Confessions of a dysfunctional tank top knitter

I may have to throw in the towel on fitted clothing items :help:

I had completed the sigma tank from knitty, HATED it, didn’t fit properly and was very tight around the armholes - tried to fix it, ended up frogging it (long story short :rollseyes: )

So I took that yarn and started on the Shapely Tank Top and followed the pattern precisely. I was really happy with how each piece came out (ie. the front and the back) but when I finished off the edges with the garter stitch border and seamed it together, it is NOT what I had in mind. :?

For one thing, I made the smallest size listed, checked my gauge a few times and adjusted needle size accordingly, and it’s STILL too big (currently it’s in the dryer for a short spell to see if that will shrink it up a bit). Also, the garter stitch edges around the neckhole is great, but around the armholes is baaaaaaaaad. I think I picked up too many stitches and the edging is baggy rather than right close to the skin as its supposed to be. I think if I had picked up less stitches, it would have pulled it tighter around the arms.

I am NOT frogging this one, I think it can be helped I just need a few suggestions. How can I tighten up the armhole edge (if the dryer doesn’t do the trick)?? Is there some kind of elastic-type thread I could use to gather it a bit? Or could I weave a piece of regular yarn through to gather it (although it wouldn’t have much stretch to it if I did that, I think something elastic would be better).

Arrrrrrggggggggg :mad: This has been so frustrating and I HOPE there is some solution out there for me. :pray:

I have read of using elastic in felting (for slippers, actually) when the felting doesn’t felt enough. If that makes sense. So I suppose it certainly can be done. You may even find elastic in a similar color to the yarn you used.

And reading your post, you mention it being baggy at the point where you picked up stitches; could you just undo the picked up stitches, then reknit that? I mean, if it were a trim, and not an intregal part of the garmet, could you unknit part of it but leave most of the piece intact? If so, that might allow you to fix a part that was trouble-some without having to abandon the whole project.

I agree with you that weaving a plain piece of yarn in to tighten it up might make the arm holes too unforgiving.

Curious to see what solution you find!

Arghh, I know how you feel!
Sorry, I don’t have a solution for your tank, but a tip for the future.

I myself tried to knit a tank top a long time ago with size 3mm needles, finished front and back and when I sewed it together it was much too wide. :frog:
I reknit it with less stitches and again it was too wide!:frog:

Of course I too thought that I’m not able to make something fitted!
But than I started the Lelah top, which is knitted in the round. And it fitted!
What happened?

If you knit in the round, you’re able to try it on while the piece is not finished. Just take some scrap yarn and thread it through the stitches.
This way you know beforehand if it’s going to be to wide and can adjust more easily without having to frog the whole tank!

It also helps to determine as to how long it should be and how many increases/decreases you need.

This way I have finished two Lelah’s and two other tank tops(number three is on the needles).

Happy knitting!

I agree with Yellowness that you should take out the edging on the armholes. Since it was picked up, you won’t lose anything, and you can pick up maybe 3 out of 4 stitches. Also, maybe you might try a ribbing instead of garter stitch to add more elasticity? :thinking:

Well I’m pretty much resigning myself to that fact that I probably won’t wear it as is, so I might as well try to make it better. And like you all pointed out, it would just be the seams and the edging that I’d have to take apart and not the actual body of the item, so it wouldn’t be too hard to take it out and try something different.

The pattern did suggest picking up 3 out of 4 stitches but I didn’t know what that meant :thinking: . Does it mean that I’m going to pick up 3 stitches, then skip one??? If that’s the case, I will be picking up waaaaaaay less stitches than I did this time around.

Also, I’m going to do just a few rows of garter edging around the armholes instead of the 6 it suggests (I ALREADY did 5 rows of garter edging this time around and bound off on the 6th row, and it’s a WIDE shoulder strap, a few less rows would be in order).

Wish me luck!!! :thumbsup:

Yes, knit three skip one (for three out of four) or anything that you think would work, just be consistent. :thumbsup:

I took one side apart and it was easy, thankfully. I did pick up 3, skip 1 and from the armpit edge to the top of the shoulder it totalled about 30 stitches, whereas before it totalled 45 stitches. It will definitely make it tighter, we’ll just see how much tighter.

