#KnitPetiteProject: What should we look for in off-the-rack clothes?

Our last post where we went through our closets and found hidden gems.
The #KnitPetiteProject plan.

All other #KnitPetiteProject posts.

The #KnitPetiteProject now has a Ravelry group. Join us!

SURVEYChecking in with how you think the #KnitPetiteProject is going! Are we addressing your questions?

October’s focus for the #KPP is shopping for petites. What to buy? Where to buy it? How and when to modify your current off-the-rack clothes?

Today, we’re talking about what to look for in new clothes.

By now in the #KPP, you’ve constructed a clear idea of what you want from your clothing, and gotten an idea of how to achieve that through modifying for your own body and shape.

I thought it was important for us all to get to this point before jumping into a discussion of shopping and fashion advice, because these advice sources can wield great influence on us and make us feel we should want certain things, and we should avoid others.

Of course, if your goals, aesthetics, and interests line up with that advice, then proceed! If, on the other hand, they do not, I encourage you to ignore that advice and forge ahead with whatever works for you. I want us all to be able to sort through what IS and IS NOT for us; what is HELPFUL and what is HARMFUL.

That’s the focus of the next two weeks.

Here, we’ll talk about some language, some fashion bloggers, and body positivity.

One of the most powerful feelings I’ve felt recently is the confidence of altering items in my own closet; just because I bought it in a store doesn’t mean it’s perfect and untouchable.

What to look for

  1. Quality: as makers, we have an understanding of clothing quality. Make sure you’re getting the expected value for the dollar amount you’re spending.
  2. Fit: as a #KPP person, you’ll be familiar with the issues surrounding picking a size in shops, more familiar with your own shapes and sizes, and be armed with an idea of how and what to modify.
  3. Styling: this is a biggie, and one that I’d like to focus on for the rest of this post, and the next couple of weeks.

Styling Advice: Be Critical of What you Read

One of the major reasons I started the #KPP was the plethora of advice out there regarding the “dos and don’ts” of dressing for petites. I want to encourage us all to put on our critical-thinking caps and keep in mind that behind advice articles are authors, and those authors will have a bias and/or assumed end-goals that can conflict with our own and even cause us to feel inadequate, wrong, and ashamed of our bodies.

Remember: wear what you want and what makes YOU feel fantastic, no matter what the “advice” says.

Common petite styling advice says to wear prints in relation to your size (ie: don’t wear large prints). Here I am in a large print. Styling advice can be broken!

Case in point: this article tells us as petite women not to wear flat shoes because “they will not give you the additional height you need” (emphasis added by me).  This article is assuming I, as the petite reader, “needs” additional height. I “need” to feel that I look taller than I am. You also find a lot of language like this in articles written for larger women; in many cases (that I’ve read), these articles amount to nothing more than fat-shaming. Pay attention to the words the article uses. Do you “need” that? Really? What are they assuming you want?

Compare this to the following point in the same article that says I, as a petite woman, shouldn’t wear anything cropped  because “it will shorten your torso”. This piece of advice feels less egregious, since it’s not telling what I NEED, though it is still assuming my end goal is to avoid appearing the height that I am. On the flip side, they are at least being clear about what affect they think wearing something cropped will have.

You’ll also encounter advice from experts that is directly contradictory to other experts. For example, this article’s expert suggests petite folks should indeed wear cropped items, and high-waisted pants (something that’ll visually cut your torso into different proportions).

For me the fact remains: I love wearing crop tops, like the way I look and feel when I wear them, and I don’t think they make me look shorter, squat or in a proportion that’s displeasing. Your ideas and preference may vary! I mention this to illustrate how being armed with a thorough sense of what YOU want and an eye to critically dissecting advice means you can sort through what IS and what IS NOT for you.


I’m going to very quickly touch on aesthetics here, as we’re traipsing toward that territory and I think it’s a good line to draw when thinking critically about these types of advice articles that can ultimately be body shaming and harmful to our sense of worth.

I’d like to go further in depth about aesthetics next week, using art and symbols as a sort of neutral territory, but for now keep in mind that some of these pieces of advice are such because they assume your aesthetic end-goal is the same as theirs. This business about “don’t wear crop tops because they make you look shorter” may indeed have merit in an aesthetic basis. I may very well appear shorter if I wore something like that because of the proportion that cropped line would visually “cut” my body in to.

