How to make my top bigger

I’m super happy with how my top is going, what I’ve done so far is looks neat.
It’s going to be too small.
I have wet blocked prior to joining front and back and everything is the size as per pattern but its going to be too snug, I made the size that should fit me but I should have selected the larger size (which I thought would be far too big).

Anyhow, I think there must be a way to fix this if I could get a bit of help on it please?
Here’s the top so far

I have flat seamed the shoulders, not too badly.
I have not yet joined side seams.

My thought is to add a garter panel to each side.
I’d like an extra 2 inches each side at the bottom but just 1 extra inch each side at the under arm.
Based on my gauge I’d need:
10 stitches each side at the bottom
5 stitches each side at the under arm.

Is it possible to knit into the selvedge on each side so that i am adding width and seaming at the same time?
Would it be neat?
How do I do that?
How or where would I reduce stitches to reduce from 10 at the bottom to 5 at the top, k2tog every inch or so between waist area and the under arm??
Length from bottom to under arm is 16" but I wouldn’t mind changing this to 15" to make the arm hole a little bigger.
I’d like about 8" from bottom to waist with the 2" or 10 stitch increase each side. So 7 or 8 inches where the stitch count would gradually decrease up to the arm hole.

I’m having ideas but have no idea how to execute them.

I love this top so far and I’m so please with myself for how much I have learned and achieved it would be a shame if I couldn’t wear it.


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You’ve worked the top and finished it beautifully. It is indeed a shame that it doesn’t fit. Yes, side panels will fix this. The cleanest way to do this to me is to work a side panel in stockinette and seam it in place on either side rather than join as you knit the panel. When you get to the armhole, bind off the center 10 or whatever number sts for the underarm.
Then you have to decide how to continue the extension. Is the extra width in the body enough? Continuing in stockinette may leave you with a problem of curling. How much of this can be blocked out and mitigated by the fact that the side nearest the body and upper panel is seamed so that you only have one edge to consider? If you would rather work garter or seed stitch for the side panel of course, curling won’t be a problem but you’ll be introducing another stitch pattern.
It may help to cut out a side panel from paper and pin it in place to help see the dimensions and fit. You only need do this on one side so that it’s fairly easy to slip the top on.
I’m sure you’ll be able to make this work for this truly well done top. Good luck with it and keep us posted!

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Thanks for your thoughts.

I only need 5 stitches (perhaps 1 or 2 extra for seaming purposes) extra at the bust or under arm.
And 10 (12?) further down, hip area. These numbers are for each side.

Sorry I don’t understand this.
Blocking isn’t really changing the size, barely. The yarn gets a lovely sheen and drape and looks and feels different but the size isn’t really different to when I knit it.
Can’t get my head around which bit you mean, by having only one edge to consider. Sorry.

If I make 2 panels, one for each side, there will be 2 seams on each panel, yes? 4 side seams total.

Part of the reason I was considering joining as I knit was to reduce the number or ‘hard’ or bulky seams. The mattress stitch is so neat inside and out but it does make quite a chunky seam.
Still, I understand why you suggest making the panels separately, it would look neater.

I just had a go of knitting a garter panel into an old swatch and the result is not terrible but neither is it beautiful and with the yarn I’m using it really shows up the direction of the stitches.

There is a slip and passover on each side, the left side really shows a diagonal stitch that’s passed and I think it would be baggy in my yarn.
I picked up the wrong size needles which is why the rows are bending.
I like that it’s totally flat with no bulky seams though.

Yes, I think it will look nice. The top has a garter bottom edge instead of rib, garter between the main body and the panel, and the neck and shoulders is garter on its side. So I think a couple of inches garter set I to the sides will look OK.

I don’t know how to reduce from 10 or 12 at the bottom edge up to about 5 or 7 stitches at the top (under arm)
Do I k2tog in the centre of the row?
It might be too many difficult things for me to do, maybe I’ll just do the 2" all the way up.

Not blocking to resize but blocking to minimize the curl of stockinette. I’m not such a fan of garter stitch in this context which is why I suggested stockinette although it has the problem of curling.

If you want to shape the sides, use decreases. If you want to continue the panel width up to the underarm, bind off the center sts at the underarm as many patterns do.

