Soft Squooshy Knitting Love
Yes, there will be scissors (just not today)

Extreme Makeover: Bohus Edition

My super awesome Grey Mist Bohus is too big.

A lot too big.

The reasons?

1. I got smaller (hooray me!)

2. I was off 1 st per 4" in my gauge when it was all over (instead of 8.25 sts to the inch I was 8, this is a problem over a few hundred sts).

3. The sweater grew a bit (because they do that, but in the nicest, fuzziest way).

So while I love this sweater and love that it's a knit item that is very work appropriate (as opposed to sorta work okay), it makes me sad that right now it looks like a 1980s box with sleeves and fits in an old sweatshirt way.

So I'm getting out the tools and doing a bohus makeover.

Step one:

Agonize over what to do with this sweater for months.  If you ever need to do this to a favourite handknit, I've done all this worrying for you, so proceed to step two.

Step two:

Determine the ideal finished measurement.  For me this would be about 39" which is 5 inches less that the current size, but which also seemed a bit too much to remove with the yoke as it is (and really, it's not easily modified).  So I'm going with 4" less for a 40" sweater from the bust down.

Step three:

Find the side "seam".  I knit this in the round so I looked for the spots where I decreased/increased for the waist shaping and put a marker in the middle of that. 


Step four:

Using your finished gauge (ie measure the sweater in it's finished state), count out the number of sts that you need to "remove" to make the sweater the size you want. For me, the gauge was 8sts to the inch and I want to remove 2 inches at each side seam, so I need to remove 16sts per seam, 8 on each side of the centre seam.  Place markers on either side of your side seam.

Step five:

Start mattress stitching on the ditch of the marked seam.  (Yes, on a bohus it's a lot of mattress stitch).  I found it helpful to move my markers up as I stitched so I wouldn't lose the line.  

Step Six (optional):

I didn't like the waist shaping I put into this sweater.  Truth be told, I don't like waist shaping; it doesn't suit my shape and plain old looks weird on me.  Since my new seam was well beyond the waist shaping I just kept stitching up and the waist decreases disappeared.  If you wanted to add waist shaping, you could mark it out with stitch markers and take out more stitches where you wanted the waist.  Whatever you choose, plan ahead.

 Step Seven: 

This part is tricky--the arm.  If you just need to adjust the body and not the sleeve, you can carefully work your new seam toward the original seam and end up at your armhole seam.  This will all depend on how much you need to remove.  Since I was taking out 2 inches, I noticed that I needed to adjust the sleeve too.  This meant working out how to take in the underarm stitches.  I just kept stitching until the arm seam and noticed there was a natural fold, I just followed that for a bit, but it wasn't decreasing enough, so I went out one stitch on each side each mattress stitch until I got to the desired decrease.  I can't tell you how much it was though.  I measured the sleeve against a sweater I liked and went with that.

Do mark where you reach the biggest point, so you know where you need to stop moving out from your centre stitch on the second sleeve.

Step Eight:

Follow your markers and keep stitching.  Since your sleeves will decrease as you move toward cuff, this means the number of stitches between your markers will get smaller.  I went until I had one center stitch and followed this until I hit the cuff.  Do what looks right and what works.

Step Nine: 

Try it on (you should do this while your sewing up too--but this is the final "I'm finished!" try)


Not too bad eh?


I think the 39" would have been a bit better, but the armpit area would have been tricky.  The nice part is how wearable it is.

I bet you're wondering what the inside looks like now.  On a Bohus, the extra fabric isn't so thick, but there is 2 inches folded over hiding in there.

And the armpit is interesting--I really did make this sweater too big.

I bet you're thinking there's a Step Ten. Yes, yes there is.

Any guesses about what it might be?  

I'm going to leave you hanging because I haven't done it yet and it really is worth photographing for posterity and educational purposes.



Dude. You. are. so. brave. Especially since I bet step 10 has BLADES.

I agree...I'm thinking scissors...

Love this post. Having started knitting in the '80s when all there were were boxy dropped sleeve sweaters, I didn't think the unaltered sweater looked that big. It looks so much better, though, after the big fix. Step 10 will be fine - sweaters do not fall apart after steeking and this is basically the same process.

Sweet! Sewing BEFORE steeking takes a lot of the angst out of it. (Off to check my closet for sweaters that could use the same treatment...)

I am in absolute awe of your mad knitting skills and attention span. I've only ever finished teeny baby sweaters, and those were still painful towards the end. This sweater looks fab!

Wow, that's quite a job. But after putting so much time into making the sweater it makes sense to fix it so you will wear it. And you're right, it looks much better!

Wow! Excellent work on the sweater! It looks fantastic. I'm not brave enough to do modifications like this yet. You look stunning, too, by the way! =D

Cut! Cut! Cut!
Also: cute! cute! cute!

I agree - scissors!

Awesome! And you look absolutely stunning!

Great fix - I'm guessing that some cutting is in your future.

This is a great idea! I was thinking of cutting my big sweater to get it to the right size but didn't really now how to do it. This way might work for me too! can't wait to see what's next.

You am is looking like a seventies skier chick...all needs is phentex toque.

It's got to be a post-hoc version of a steek - looking forward to seeing what you do with the edges...

Yup, scissors come next, right? Great to see a slimmer sweater for the slimmer you. And I'm with you on the waist shaping, I think, especially for a finer gauge knit - for many of us, straight sides just hang better.

such a beautiful sweater, and loved to see how you made it perfect. I'm inspired to do the same with a noro cardigan in my closet now. Are you going to cut of the excess fabric?

Awesome. I figure the next step is to carefully cut the excess fabric and then reinforce it on each side of the new seam (I'm assuming this is a nice sticky wool for this to work). There are a ton of ways to do this, so I'm looking forward to seeing the method you use!


I agree - scissors!

remove 16sts per seam, 8 on each side of the centre seam

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