The questions we have to poke at are do I care if it makes me look shorter, do I agree that it makes me look shorter, and what are the other factors happening in my own personal array of shapes and sizes that affect this advice?

For example: I happen to like the aesthetic of crop tops for myself because, even though I’m short, having that visual line run across the smallest part of my torso gives me a curvy shape that I’m quite happy with. And to be frank, this aligns culturally with the preference for women to have this sort of shape. Aesthetics and personal taste. It’s up to you.

Me, breaking some petite styling advice

Look at this photo: what do YOU think? And of course remember, I don’t care what you think, nor should you care what I think. Dress for your own joy, not someone else’s oppressive thoughts about what you should want. Be critical of that “need” language that pops up so much in this sort of advice. It’s insidious, so easy to read, take in, and have pick away at your sense of self.

First decide what YOU want your goal to be. If you agree that you want to look taller, then this is the advice for you. But if you don’t agree, don’t let it make you feel you have to want to be taller –  you NEED to be taller.

Getting into the Advice Articles

In a rare instance of a petite styling tips article that I think is pretty open and pretty much free of body shaming language and assumptions is this one from Buzzfeed. I appreciate how it takes a practical approach to some of these tips (ie: layers can cover some ill fit, don’t be afraid to take scissors to unwanted details), and I really appreciate that some of that “general rule” advice they give is actually explained. For example, “Cuffed sleeves (and a quick tuck) can break things up and emphasize shape” tells you why it’s making that suggestion, and the functional outcome of it. Same with this line, which I think you can imagine my crop-top-loving little heart fully agrees with: “Pair a fitted crop top with high-waisted skirts or shorts, says Gordon. This can help balance both halves without sacrificing shape.”

One of the consultants for that Buzzfeed article is Kelly of Alterations Needed. Her website is easy to navigate and thorough, but as with anything

Jean Wang of Extra Petite has a useful alterations section, where she outlines the way she alters off-the-rack clothes for her own petite body.

Sarah from Curvily is a petite plus fashion blogger who shares her OOTD and has a handy shopping guide that includes discussion on trends and fit with topics like “best plus size rompers of 2017” (find a great interview with Sarah here on the Curvy Fashionista)

This article includes shopping tips for petites from popular petite fashion bloggers, including some of the women we’ve mentioned above:

Kelly: Find a tailor in your area who understands your petite needs. It’ll make shopping easier when you know your tailor can work a few miracles for your figure!

Jean: Don’t limit yourself to solely the petite department. Train your eye to look for petite-friendly signs—I’ve found lots of gems in regular sizing. For instance, go for items that appear to be three-quarter length on models as these often fit well on a smaller frame.

Nadia:  before any shopping trip. If you’re not sure, it’s always best to go up a size and have a seamstress tailor the item to your body. That’s what I often do.

Find a list of other petite fashion bloggers here on Buzzfeed.

Jessica Torres has a fantastic post recently here on her blog where she wore “what she wasn’t supposed to” for her body type and felt fantastic in the outfit.


Do you follow any fashion bloggers?



#KnitPetiteProject: What should we look for in off-the-rack clothes?

#KnitPetiteProject: Hidden gems in our closet + making them work for our petite body now

Our last post where we looked at our future pattern plans.
The #KnitPetiteProject plan.

All other #KnitPetiteProject posts.

The #KnitPetiteProject now has a Ravelry group. Join us!

SURVEYChecking in with how you think the #KnitPetiteProject is going! Are we addressing your questions?

October’s focus for the #KPP is shopping for petites.

What to buy? Where to buy it? How and when to modify your current off-the-rack clothes?

Today, we’re starting with a good look-through our closets. What treasure (or, potential treasure) do we have right under our nose?

First off, let’s define “off-the-rack”:

mass-produced clothing; purchased in a store; clothing not tailor made for a particular individual

So, for many folks, that’s the majority of their closet. For us crafty folks, we’re in a better position to alter that percentage and make our own items from scratch.

I’ve often been inspired by those individuals who do the whole “throw out all my closet” thing and produce their entire wardrobe by hand. Working with a clean slate must be so motivating!

And while I love that idea, there’s still the impulse in me to work with what I already have.

Working with your Closet: Sorting it out

I recently did a whole re-assessment of my wardrobe, using the following steps:

  1. take it all out
  2. try it all on
  3. sort it all out

This task was, admittedly, a few days in the making. I tackled them by type: tops, dresses+skirts, pants, and other.