Sorry, I also meant to say this is a great idea, but I don’t think I need to try this in this instance.
I’ve had the top on, bust kind of fits but would look better with a little extra, waist fits fine like figure hugging but not stretched, hips I could force myself into it but it would be far from flattering, it would pull the fabric which in a different yarn might not be so noticeable but in this yarn there is no give.
I’ve been waiting for spine surgery for 2 years and my hips have noticed, hence the extra several inches!

I realise now I should have made the bigger size but the finished dimensions looked far too big.

Ah I see, thanks.

Should decreases be middle or the row in a side panel? Or one each end of a row?

Maybe I’ll start the panel and pin it on me to see if I really need to shape it.

If you mean decreases to shape the sides, place a marker in the middle of the new side panel. This marks a fake “side seam”. Decrease one stitch before the marker and one stitch after the marker (dec, k1, slip marker, k1, dec).

Pinning as you go, holding panels up to you as you work them is always a good check that you’re getting what you want and what your gauge swatch predicted.


Thank you so much.

Taking all your advice and tips gladly.
Thanks for where to do the decreases. Still not decided if I should decrease or not, I’ll see how it goes when I’ve got some panel done.

I’m doing 12 stitches with 2 stitches of st st either end and 8 garter in the middle. If it looks rubbish I’ll pull it out.
I’m on very limited yarn now too, eek, only 30g left,

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Just an update.

I started with the 12 stitches and thought it looked too small, checked my gauge again and rather than 10 for the 2 inches it should have been 11… plus 2 for the selvedge for seaming, then I thought actually I need another 2 for the lost edges of the main top, so 15 and I rounded it up to 16 to make it symentical for the decreases.

16 looks too much and is about half an inch bigger then needed, I should have rounded down to 14.
But I carried on to try it out.
I think it would look, nicer with an even panel without the decreases but I put them in because I was seriously short on yarn and also the width of the 16 stitches would make it really quite a bit bigger than needed.

Well, I’ve done them, they measure up exactly as my calculations for width etc for this number of stitches which is amazing. I needed an extra 5 rows than predicted which is a bit off but not bad over a 16 inch panel.
I do think they look horrible but I’ve wet blocked them and will tack it all together when they are dry. Things can look different when put together.

I have ideas of what might be nicer, maybe a thinner garter or reverse sticking stitch with stocking stitch either side (and perhaps do decreases in the st st to keep a constant rev st st strip, maybe). But I can’t do anything unless I buy more yarn. I have only enough to seam.

It’s on hold for now.
I don’t want to put in a postal order for one ball of yarn and would rather choose some more and perhaps another pattern for another project but of course now I’m trapped in the worm hole of pattern and yarn browsing. Eek.

I have my next project pattern and yarn ready so I’ll make a start on that.
It’s another sidar pattern and I think having experienced the sizing on this one, I need to make changes to the size before I even start.
But that will be for another thread.

Thanks for all your help and support, it was great.
Will update again when there is any progress.


Back with an update.
It’s finished!

I’ve photographed it folded over because I am super pleased with the flat garter seam at the shoulders, the Icelandic bind off at the arm hole, and the neat side seams where I used mattress stitch for the stockinette body but switched to flat garter seaming for the bottom edge.

I have never made anything this complex before, nor finished anything so nicely. I’m really happy :blush:

In terms of size…
I measured the top and myself a zillion times as I really did not want to add in side panels.
I got a new ball of yarn to try out some different panels.
I tacked the whole thing together and the panels looked truly awful, and everything was too big!
I don’t even know how this happened but I seamed without any additional panels and it fits perfectly!

Now I have full 100g of yarn I don’t need.
Anyone know if that would be enough to do perhaps edging and a button band on a cardigan?
Or would it be enough to make a little purse just big enough for phone, mask and sanitiser??

Based on my sizing doubts on this piece I started my next project making a size larger, now I think I’ve made an error doing that as it is likely to be too big (being an inexperienced knitter brings problems I didn’t even know could be problems!). But I’m more than half way through so I’m going to continue for now and see what happens.

Thanks to everyone who had an input on this project. I’m most grateful for you all helping me through x

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Beautiful. You’ve really worked this out so carefully and well. Enjoy wearing it!