Shaping Aidez

Thanks for all the Ravelry and bloggy love for my Aidez! I also got a question from Jessica about bust shaping, which put me in mind of a post I always intended to write.

Here’s how I added bust shaping mods for Aidez, which is what I do for most sweaters. I’ve made enough garments now that I make these changes automatically, almost intuitively, but for those starting out there are some ‘rules’ to follow and questions to ask which can help you decide the where and how much of shaping modifications. I’m assuming that you do need bust shaping because standard pattern dimensions look wrong on you.

1. Add vertical shaping. If you need to add a lot, then you should do two increase columns per side. Best resource: a series of posts on Knitting Daily (from the good old days when it actually had a ton of useful information!) They explain positioning and shaping really well. Find them here: 
Where the darts go, 
Another one, 
Dart placement, 
Dart maths ,
Getting started knitting

In stockinette, simple m1 increases will be enough. In a patterned fabric, work m1p’s, located next to purl columns. Remember to incorporate them into the stitch pattern, by doing two purls where there was originally one.

Eg: my Red Arrowhead pullover has horseshoe lace motifs separated by single purl columns. I located increases next to the purls (moving to the next column for each subsequent increase — see how the purl columns between the motifs increase in size?).


Here is the reverse: see how each knit column (which is, of course, purl on the RS) becomes two stitches?  Not all in one go, but consecutively, at each increase row.


In Aidez, I added shaping in the stockinette sections and also in the cable sections between cable stitch patterns. Side shaping (ie, waist increases and decreases) were added in the stockinette sections. Bust shaping should ideally be placed where it belongs, which is in the front of the garment, not along the sides. So I added bust increases (and decreases) in the purl sections between cable patterns.

2. Add horizontal shaping, if required. Depending on how tightly fitting you’re making the garment, after vertical darts you may need horizontal increases through short rows, so that the hem is even at the bottom. I almost always add short rows, because I mostly knit garments with low ease. The questions to ask are:

a) How many inches to add?
The simple answer is: by as much as the front is higher than the back, when worn. This of course means, one sweater will be ‘wasted’ by having its fronts ride a little higher than the back. If this is too much of a sacrifice, use a measuring tape before knitting to measure from the shoulder down, and calculate the difference between front and back lengths. Add short rows to the front to compensate for the difference, but work a few rows less than the tape suggests, since knitted fabric has some drape and droop unlike crisp woven cotton. Sorry I can’t be more specific than that!

Remember the number of short rows needed is affected by the ease of the garment and the bulk of the yarn. In thin cotton tops (which are meant to be clingy) I normally add 1.5 inches of short rows. See how the bottom of the front is lower than the back when laid flat? The hem is perfectly even when worn.


In Aidez, knowing the garment was not meant to cling, I added only 0.75 inches in short rows. Practice makes perfect and knitted fabric is forgiving.

b) Where to locate turning points?
In patterned fabric, choose purl columns – that’s what I did for the Red Arrowhead. Doing so means that the various repeats in a row will go out of phase, since the ones nearer the centre have more rows worked on them than the ones near the edges. It then becomes crucial to be able to read your knitting, so that you can just see which row needs to be worked next, instead of painfully tracking the progress of each section on paper. In heavily cabled garments this is easier to do since charts are usually separate for each cable pattern, and you can mark where you are on each chart (although even here, it’s much easier if you can read your knitting to know which row you’re on!)

In Aidez, I located the turning points in the stockinette section to make it easier for myself.

c) Which short rowing method to use?
I can only refer you to the master. Use what works for you!

Here’s what the outline of my Aidez would have been like without vertical darts or short rows. Rather unwearable, no?!

aidez outline


One thought on “Shaping Aidez

  1. I almost feel like I was revisiting my conversations with you while making my Petrie! 🙂 Such a helpful blog post as always!!

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