Fitted Einstein Coat: Putting Learning into Practice

So many people inspired this coat, which is why I decided to share. Also, I hope to inspire folks to consider making their own modifications. For me this was a learning experience and I wrote every stitch in the “new pattern” down. I haven’t typed it up and won’t post because this is someone else’s original design that I’ve modified. What I will do share with you my experience and hope you find your own way.

Back view of the finished garment
Back view of the finished garment

The original pattern I started with was Sally Melville’s who is a great teacher and author of the Book The Knitting Experience. The inspiration to make it fitted was with a Craftsy course with Stefanie Japel, Fit Your Knits. The methods used to make it fit were adding stitches under the arms for the bodice and short rows on the lower portion, the latter inspired by a Craftsy class, Short Rows, with Carol Feller. Thanks to you all! The yarn was a bulky yarn closeout at my nearby Joann’s. It’s their in-house brand called Sensations. The buttons came from my LYS Serial knitters—they have such a lovely selection (of everything)! They had the right number (+1) in the perfect size and color as if they’d planned for me to stop by. They also supplied me with the Knitter’s Pride Dreamz needles in 10 ½ (3 sets) and that’s when I fell in love with wooden circular needles. I took my measures (in my unmentionables), printed out the handout from the class, knit my swatches of the various fabrics and did the math. On to the knitting!

Modifications

Four inch collar picked up at neck edge; fitted waistline.
Four inch collar picked up at neck edge; fitted waistline.

Collar: I loved the picture in Sally’s book, but noticed that the pattern didn’t quite reflect the picture–for instance there was no collar in the pattern, but clearly there is one in the picture. So I knew I’d be adding that. I love flipping it up against the cold. A cowl will keep it in the upright and locked position. Texture: The pattern also calls for garter everywhere, but I wanted more visual interest—and a clearer separation from top and bottom portions. So I chose seed stitch for the sleeves and top. Vents under the arms were reverse stockinette so that they would “dent in”. This gives extra ease for the girls and retracts if not needed. Proportion: I wanted a long coat with an empire waist. So I chose the biggest size for the bottom portion. I then measured my shoulder to high waist at both sides to get the slope of my shoulder. Fitting: Bottom: To create an A-line look to the bottom I did short row additions at four different locations cycling through up and down like a zigzag: short row at stitch 15, knit five rows even, stitch 30, knit five rows even, stitch 45, k5R, stitch 60, k5r, stitch 45, k5r and so on. Bodice: I picked up all the stitches from the narrower edge of the bottom. I knit 5 rows even then started increasing under the arms with the reverse stockinette. I followed the pattern until I got to the armholes where I placed the reverse stockinette stitches on a stitch holder. Shoulder fitting was down with short rows to make it lower at the shoulders, higher at the neck. I Kitchenered the shoulder seams, picked up stitches at the neckline and knit a four inch collar in seed stitch pattern. Sleeves: Instead of attaching sleeves I knit them down from the shoulders. I started by picking up 8 stitches (placed marker in the middle to keep track of the shoulder seam) and then picked up 1-2 stitch at each edge as I knit the sleeves down to the reverse stockinette stitches on my holders. Once I had all my stitches on a needle I reduced under the arm the reverse stockinette portion (at each edge) to create a diamond of it under the arms. I continued to reduce the sleeve proportional with my arms with plenty of ease to put over clothes. At least in the sleeve…

Trouble in Paradise

Once completed I donned it immediately. The sleeves were roomy—just right for clothes, but the bottom was perfect only if I wore it nekkid. The button band bulged open especially in my waist and hips. *sigh* I had not allowed for clothing to be worn underneath. “Just wear it open”, my husband says. A heavy coat for chilly days? It just wouldn’t do! So after frogging the garment for about three months, I decided to cut it up the back (followed shortly thereafter with fainting and lying quietly in a dark room). So much had gone into this pattern alteration so far. I was determined to finish it and make it wearable. Surgery time!

Placing cut edges on waste yarn
Placing cut edges on waste yarn

I cut it up the back to the waist and placed both sides on waste yarn. I asked my Facebook clan how I might add material and many creative ideas were given:

  • Sew in fabric
  • Knit a panel in seed stitch or reverse stockinette like the bodice
  • Add a whole new pattern (e.g. fancy cables) in a triangle
Joining waste yarn to hold at the top of the cut
Joining waste yarn to hold at the top of the cut

Everyone seemed to treat the gash like an up and down problem. In the end I turned it on the side and used the same stitch (garter) and method (short rows) to make it bigger. Less inspired, perhaps, but it gave me the garment I’d originally planned, not a different one. I picked up stitches on both sides with the intent to meet in the middle. It was surprising unnoticeable that I was going a different direction from the original. The only issue is that on one side my short rows were WS, not RS. I also had to add the most in the hip region, so the lack of spread (e.g., the zigzag above) made them more noticeable. Thus the ribbon in the back.

Buttoned kick pleat
Buttoned kick pleat

The kick pleat was the one bit of feedback I did pick up from Facebook. I had an extra button, so why not! Now I wear it at least once a week and I always get comments. I’m so excited to tell people “I made it!”

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