How to knit an A-line mod on bottom up garments.
My patterns, the Building Blocks Drop and the Building Blocks Cardi are both designed to help you find your perfect fit. However, bodies come in a huge range of shapes and sizes and no one pattern will fit every body.
In the base pattern, I’ve included so many different size/fit mods that the pattern is bursting with information. I didn’t want to overwhelm you with even more information in the pattern itself, but I had one more trick up my sleeve.
I have an upper bust size of 30″, which puts my upper bust and shoulders closer to Size A, and the rest of me is pretty much Size B (my full bust, 34″, my biceps, 10.5″, lengths), or even Size C (that’s my hips and tummy, y’all).
For the Building Blocks Cardi, I have three separate samples to show you. From right to left, the light gray sample is a straight Size A with 1″ darts, which you can knit easily straight from the pattern. The charcoal sample is a straight Size B with no darts. You can already see here that the shoulders have a great fit in Size A but the body is a little slim (though still with loads of positive ease, since this is an oversized design). In Size A, I definitely needed the darts to make the hem sit flat.
In Size B, the charcoal sample has that oversized look, and the shoulder drop is a little further than I designed it for because I have narrower shoulders. When I size up, the additional width of the fabric hides my need for a bust dart and I was able to skip it.
Both of these samples are totally valid fit options. For this pattern I wanted to show you yet a third idea so you can fully customize even further.
Enter the blue sample. Because I’ve had 2 kids and some chronic illness problems, at the time of these photos, my hip and tummy were 2 to 3 full sizes larger than my chest and shoulders. I wanted a reasonably boxy body, so I cast on Size B, then worked side decreases down to Size A, before working Size 1 darts. Then, I worked the V-neck decreases, the arm hole depth, and the sleeves as if for Size B.
This post is all about how we’re gonna do those decreases in the body.
First, I made all these plans and sketched out what I wanted by listing them out. Then, I needed to figure out how much length I have before the bust darts. Luckily, the pattern tells me that. In Size B, I have 13.25″ before I have to work bust darts. The back hem of the split hem version I’m knitting before I join front and back pieces is 6″. That means I have about 7.25″ before darts. I wanted 1″ after the hem join and 1/2″ before bust darts are worked also, so in reality I have 5.75″ to work all those decreases.
Finally, I wanted to be somewhat close to Size B, but decrease down to Size A in multiples of four (two on each side for each decrease row). The difference in cast on counts is 18 sts between the two sizes, so I chose to do 16.
Since most of the garment is knit in Size B, I purchased yardage for that size.
There are three pieces, and two side “seams” of this garment. So, I needed to increase about half those stitches in the “back” piece and half in the front. I added 8 sts to my back piece cast on, and 4 each to the fronts. If you’re working the plain hem, you can just add your 16 all at once. I worked front and back pieces with those extra stitches, then joined them to work in one piece. After I worked one inch of the stockinette post-join, I began decreases:
Decrease Row: *Knit to 4 sts before side marker, ssk, k2, slip marker, k2, k2tog, repeat from * once, knit to end. (4 sts decreased)
Because I have 5.75″ to work a total of 4 decreases (for a total of 16 sts decreased), I decided to work them about every 1.75″. Based on my row gauge, that was about every 10 rows.
After I finished all my decreases and had my correct stitch count for Size A, I went ahead and worked until the length indicated for darts in Size B since I wanted a Size B length, then I did my darts and moved forward with all my other mods!
In conclusion, I’m super happy with the garment I ended up with with, and yes, I’ll be immediately stealing this for my wardrobe because it’s cold out there. I think I could’ve probably skipped the bust darts here as that extra width of fabric really means I didn’t need them. But you live, you learn!
The finished gentle A-line fits me more like how the standard pattern would fit a “standard body,” which is why I wanted to write it up and show you all how I did it.
I hope you all enjoy knitting the Building Blocks Cardi and I hope this inspires you to make changes as you need for your unique body. If you make your plans ahead of time, I promise you can do it!
This information can pretty much apply to any garment that’s worked bottom up in one piece, including the Building Blocks Drop, as long as you mark the sides with markers. I hope you’ll give it a try!