neckline doesn't really scoop down at all in the back; you start the shoulder strap bind offs in the same row as the neck bind off.

    Would it be totally weird to pick up stitches across the bottom of the armholes and kind of fill in, maybe with a different stitch pattern, say seed stitch? 

  • rachylou replied 8 years ago

    The neckline and the armhole are what seem off to me. I don't think the neckline is dramatic enough, as you say. Not wide enough. The armhole seems to curve in too far, when in my mind it should fall in straight diagonal... Also I find the colour is awful strong...

  • Diana replied 8 years ago

    That might work, but I worry it would look a little odd? 

    Before you try though, you could first try just crocheting tightly a couple of rounds. around the armhole.  Maybe it just needs a little tightening up to prevent it from stretching as much.

  • Diana replied 8 years ago

    Actually, I just found this pattern on Ravelry which has a nice looking ribbed inset in the armhole so maybe you could reverse engineer something like this for your tank too?

    Here is the pattern (unfortunately not free):

  • Sylvie replied 8 years ago

    You can also do hems by picking up in the cast -one stitches, knitting your facing, and then seaming the stitches on the needle to your inside stitches.  It will retain the sharp edge of the bottom.

    Agree with reknitting or crocheting for the armholes.

    I don't think you need to make it larger at the bottom to make it more flattering.  If anything, you could make the bottom smaller.  I think if you knit this pattern a second time, adding short row shaping in the bust would help it fit to your body more closely while still retaining the drapey asymmetrical look you're after.

    The pattern looks (based on the original picture) like it was designed for someone with less than an A cup, so that the row count/shaping is identical in front and back.

    I think the neckline looks good on you, although yes it would look more dramatic if it were wider/deeper and you could certainly carry it off.  Whatever you do, please (opinionated here) do not make it symmetrical.

    If you think it won't fit next summer, you could wear and enjoy it as it is this summer, then rip out and reknit it to be better next summer.

  • E replied 8 years ago

    Oh I really like it! What a fun neckline & I love the shape on you, especially compared to the model. Too bad about the armcyse issues; at least it was knit bottom up! In the newer photo you added I think the asymmetrical hem is strong enough as is.

    Before you try adding a facing to fix the bottom hem, have you tried ironing/steaming it? Maybe experiment on your swatch first, but when I was reading about how to block my linen sweater, everyone was like 'treat it like fabric! irons, steam, driers, etc.!' and I did and it worked.  The end. ;)

  • Dgusanl replied 8 years ago

    I really like your top, you got skills! :-)
    I am always in awe off knitters. I can sew but knitting is a skill I do not posses.
    We are our own worst critics :-) When I sew, I know every little thing that did not go as planned, but the outside world does not notice any of that!
    Try blocking the bottom and see if that wil help with the curling.
    Sometimes it helps to put something in the closet for a while so you can look at it with untainted eyes and start enjoying it.

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