For step 1. take it all out, there’s a few points of value: seeing it all at once, and making (re)discoveries. This sometimes intimidating pile leads to the practical end of literally cleaning out the space (are there any dreaded clothes moths or carpet beetles lurking in the closet?), as well as de-emphasizing any incorrectly remembered value in the clothes. That is, you might be reluctant to chuck that white blouse because you’ve forgotten that you have about five of them.

It was step 2. try it all on that ate up the most time. There’s a couple reasons I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you have to get rid of anything that doesn’t fit you. For one thing, I recognize that there can be sentiment associated with stuff, and I don’t denigrate that at all (sorry, I’m no Marie Kondo-ite).

There’s also the very valuable point that we are makers and that some ill-fitting clothes may only need a bit of studied assessment and tweaking to become well-fitting clothes.

And finally, my favourite, step 3. sort it all out. I created five piles: keep, modify, store, pillage, donate.

  • Keep: stuff that fit well, I want to wear, and/or is important to me
  • Modify: stuff that didn’t fit well, but that I want to wear and feel I can fix
  • Store: stuff that straight up doesn’t fit, I can’t/won’t modify, but I don’t want to part with
  • Pillage: stuff that I’m happy to cut up and use in other ways (eg: cut off buttons and zippers)
  • Donate: stuff that I don’t care about, doesn’t fit (and I don’t want to fix), or is a multiple of something I have plenty of

My donate pile was very small, and it felt good to throw all those far-too-small-pants into the “store” pile. I know they’re around if I want them, but I don’t have to look at them all the time now!

Something pretty important that came to light in this closet assessment was a particular jacket.

This jacket is going to be a guinea pig for me this month; it got sorted into the modify pile. It’s ill-fitting, but a very well-made article of clothing that is also pretty sentimental.

It’s one of my grandfather’s winter coats. It’s a wonderfully fuzzy corduroy with suede sections on the yoke, a sheepskin collar, and lovely quilted satin-y lining. And, while my grandfather wasn’t a very large man, he was still a man, and this jacket is certainly NOT shaped for my petite female frame. But man, I’d LOVE to make this jacket fit me!

This is the journey I’ll be sharing with you this month: Can I modify this men’s coat to fit my petite female frame? It’s a big challenge, but one I think will be a great example of what petite folks may have to consider when modifying clothing for their body.

Working with your Closet: The Modify Pile

Follow Along with My Modification Plans

My modify pile has plenty of items: skirts, dresses, tops, even bras. But for now, I’d like to share with you my plans for modifying my grandfather’s coat.

From this year of #KPP, I’ve learned a few things about fitting, my own shape, my own taste, and my own abilities:

  • Amy Herzog’s CustomFit and other valuable resources helped me focus on proper measurements
  • Pati Palmer and Marta Alto’s Body Graph in Fit for Real People helped me get a more objective understanding of my shape and proportions as compared to some off-the-rack clothing
  • Some of the many essays and research from experts have opened up the world of sizing to me and shown that 1) NO ONE will have perfect fit off-the-rack, and 2) petite really do have particular concerns that are not being addressed in clothing, including knitting design

With this encouragement and list of tools, I know that:

I have narrow shoulders: this men’s jacket is going to need some serious re-structuring around that part of my body! Across the back, across each shoulder, narrowing the sleeve opening, and readjusting the sleeve cap/width incredibly!

I have a slightly short waist: because this is cut straight for a man’s body, I’ll have to add in some waist shaping. That said, the extra length may work to my advantage, as I’d like something about mid-thigh anyhow.

I have proportionally shorter arms: and by shorter, I mean shorter than a man! As you can see, the length of these sleeves need some attention.

But those are just items I’d determined I’ll need for my own modifications.

Things you should consider when sorting your modify pile

As I mentioned above, one of the most powerful tools I used this year for learning about shape, fit, my own taste, and gaining an objective point of view is the Body Graph from Fit for Real People.

This graph really helped bring my attention to the parts of my body that were different (and HOW they were different) from the sizing used in home sewing patterns.

Even if you don’t sew, this activity can show you in a very concrete way what your shape is, and the real distinctions and uniquenesses you have in relation to an established point of comparison.

