My super awesome Grey Mist Bohus is too big.
A lot too big.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.