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Waist Shaping or Don't Waist Your Time On Unflattering Garments

A complaint often heard about crocheted garments is that they often turn out unflattering to wear. A major reason for this is that many crochet patterns don’t feature sufficient shaping. However a beautifully stitched pattern or the yarn, or both, any garment needs to be shaped to fit the wearer’s body.

In this article an easy step towards better fit: waist shaping will be discussed.

Why do it?

A reality check in the mirror will confirm what you already know: your body is not a tube. Whatever your specific body shape, if you are a woman the line of your silhouette is far from straight.

So, sewing together two rectangles into a tube, calling it a sweater and hoping for it to fit, seldom works.

Tube-shaped garments often work better for children and men, since most of the time they don’t have a bust, and their hips are pretty straight.

Many classical knitted garments work as tubes. Maybe this is why designers often use the same technique in crochet. Knitting and crochet are different, though. Generally speaking, knitted fabrics have more stretch and drape, and therefore adapt themselves more easily to any underlaying shape. Crocheted fabrics are firmer and keep their own shape better. Crocheted fabric is somewhere between knitted and woven fabrics on the ”stretch scale”. So you can’t only look at knitting design when you design a crocheted garment or modify an existing crochet pattern. You also have to find out a little about dressmakers’ techniques, and use some of them – like waist shaping, for example.

Waist shaping makes most garments more flattering for female wearers. It is not only for the slim and slender. Ample girls can often greatly improve their looks with a waist-shaped garment. When our bodies grow (horizontally), we tend to focus on our expanding belly and butts. But our busts grow too. A straight garment which hangs down from the bust may seem like a good idea if you want to hide some of your extra weight; in reality, though, it often makes you look larger than you are. Trying to avoid this is not about self denial, but about any woman’s legitimate aim to look her best, whatever her size.

So, where to do it?

Find your waist

To include waist shaping in a pattern, you first have to find out or decide where your own waist is.

Many people have a rather clear idea about where their natural waist is, or should be, or used to be. It can be more difficult to find if you have a very straight or a very rounded figure. One tip I’ve read about (but honestly haven’t had the occasion to try yet, so if you do, I’d be happy to hear about your experiences) is to tie an elastic around your belly. You then bend from side to side until the elastic stops moving about and ”settles” at the waist. Another indication is where the waistband of your skirts and trousers usually sits. This obviously doesn’t apply to your low rise jeans…


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