Waist Shaping: From Waist on Up!

We have now arrived at our theoretical waist in our theoretical bottom-up, knit in the round pullover. All the decreases are done, leaving us with 267 stitches at the waist. Here’s what to do from there on up:


1. Work even for a bit.

Usually, patterns will tell you to work even at this point for about an inch. This matches the reality of some of our bodies: Unless we have other bodacious curvages going on, our torsos do not generally start getting bigger until just under our rib cages, which is a bit above the waist.

Extra customization tip: Take a tape measure, wrap it around your waist, and then, holding the ends together loosely, slide it upwards until the ends need to expand a bit. How far up from your waist are you? That’s the length you ought to “work even” for yourself, because that is the vertical distance in which YOU are the same circumference.

Extra sanity note: Don’t sweat this “work even” distance too much if you are just a beginner. Work even for an inch, and then see if you like the finished effect. If not, make notes for next time.

2. Measure fullest part of bust.

We’re not going to talk about bust shaping just yet (not yet, notice I said NOT YET!), in order to keep this simple. Taking a tape measure to my Girls, I notice Mother Nature is doing her usual sometimes up, sometimes down thing with my bust size, so today’s number is a 41″.

3. Choose preferred ease at bust.

We’ll keep this simple and use the same ease we’ve used for the rest of the garment: 1.5″ positive ease.

4. Add bust measurement to ease to get finished bust measurement of sweater.

41″ plus 1.5″ equals 42.5″ finished bust measurement.

5. Calculate how much you need to INCREASE (we’re going up, remember?) from waist (narrowest bit) to bust (wider bit).

Finished bust measurement minus finished waist measurement: 42.5 minus 38 equals 4.5″.

6. Determine the number of total stitches to increase, waist to bust.

Take the result from #5 above and multiply by the stitch gauge: 4.5″ times 7 stitches per inch equals 31.5, which we will round up to a nice even 32 stitches to increase.

7. Measure the vertical distance over which the increases will be worked.

Measure from your waist to the fullest part of your bust and then subtract 1″ (to compensate for the work even section in #1). Waist to bust length for me is 8″, minus 1″ equals 7″ over which to work the increases, or 91 rounds (7″ times 13 rounds per inch).

8. Work out the spacing of the increases.

We’ll do four increases for each increase round, so 32 stitches to increase divided by 4 equals 8 increase rounds needed. 91 rounds divided by 8 equals one increase round about every 11 rounds.

Summary: From waist to bust, I will work even for one inch, then start increasing four stitches each increase round, with one increase round worked every 11 rounds. Again, I will continue to work one increase on either side of the “side seam,” just for consistency.

And that, my friends, is Waist Shaping 101! We did kind of a beginning overview, because there’s lots more tricks and tips about where to put the shaping, how to shape using needle size changes and no decreasing/increasing at all, and much more.


Other posts in the Waist Shaping Series:

Waist Shaping: An Overview

Waist Shaping: Not Just For Waist Anymore

Waist Shaping: The Math, Hem To Hip

Waist Shaping: Choose Your Curves

Waist Shaping: From Hip to Waist


Sandi Wiseheart is the founding editor of Knitting Daily. She is now the author of the popular Knitting Daily blog: What’s on Sandi’s Needles. 

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