With another Vogue Knitting review looming, I decided to take a day and explain a BIT of my design, um, philosophy? That's a fancy word for it. What I'm thinking when I do these reviews. Because I do tend to harp on some subjects more than I would, otherwise. I've said it before, but it probably bears repeating. I don't analyze these according to what I LIKE. I discuss them with an idealized 'average woman' (both in size and age and coloring) in mind. What, of the choices, would suit? Why? How hard would it be to knit? That sort of thing. What I like rarely coincides with that, and that's okay.
Generally, I separate knitted clothing into two broad categories: casual and dressy. Casual knits? The foundation and history of knitting. Looks are secondary to function. Keep warm, be comfortable, and get stuff done, those are the priorities there. Dressy? While I still think function should be a factor, looking good becomes much more of a priority.
That said, I consider everything in Vogue Knitting 'dressy knits', or they SHOULD be. If you're spending $250 on silk yarn to knit a cardigan, then yes, looking good damn well ought to be on the menu. I don't expect it to make anyone look fifty pounds lighter or six inches taller, but it should certainly be as flattering as possible. For that, fit is almost always a huge factor. (I can't think of a case when fit is NOT a factor, but I'm sure there's a pattern out there to prove me wrong if I say always.)
Is it possible to knit something without perfect fit? Of course. Will it be comfortable? Very likely. Will you like it? I hope so. Most flattering thing possible? Debatable.
Two things I bitch about a lot are waist shaping and big-butt length. Again, you don't HAVE to care about either one, but if I was spending big bucks and big time on something, I would. A lot.
Waist shaping reduces bulk around your middle. In this culture, slim waists are considered the ideal, even more than slim hips or chests. So removing some bulk around the waist is a good idea. It's pretty simple to do, as easy as decreasing and then increasing a couple times in the right places. That's one reason I bitch. IT IS REALLY EASY TO DO. It's so easy, you can even put it in after the fact. That's why I can't understand why more designers don't do it in the first place. No, it's not ALWAYS warranted. But most pullover-type knits could benefit from it.
Bulk is what big butt length is about, too. How many of us complain about the size of our butts? All of us? 90%? Why, then, do we so often swathe that very part with three or four layers of clothing? Grab a sweater some time, and bunch it up so that you hold the full width of it in your hand. Now imagine sticking it to your butt. Because that's exactly what's going on.
See that? Probably three layers there. Underwear of some kind (for most of us), pants or skirt, then sweater. Why? Sometimes it's an intended style, but I think more often it's just a detail that hasn't been thought out too well. Luckily for us, we CAN think. We're knitting this stuff ourselves. We can shorten, lengthen, add shaping, move it around, or whatever's needed to make it fit us individually.You could knock a significant amount of length off that tunic up there, save yourself days of knitting time, and most likely look thinner into the bargain. Sign me up for that.
The reason I mention this stuff so much isn't really about VK or the designers. It's about the knitters. I'm trying to get folks thinking, about the ways to alter their knits, to best suit them. Food for thought.