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Learning how the hard way

I’ve designed a sideways vest and a top down jacket that I want to publish.  To do that, I need to size them to fit folks other than me.  This is a complicated thing.  Add to it that I have some strong, really strong opinions about sizing and fit, and it becomes harder.  Then add in that I want every pattern to be a lesson—well, I’ve over-complicated it.

I’m spending hours that I probably don’t need to spend, doing math, drawing schematics.  But I am learning lots.  This is a lot like being a testing director.  Many balls to keep in the air at the same time.  Carla Scott, an editor of Vogue Knitting, told me that they don’t ask you to size the patterns for them; they prefer to do it themselves.  Wow.  What a gift to a designer.

I’m very sensitive to Plus Size folk and do not want to simply scale this up for them.  I intend two patterns.  One is size XS–XL.  The other is the larger sizes.  I want the shoulders to fit  better in the larger sizes and that means I have to do the increases for the bust, etc., in different places.  More to learn.

I’ve read and studied Deborah Newton and Shirley Paden’s  books.  I’ve ordered Catherine Lowe’s book on Couture Fitting and mathematician-knitter Pat Ashforth’s book both from lulu.com.  I’ll let you know about them when they come.  I haunt my favorite, The Knitter’s Guide to Sweater Design by Carmen Michelson and Mary Ann Davis (out of print).

For me, ideas come from trying to put things together in a new way and just finding out what the yarn wants to do and letting it.  Sketching is like playing paper dolls.  I can’t draw a bit (The only B I made at the local community college was in a drawing class.)so I use models under the paper and draw on them.  Then I get to play, very inexpertly, with colored pens and pencils.  Shades of girlhood!  It’s just plain fun.  Figuring out how to make it to fit me isn’t hard even.  Put it on graph paper and alter it as I go.  Now this sizing stuff is hard!!!!  But fun.

I wonder if I could audit some courses at the Art Institute of Charlotte.  Do they require talent or just tuition?  I’ll check.


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