The suspense is killing me! Don’t forget to let us know how it goes!

hehehehe I’m glad you’re so interested!!! :lol:

I’m babysitting today, so I have my 3yr old and 2yr old and another 2yr old. I’m sure you can understand that I haven’t been knitting this morning!!!

I hope that all 3 of them will nap this afternoon, then I’ll be down to work!


Here’s a pic of my re-knitting so far. You can probably tell that the shoulder on the left of the photo is the one that I have fixed so far. It came out sooooo much better. What I ended up doing was picking up about 60 stitches (as opposed to the 90 I had before), knitting one row even, then I decreased one stitch on stitches 15, 30, and 45, then did my bind off on the third row. MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH better.


Absolutely! Good job! :cheering:

nice fix job! so do you think you might really wear it now? It’s a shame to go through all the work, then MORE work red-doing, and then not wear it…

I sure hope I’ll wear it!!! :rollseyes: I’ll be happy with the shoulders now, but I’m not totally thrilled with the short rows at the hem. A little blocking might help, and I’m sure being laundered a few times will help too. I think I’m going to stick with other types of projects from now on though - not that I won’t do clothing, just not anything quite so fitted for the time being. I think my changing gauge gets me in a fix still, so while I think it’s good, it can be way off. I think that was my problem with this project.

BTW, wanted to mention that my chest isn’t as HUGE as the picture makes it look. I took the picture of myself and it’s taken a bit at an upward angle!! :blush:

Wow, the fixed shoulder looks great. I feel your pain about the tank tops. My pink one is still sitting in a heap until I calm down enough to think about it again. Moving on to another. If that one doesn’t work out, I don’t know… :??

I am sad to report that the shapely tank top has met with a very unfortunate demise. :verysad:

As I posted above, I fixed one side. Tonight I went to fix the other. I was having a reeeeeeally hard time taking out my woven-in end from when I first finished it. I just couldn’t find where I had woven it in. So what did I do??? (stupid, stupid, stupid :doh: ) I pulled to seperate the two sides that I had seamed to see if I could spot the yarn I’d used for my seaming and was SURE that I saw all those stitches going up the side seam, so I snipped one (gasp! :shock: ) and IT WAS THE WRONG ONE. :shock: :shock: :shock: I snipped a stitch. :twisted:

I don’t know what to do now, but retire the whole thing to a corner in my closet and TRY to forget about it.


OH NO! I don’t know what to tell you to fix it. I personally am not good at repairing things. But I can cry with yoy. :crying:

One night, it was very late, I was cutting a steek on a sweater that I had labored over, after two froggings, and CUT THE KNITTING by mistake. I yelled so loud I woke my daughter–she thought I had cut myself! I just took some thread that matched (the cut was at the back near the underarm) and stitched the cut up. It doesn’t really show because it was a patterned design, but if your disaster is in a place where it won’t show too much, why not try to fix it with thread a similar color? It can’t get any worse. We all have a lot invested in this top! :wink:

Holy Cow! I can see myself doing that. So sorry, I hope you take another stab at it. (Not literally, this time. :wink: )

You all have inspired me to try again sigh but just not at the moment. I need a break from that thing. The good news is that yes, where I snipped a stitch it is right at the side seam AND I was planning to seam a bit more “in-land” from the edge second time around anyways to make it a bit tighter, so as long as I can fix that part that I screwed up it should be okay.

taking deep breath

I finally picked up my tank again today, and GOOD NEWS!!! I was able to take the two ends that I had snipped and just knot them back together!!! :happydance: They are very close to the edge so it will be covered once I seam and hopefully it will hold together. Of course after doing that, I looked again and could EASILY see where the actual seam was where I should have snipped, I must have been too tired that other day :wink: .

So the seam has been ripped, the edging taken out, and am in the process of re-doing it. I can’t tell you how excited I am!!