Your personal plethora of shapes will be different from any other individual; that said, us petite folks sometimes share areas of fit concern. So, when you’re sorting items into YOUR “modify” pile, consider these common petite fit areas of concern and their possible alterations:

  • Shoulder Width: do the shoulder seams droop down beyond the prominent bone on your shoulder?
  • Armhole Depth: are sleeve caps too deep? This is particularly clear in a sleeveless top – can you see your bra band?
  • Sleeve Length: are the lengths ending in a spot you’re happy with? Are there any details (eg: elbow patches) are are not in the place you think they should be?
  • Neckline Depth: is the lowest point on the neckline showing more chest than you’d like?
  • Neckline Width: do your bra straps keep showing? Particularly in the recently trendy off-the-shoulder style: does your top almost fall off because that neckline is so wide?
  • Back Waist Length: are any belt loops/fancy waist details falling too far down on your body?
From the Modify Pile to the Keep Pile

Those pieces in the modify pile will get there is you both want them to fit differently, and are willing (or interested in learning how) to modify them

There’s loads of guidelines for altering clothing for different fit concerns. With what you’ve learned this year in the #KPP, you likely already have an idea as to what you’d like to alter, and perhaps an idea as to how.

A few places to learn the nitty-gritty next steps of altering include:

  • sewing company websites: they can sometimes have free resources and fit guides (eg: Simplicity sewing pattern quick fit guide)
  • crafting community/learning websites like Craftsy: these can have message boards where folks ask other particular questions, but also can include a regular schedule of helpful blog posts (Petite Sewing: Achieving a Perfect Fit, Finding the Perfect Patterns and Styles) and classes (Tailoring Ready-to-Wear, pretty much any class from Petite Plus sewing designer Kathleen Cheetham)
  • petite fashion bloggers: after initially dismissing this group of folks (believing they’d just have aesthetic advice and personal opinions), I found that I was wrong. Petite fashion bloggers sometimes share tips about altering items at home (for those who don’t sew much or even at all!), when/if to take items to professional tailors, and have the added bonus of lists of manufacturer reviews, shopping tips, and inspiration (if you happen to find someone who meshes with your own style!)
    Check out these lists on Stylecaster, Buzzfeed, and Not Dressed as a Lamb.

We’ll be looking a bit further at some of these fashion bloggers in the coming weeks when we examine what to look for in off-the-rack clothes.


Have you ever considered starting your wardrobe from scratch? Share your thoughts by hitting reply to this post!

#KnitPetiteProject: Hidden gems in our closet + making them work for our petite body now

#KnitPetiteProject: SURVEY: Are we addressing your concerns?

The #KnitPetiteProject plan.
All other #KnitPetiteProject posts.

The #KnitPetiteProject now has a Ravelry group. Join us!

Hi everyone!

Quickly popping on here to let you know we have a mini survey up this month to make sure the #KnitPetiteProject is on track. You can reply to the survey below.

We’ll be going over the answers at the end of the month.


#KnitPetiteProject: SURVEY: Are we addressing your concerns?

#KnitPetiteProject: Your future patterns; what choices are you going to make when selecting a pattern?

Our last post where we had a special interview with Jillian Moreno.
The #KnitPetiteProject plan.

All other #KnitPetiteProject posts.

The #KnitPetiteProject now has a Ravelry group. Join us!

This week’s post is an encouragement for you to think about what the #KnitPetiteProject will do for your future projects.

September is an exciting time of year for us knitters – floods of new sweaters are out and possibilities are buzzing around: what is the next pattern you’ll knit?

Share in the comments below; and, if you do indeed choose to knit yourself a new sweater, please join us in the #KnitPetiteProject Ravelry group for the KAL where we can all share our journey to a perfectly-fitting petite sweater!

#KnitPetiteProject: Your future patterns; what choices are you going to make when selecting a pattern?

#KnitPetiteProject: A special interview with Jillian Moreno

Our last post where we’re looking at our FOs and UFOs, and the new knowledge we can use to make them conform to our fit desires.
The #KnitPetiteProject plan.

All other #KnitPetiteProject posts.

The #KnitPetiteProject now has a Ravelry group. Join us!

As we’re still working away in the KAL (and I’m still working to design the first #KPP sweater prototype!) I thought it’d be a great time to share a special interview with Jillian Moreno!

