My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Knitting the Perfect Fit

I received a review copy of Melissa Leapman’s new book Knitting the Perfect Fit last week.

This book is all about using fully fashioned shaping t0 achieve couture results.

Do you know the term fully fashioned? I used to see it all the time in knitting patterns years ago, as in “Shape the fully fashioned armholes.” In the introduction to this book, Melissa Leapman explains the concept of fully fashioning:

“It is the construction difference between an $80 J. Crew cashmere V-neck sweater and the one that sells for $200 in the same catalog. Though both are knitted out of the same soft yarn, the less expensive sweater is usually made by assembling front, back, or sleeve pieces cut from huge bolts of machine-knit fabric and then sewn with a serger, while the more expensive sweater is created with hand-manipulated, machine-made knitting stitches.”

It’s all in the details.

The book covers a lot of basic information.

There’s a lot of great information on increase and decrease methods, how to read a chart, etc.

There are a number of exercises with instructions for swatches to knit that demonstrate the techniques being explained.

There are 19 patterns for sweaters, and each one of them has information on the type of figure the particular pattern will flatter.

The appendix has a lot of great information as well — lots of how-tos for general techniques and finishing.

I am pleased to note that all the sweater designs but one are knit in pieces. Longtime readers know of my preference for knitting a garment in pieces and sewing it together. I maintain that you get a better fit and the sweater will hang better with seams. There are times, of course, when a design lends itself to being knitted in the round, but knitting something in the rounds because you don’t like seaming does not always give the best results.

All in all, this looks like a great book for anyone who is interested in creating better fitting knits.

In other news, I’m knitting along on a massive project.

And Lucy is chillin’.


  1. I need to start knitting sweaters again. I have always heard that knitting a sweater in pieces is a better fit.

  2. Looks like something that should be in my library, I can always use a good reference book!! Lovely Lucy, enjoying having mom home for the weekend? Thanks for the post!

  3. Is that denim yarn in your new project? Are you knitting a Cornish frock?

  4. Thanks for the review. Love that she has designs for different body types.

  5. I’m gonna have to get that one, it looks great!!!
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  6. Right up top in the “Work In Progress” section, Wendy has listed a denim jacket as #1 . So. . .perhaps this is it!

  7. I use fully fashioned shaping quite often. I’ve exposed the members of my knitting guild to this and will recommend this book to them.

  8. Maura van der Linden says:

    This looks like a great resource for those of us who want a more customized fit.

  9. Melissa Leapman shares good information, I’ve found
    Have learned a lot from her.
    Thanks for the heads’up for anther title.
    Gerry´s last blog post ..Late last night > > >

  10. I wil need to find this book. I`m a great knitter but I don`t finish so well all the time

  11. Jo morgan says:

    Interesting looking book. At the moment, I have an obsession with scarves, shawlettes, etc. but want to get back to real sweaters soon!

  12. Thanks for the recommendation. Many of Ms. Leapman’s previous books have found their way into my library, and most are used on multiple occasions.
    Jamie´s last blog post ..Long time, no post (or life intervened, but knitting continued)

  13. Carole N. says:

    Great review Wendy! Will have to save for this book! Great one to have for my knitting library. I agree that knitting sweaters in pieces helps it fit better! I am not a fan of knitting in the round either!

  14. Hi Wendy, hope you are managing the summer heat while knitting your massive project! I had fun with the mystery shawl (first lace project), loved the results although far from perfect. I can safely say, I am hooked! Having the mystery shawl to play with kept me in the game to finish…Thank you, thank you.

  15. As a hobby seamstress, I found it natural to form fit my knitted items too, it takes longer to knit and design but it’s well worth it. I found that the attempt to hide a not perfectly fit tummy with baggy clothes makes me look fat, while figure hugging clothes makes me look normal if not skinnier.
    I haven’t noticed any difference in shape holding ability between knitwear made from pieces and the seamless ones (that I prefer). I suppose that the shape holding is tied to the size; the larger garment = more yarn in it , more yarn = heavier, heavier = tension while wearing…

  16. Midnite Baker says:

    I like your knitting project. Where did you find the pattern?

  17. You are probably right that knitting in pieces gives better fit, but if the difference is a good-great fit versus an awesome fit that might never happen because someone dislikes seaming, then there is nothing wrong with taking a slightly easier route.

    My seaming is not quite good enough, so it takes me a ton of tries to get a good finish on a seamed sweater. I can do it, but it does make seamless (or low seam) sweaters much more attractive.
    Seanna Lea´s last blog post ..Swimming

  18. Interesting I would like to see them actually ” assembling front, back, or sleeve pieces cut from huge bolts of machine-knit fabric and then sewn with a serger” it would be al quite interesting to see how they “hand-manipulated, machine-made knitting stitches.”
    brandi´s last blog post ..Oh The Fiber – Illustrious Ile de France sheep

  19. Interesting.. I always thought “fully Fashioned” was some sort of euphemism for “full figured”

  20. Looks neat.

  21. Thanks for the review. I need this book!
    Denim yarn…I have wanted to use this for a number of years…..I just never got to it. Your project looks great.

  22. I sure do need to buy this book! I have a sweater that’s 3/4’s finished (for the past two years) that I knit in the round (per the pattern) and I think it looks like a shapeless bag. However it’s not for me, but for my sis who is more amply proportioned that I am. I guess I should finish it and give it to her for Christmas. (whether it fits right or not!)

  23. I love this book. I picked up a copy here in NYC when Melissa was at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio. And each of the sweaters looked even better in person!

  24. Ooh! Ooh! Is that Riveting, recycled cotton yarn?!!!

  25. What a great book!

  26. I am not a fan of seaming sweaters and prefer to knit in the round but most of what I make is for my niece’s two little boys. I have yet to knit a sweater for an adult. I have made a few sweaters with seams for children but didn’t quite like how they turned out. I need to take a class in finishing from someone who is an expert at it. Any suggestions for someone who leaves near Seattle?

  27. Are you going to knit this dress? Wow, good luck. I am looking forward for the result.
    Debbie Welchert´s last blog post ..Male Fertility: Make your Sperm Count

  28. I’m looking forward to seeing your denim jacket. I think it *would* be a massive project, especially if there are a lot of details. Wendy, between existing patterns and your own designs, don’t you ever feel overwhelmed at the choice? You finish a lot of projects, but there are sooo many patterns – not counting your own!

  29. This would be a wonderful book to have in anyones library.

  30. Sounds like a great addition to my knitting library. I’ll watch for it at my LYLS.

  31. I want to see the result of your knitting. Are you going to knit this one? I love it.
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