Share Your Shape

Several weeks ago, I wrote a post called 'Knit to Flatter' about Amy Herzog's new book of the same name and the excitement I was finally starting to feel about tackling garment knitting again. Now I've got some other projects finished, I'm close to being able to start the garment I want to knit.

Now that I've received my copy of the Knit to Flatter book, I figured this would be a good time to work through the first lesson and look at my body type.

I've always considered myself to have a fairly proportional figure – well, hourglass, in any case. I have a wide bust and hips and a comparatively narrow waist. With my hips and thighs being where all my weight goes, at the moment the hip measurement is wider than that for my bust, but despite this I still expected to come out proportional.

I ended up being a little surprised by the actual result. The lesson has you take a picture of yourself in fairly fitted clothing, both from the front and the side, which you can see below. Unfortunately my side-on picture didn't come out brilliantly, but it's still ok for giving a general idea.

It does make me smile how these pictures show the issues I have getting clothing to fit. Even a camisole, with lots of stretch in it, has all this baggy space below my bust. It's no wonder why I often feel like my clothes aren't flattering me at all.

The pulling of fabric at the side here shows where extra space needs to be added. Thankfully Amy has some great bust dart tutorials in the book and the class.

Once you've taken the pictures, the next step is to draw a set of lines on the frontal picture to determine your shape.

You draw horizontal lines in the following places:

  1. Across your shoulders – from the very tops of your armpits
  2. Across the widest point of your bust
  3. Across the narrowest part of your waist, wherever this is
  4. Across your hip-line, where you'd like the garment to end
  5. Across the widest point of your hips, if this is different to point 4 (which it is for me as point 4 measures more my high-hip, than actual hip)

You complete this by drawing a vertical line perpendicular to either your shoulder, bust or high hip line – whichever is wider. This helps show the relationship between each of the key areas which normal draw the eye.

Here's my finished picture:

So you can see that my bust is wider than my shoulders (hence the need for bust darts) and my high-hip measurement is broadly similar to my bust – which would normally mark me as a proportional shape. Why I fall more into the bottom-heavy category is because my full-hip measurement is wider still than both of those – despite the curvy waist.

Classing myself as bottom heavy was certainly a surprise and does give some added impetus to lose the weight I'm hoping for so the extra around the hips and thighs goes away – as it makes skirt, trouser and particular jeans shopping a complete and utter nightmare! But the exercise in general was great for identifying all of the individual elements that I need to accommodate in my knitting:

  1. Large bust – need for bust darts
  2. Curvy waist – I'm not particularly long waisted so will need to begin increasing for the bust pretty soon after finishing waist shaping
  3. WIDE hips – so wide, I should probably mark “Wide Load” on the back πŸ™‚
  4. A slight curve at the small of my back
  5. I don't tend to carry much weight in my stomach, so no shaping needed there
  6. A fairly flat butt!

Who knew that having a big bust and being bottom-heavy was possible? Turns out they're not mutually exclusive…


The book then goes into detail about what styles and elements will then prove most flattering for each shape, without being critical should you choose to pick something else because you like it. I'm going to use a mix of proportional and bottom-heavy advice for picking my garments as I hope to have the weight loss and I would like to minimise my bust, not accentuate it.

I already have a couple of projects in mind from the book to knit in order to test out some of these theories. Fingers crossed I'll have something substantial to share soon!

Have you bought Amy's book or watched the class? What shape did you work out to be? Was it a surprise? Let me know in the comments!



4 thoughts on “Share Your Shape

  1. I’ve bought Knit to Flatter and have done some measurements but am undecided between proportional and bottom heavy. I’m not planning on knitter a sweater for a couple of months yet though so will redo measurements then (and will possibly no longer be nursing which will do who knows what to my shape).

    1. Very odd isn’t it? Drawing the lines on your pictures makes such a difference. I almost didn’t do this bit of work as I was so certain that I was proportional!

      Do you have a favourite item from the book you’d like to try? I like the Squared Cardigan and the Draper Cardigan – but don’t know where I’d source the yarns from!

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