Jillian is a multi-talented yarnny creative; she designs, spins, teaches, writes, edits Knittyspin, is the ad manager and catalyst for Knitty Magazine, and is one of the co-authors of the fantastic set of Big Girl Knits books!

Read more about Jillian on her website here.

Jillian’s website | IG | FB | TW

The incredibly important pioneering work of Big Girl Knits is important for all knitters; it opened up conversations about size in the knitting community, and even more than that, it’s critical stance provided a tool for change in a body positive way. It offered options to those very knitters who were marginalized and ignored, giving them the power to make the change happen for themselves.

Jillian (and her co-authors and Big Girl Knits contributors) are a significant reasons that the #KPP is here today.

I want to thank Jillian SO MUCH for taking the time to share her expertise with us here in the #KnitPetiteProject!

Now, on to the interview!


KPP QUESTION: A fitting challenge for petite women is that sizing charts assume our bodies are longer than they may actually be; for petite plus women, this issue is compounded because the pattern assumes that a larger number for bust size means longer vertical measurements. The result is necklines that are too low, sleeve depth that droop, and mis-placed waist, bust, and hip shaping. Is there any special info or instructions you can recommend a petite plus knitter should consider when selecting a size to knit?

JM ANSWER: Have excellent and up to date measurements!
Never knit a pattern that doesn’t have excellent schematics, so you can look at all of the measurements individually. Some designers just offer a sweater length and circumference in their schematics, that won’t work for a knitter who may need to make adjustments or knit more than one size in different areas of a sweater.
I either choose a pattern with high bust or full bust measurement, depending on the style of the sweater. Working from a high bust measurement will get you a better fit in the armholes and shoulders. If you are very busty, there will be math and short rows. If the pattern is not especially fitted in shoulders or arms, I will look at the pattern for my full bust and usually split the difference between my size for high bust and full bust. Every single sweater I knit is different.
Be willing to knit more than one size in different parts of garment; do not fear the math you’ll need to do to transition between the two sizes.
If you really really don’t want to do math, look at Amy Herzog’s CustomFit software, there are many adjustments you can make with that software to her patterns.

KPP QUESTION: There are many sweater construction options in the Big Girl Knits books. Offering that variety is wonderful for a community who is usually under-served. Petite plus knitters are presented with a special problem because of vertical changes they may have to make within their sweaters. Are there any sweater constructions that are simpler to modify for length?

JM ANSWER: It depends on your skill and fortitude as a knitter. The plainer the sweater the easier it is to modify. All over cables, Fair Islae and other colorwork are just harder to customize.
Practice on a plain sweater and work your way up to more complex. Practice adjusting cables and colorwork on accessories or swatches before you embark on a sweater, it will save you a lot of headache.
I still like a sweater in pieces and seamed, I like the look of more structure and I can adjust a front and back for fit easier.
You will know when you have a burning desire for a sweater when you are willing to do the math to make it fit! 🙂

KPP QUESTION: I was listening to an interview you gave a few years ago where you mentioned “measuring parties”. This sounds like such a great idea! For all the petite plus (and petite) knitters out there: Do you have any tips for measuring yourself, with a focus on those tricky vertical measurements?

JM ANSWER: Measuring yourself is tricky, if you are plus and petite there are curves you can’t see over when measuring yourself. You don’t have to have a party just find a trusted friend and measure each other.

Be sure to use strings, chalk marks or stickers to visually anchor your hip, waist spots.
If you have to measure yourself, you can pin the measuring tape to your end spot, say your finish length, pin the 0 of the tape to your clothes at the spot where you want your sweater to end and carefully unspool your measuring tape to your shoulder or back neck – don’t pull or it will stretch the fabric the tape measure is pinned to. Pinch the spot in the tape that is the top of the measurement and you can move the tape to see what the measurement is.
This is a slow process, but it can be done.

KPP QUESTION: What fit resources can you recommend for petite plus knitters? (anything! From knitting books/videos/classes/websites to information from crafts other than knitting like sewing manuals etc…)

JM ANSWER: Look at sewing patterns and sewing blogs. Sewers go into patterns knowing they will have to adjust somehow. Sewers are taught to look at parts of their body more individually than knitters are to make adjustment. Multisizes on a single pattern sheet aren’t just there to save the pattern company money, they are for working between sizes. The sewing industry is my secret weapon for fitting,

KPP QUESTION: The #KnitPetiteProject is working to create a list of petite-friendly designs and designers. Those who offer their patterns in petite and petite plus sizes, and/or write their patterns in a way that is easily adjustable (ie: add/remove length here, knit to desired length, etc). Are there any designers or particular patterns you can recommend for petite plus knitters?

