Have you noticed that you’ve stopped wearing an older sweater?
Maybe you feel like you should wear newer ones you’ve knit. Or maybe there’s something, and I know I hate to admit this, that hasn’t held up as well as you’d like.
Many years ago I knit an Einstein Coat. I loved it when I saw it on the pattern designer at a Stitches event and it was very simple to make. The only thing I didn’t like about it was that it was very boxy. So, I made a fitted version. When you alter a sweater pattern, other things can happen. If you are interested, you can read about those foibles in this blog.
Over the years I’ve noticed that more and more, the coat gaps at the button band. Had I knit the sweater as written, this would be less noticeable. But in reviewing others’ results (there’s almost 1500 examples), I’m not alone. A coat knitted with chunky weight yarn is heavy and, as a result, stretches. Over time stretching is more pronounced around the buttons.
I tried just tightening up the buttons, which helped (and I recommend). But it didn’t fix it completely. Others added a button band and/or moved the buttons further in. This can help, but what if you no longer have the same yarn? What if it’s discontinued?
Not wanting to only wear it open, I contemplated frogging it. But then I remembered how much time it took to make it. Hands down, it’s the biggest garment I’ve ever knit. It’s so big, I often I use it for a lap blanket.
I recently fixed shaping issues with a new sweater by using I-cord, so I thought it might be worth trying it on an old one. When I fixed the new sweater I’d also run out of yarn, so I chose a contracting color. Since i-cord is a finished edge, it looks like an intended design feature. You can read more about that in this blog post.
I started with 3 stitches, but that didn’t wrap around the edge well enough for such a thick fabric. I then tried and stuck with 4, but if I were to do it again, I might use 5. The video I used to get started was this one from Purl Avenue. I watched several, but many were for i-cord bind offs or doing it as you go, not adding it to a finished edge.
Not only did it give me another inch between the buttons and of button band, it shored up the edge and held is straight even when fully buttoned. That made the stretch come from the sweater, not the edge. I also chose a less stretchy yarn (bamboo viscose), rather than wool, to make sure that it wouldn’t become lax over time.
I can’t wait to try this on something else!
And speaking of fixing old sweaters, I’m looking for a way to “loosen” a button band that’s too tight. If you have any ideas for that, I’m all ears. I didn’t knit the sweater (it was a gift), so I don’t the yarn and I’m a bit nervous about unpicking someone else’s work.