JM ANSWER: Knitty of course! Amy Herzog is doing the best work right now in helping and encouraging knitters to fit themselves, her books are great, she offers retreats and she has a good piece of software.
Look at Kim McBrien-Evans she is plus and petite, she doesn’t have many designs yet, but the ones she has are great. Ysolda writes a great pattern and schematic, it is clear, even when not specified where a pattern can be adjusted.

KPP QUESTION: I greatly admire your work in the Big Girl Knits books (and all your other plus size knitting designs!). You created space for conversation about the state of sizing in knitwear and the lack of options for women above a particular bust size, and at the same time offered the community a solution through a variety of wearable, attractive patterns and tips, advice, and techniques for plus sized knitters. There have been noticeable (though not all-encompassing) changes to the sizes offered by many magazines, books, and indie designers since (and, I think, because of) Big Girl Knits.
My hope is that the #KnitPetiteProject can do the same for the under-served petite community!

What are some of the important steps you took to get this conversation rolling?

JM ANSWER: We first did it through Knitty – insisting on 3x for all patterns. Because we are both fat it was easy to have the conversation with designers and yarn companies. Really, all they had to do was look around – people come in all shapes and sizes and giving options opens you up to happy and repeat customers. Amy and I never shut up about it and we still have to remind people.
As I knitter I did the work in the beginning, figuring out how to adjust sweaters and do short rows when there weren’t as many resources. Teach yourself so you can educate others.

What can the #KnitPetiteProject do to open up this conversation and provide solutions to petite knitters of all sizes?

Ask for clarification about adjusting with designers when you are knitting a pattern. Talk about the adjustments you’re making on social media as you are knitting sweaters. Open it up as part of the everyday knitting conversation. Praise the designers who include adjusts or patterns that are easy to adjust.
When you take classes ask the teachers for tips and strategies.

KPP QUESTION: What’s next for you?

JM ANSWER: I am spinning yarn a lot now and teaching. I’ve written one spinning book, Yarnitecture, and am percolating another. I’m teaching people how to adjust their yarn as well as their sweaters now!
I want to dig into actual sewing, not just borrowing ideas for knitting. I’m excited to try Sonya Phillips’ patterns as I start out.

#KnitPetiteProject: A special interview with Jillian Moreno

#KnitPetiteProject: Your FOs & UFOs; what new knowledge can you use to make them conform to your fit desires?

Our last post where we talked about the KAL and the first #KPP sweater prototype.
The #KnitPetiteProject plan.

All other #KnitPetiteProject posts.

The #KnitPetiteProject now has a Ravelry group. Join us!

The focus for the #KnitPetiteProject in September is creating your own FOs.

This week we’re making use of the resource that is the #KnitPetiteProject and reflecting on what new knowledge #KPP has given you that can be applied to your current and future projects so that you can attain your fit desires.

To chat about the specifics of your project, join us in the KAL on Ravelry.

So far in the #KPP, I’ve done an awful lot of reading, writing, and primary research. What’s been missing is actually applying all this information to my own knits!

The #KPP sweater prototype is my opportunity to do this. With all your help in the surveys and Ravelry group I’ve been able to identify some common issues petite folks encounter in their knits.

This feedback has informed my choice of a colourwork yoked sweater for the #KPP prototype.

I’ve also learned quite a lot about my own size and shape through the various resources you’ve suggested here in the #KnitPetiteProject. In particular, the sewing book Fit for Real People was extremely enlightening! (See me wax poetic about how much I love this book here).

In practicalities, the #KPP prototype will be in “my size”, but as for all my sweater samples, it’ll be knit to the sizing chart specifications. In this case, the sizing will be petite, and will be based on the grade rule developed for me by #KPP interviewee, Betsy of SBCC!

#KnitPetiteProject: Your FOs & UFOs; what new knowledge can you use to make them conform to your fit desires?

#KnitPetiteProject: Anybody want to KAL?

Our last post where we shared the mini survey results.
The #KnitPetiteProject plan.

All other #KnitPetiteProject posts.

The #KnitPetiteProject now has a Ravelry group. Join us!

The focus for the #KnitPetiteProject in September is creating your own FOs.

One of the tools we can use to help us all along is the KAL happening right now in the #KnitPetiteProject Ravelry group. This is free to join, and is a KAL that you can work at your own pace. Folks are there to hang out, share experiences, ask questions, and offer advice. Join us!

For my own KAL project, I announced last week that I’ll be creating the first #KPP prototype petite sweater.IMG_0191

This sweater will be:

  • created using petite sizing charts and a specially formulated grade rule for petites from a 28″ – 60″ bust
  • a top down yoked sweater, which was identified in the numerous #KPP surveys as a sweater type many petites found ill-fitting and challenging to modify
  • designed to offer the knitter choice: you will have two ready-designed yokes to choose from, and one blank chart to create-you-own design!
  • test knit (beginning in January 2018) to ensure my newly-developed petite grade rule is working!

You can follow the progress of this sweater here on the website as well as in the KAL on Ravelry.

If you’re interested in testing this prototype, it will be ready by January 2018. Want to keep updated on testing? Just join the Canary Knits newsletter (once-a-month email).

My goal with this #KPP prototype sweater is to ensure that the grade rule I have is accurate; I want to provide petite knitters with patterns that bring vertical measurements in closer to actual petite measurements, and offer OPTIONS for our community!


Since you’ve become a part of the #KPP community, is there any new knowledge you can apply to your future projects to make them conform to your fit desires?

#KnitPetiteProject: Anybody want to KAL?

#KnitPetiteProject: Sharing the mini survey results!

Our last post where we’re gathering books that are useful for petite knitters.
The #KnitPetiteProject plan.

All other #KnitPetiteProject posts.

The #KnitPetiteProject now has a Ravelry group. Join us!

mini survey! Who designs petite (or petite-friendly) knitwear?

…youtube vid coming soon…

Quick post this week!

We had three responses to the mini survey with some good suggestions:

What knitwear designers do you go to for petite (or easily modified) patterns?

  • Anne Hanson of Knitspot
  • Lots of easy items to encourage newcomers as well as a few challenging ones for when people progress from beginners to post-beginners stage.

What suggestions do you have for the #KnitPetiteProject?

  • just joined –
  • User-friendly materials, to suit all pockets and skills, reasonable prices, comfortable for small or painful hands weight 4-5+, appropriate patterns such as textured yarns or small patterns on the knitted item rather than large. Plain-textured backgrounds with small area(s) in a different colour(s) such as cuffs/borders or even a multi-coloured design on the back (my next creation will have a decorative piece of knitting on the shoulders to be seen – a walking art gallery – practical and for all to look at. One cannot realistically have lots of features which would look too busy, so a well positioned, attractive feature can be knitted/appliqued on the back. Make this market available to as many as possible and no, I do not do knitting in the round, as I am too set in my ways. A few unisex items may be an idea and youngsters, teenagers might like to take up knitting. I will keep the flag of arts and crafts flying even if at present I am only one. I have only woken up from my afternoon nap and keep records for posterity. Markets change and another decade will see a tremendous change for the better. Teach the next generation. No copyright on my stuff, but please check for typos. Hurrary! At long last a designer who speaks up for the petites – there are many of us – unlike may I say it, Lion Brand which is an excellent website but I have seen a few start patterns at size 40″. I am the same build as one designer so I can see and fully appreciate what looks good on her, will look good on me as petite proportions are not the same as the standard model. I personally am at odds with the stereotyped images of models and welcome a different body type wearing handmade garments. Even bags need shorter straps so the bags do not drag on the floor.
    CC UK (Carol Cooley from the UK) OAP
  • A pilot scheme before launching into anything adventurous or expensive.

Following on this last suggestion, I have an announcement!

During the #KPP KAL beginning on September 1, I’ll be working out the details on a prototype petite sweater pattern!

My hope is to get this pattern ready for testers by January 2018.

Are you interested in the KAL and/or the petite sweater prototype?

Join the KAL here and sign up for the Canary Knits newsletter to stay informed on all sweater development details!


#KnitPetiteProject: Sharing the mini survey results!

#KnitPetiteProject: Books Useful for Petite Knitters

Our last post where we’re gathering online classes that are useful for petite knitters.
The #KnitPetiteProject plan.

All other #KnitPetiteProject posts.

The #KnitPetiteProject now has a Ravelry group. Join us!

mini survey! Who designs petite (or petite-friendly) knitwear?

…youtube vid coming soon…

This post is an ongoing list: we’ll keep adding to it as a central resource for petite folks to access in order to find information on helpful books.


Shirley Paden. “Knitwear Design Workshop: A comprehensive guide to handknits.” Interweave Press, 2009.

  • this book is, as the title indicates, written to help you learn how to design knits
  • while this might sound excessive for petite fit modifications, learning the mechanics of design will help you reverse engineer patterns you may want to alter to your own measurements

Maggie Righetti. Sweater Design in Plain English. St Martin’s Press. 1990.

  • a classic, written in a very relaxed and humourous tone
  • Righetti includes info from aesthetics (like body shape/colour options) to understanding the behaviour of knitted fabric, important techniques, and designing different types of projects

Ysolda Teague. Little Red in the City. April, 2011.

  • divided into two parts, this book will not only help you understand sizing and shaping techniques, it also has in depth information that helps you modify the included patterns to your own measurements
  • these included patterns can act as a fantastic learning source to guide you through understanding your fit, what needs to be done to achieve it, and all giving you a nice FO in the end

Pati Palmer and Marta Alto. Fit for Real People. Palmer/Pletsch Publishing; 2 edition. September 2006.

  • while this book is intended for sewists, it nonetheless is a fantastic resource for knitters
  • see the #KPP post here where I talk about the many reasons this book is useful for petite knitters, including the step-by-step of the Body Graph to the tips for understanding your own shape and diagnosing any fit issues.

June Hemmons Hiatt. Principles of Knitting. Touchstone Publishing, 2012.

  • another classic, this is a wonderful technique manual for knitting
  • it has just about everything you need to know about knitting; in particular for us petite knitters, this book includes information on understanding design
  • one of my favourite parts on this point is her chapter on dissecting a sewing pattern, highlighting how sewing can help knitters

Kathleen Cheetham. Petite Plus Patterns. Accessed May 8, 2017.

  • this is a sewing book; that said, it’s one of the few resources in either knitting or sewing that is directed for the petite plus size woman

Elizabeth Zimmermann. Knitting Without Tears. Simon & Schuster, 1995.

  • another classic! This is a small book, and one that is good for a shot of encouragement and no-nonsense approach to understanding your knitting in general.

Jillian Moreno and Amy Singer. Big Girls Knits. Potter Crafts, 2006.
Jillian Moreno and Amy Singer. More Big Girl Knits. Potter Crafts, 2008.

  • both the Big Girl Knits books are filled with designs as well as very useful techniques and tips for understanding shaping in knitwear, and making that shaping work for YOUR shape!

Amy Herzog. Knit to Flatter. Harry N. Abrams, 2013.

  • I’ve never read this book, but it is the companion to the online course of the same name I’ve taken and loved
  • Herzog has a fantastic, body positive attitude and is very clear about her advice and why she suggests what she does

Deborah Newton. Good Measure: Knit a Perfect Fit Every Time. Sixth and Spring Books, 2015.

  • I haven’t read through this book yet, but the table of contents is very promising!
  • It includes “what is good fit?”, “the aesthetics of fit”, “ease, silhouette, and fabric”, and “kinds of alterations”


Do you have a book to suggest for this list? Please let us know by leaving a comment on this post including the title, author, and reason you love the book!


#KnitPetiteProject: Books Useful for Petite Knitters

#KnitPetiteProject: Online classes useful for petite knitters

Our last post where we look at Ravelry and the petite knitter.
The #KnitPetiteProject plan.

All other #KnitPetiteProject posts.

The #KnitPetiteProject now has a Ravelry group. Join us!

mini survey! Who designs petite (or petite-friendly) knitwear?

…youtube vid coming soon…

This post is an ongoing list: we’ll keep adding to it as a central resource for petite folks to access in order to find information on helpful online classes.

Amy Herzog has many classes on Craftsy, including: Simple Techniques for a Great Fit, Sweater Modifications for a Custom Fit, and Knit to Flatter.

CreativeBug has a list of knitting classes; I’ve never taken any myself and haven’t had any direct recommendations. Have you? Do you think they’re helpful for petite knitters? Let us know!


Please let the #KnitPetiteProject know of any online classes helpful for petite knitters!

#KnitPetiteProject: Online classes useful for petite knitters