This will be armhole adjustments for sleeveless garments. If you are putting in a sleeve, you will have other considerations. Armholes are like necklines and provide another place to tweak fit.
Finishing Armhole Adjustments
Picking up stitches to add a finish will provide the best options for making armhole adjustments for fit. Like the neckline, there is a flat bit at the bind off where the pick up is stitches-to-stitches. This is followed by a curve created by the shaping, then a straight-away above the shaping, and a join at the shoulder. Without adding a lot of words here, this is handled exactly like the neckline. Read this as well.
- The stitch number picked up should be 10 to 15 percent less than the armhole measurement. Whenever there is a circle and you are filling a portion of it from the outside in, you need a number of stitches that works for the smaller inside measurement.
- Pick up along curves in a ratio of stitches to rows, avoiding picking up directly into holes. If your ratio is 5 stitches to 7 rows, you would pick up 1-2-x-3-x-4-5. You have picked up 5 stitches (the numbers) over 7 rows (the x indicates a skipped row).
- Pick up using a ratio of stitches to rows on the straight area in the same manner.
- Pick up into the 3-needle bind off if it works for the total pick up stitch number; if not, pick up on either side of it. The second half of the armhole is worked to match the first, so use markers to help.
Finishing Armhole Adjustments for Fit
EXCEPT if you made adjustments from the original for fit. If you shortened the front armhole, lengthened the back armhole, or did extra shaping to get from your bust to your chest, you will need to make adjustments for fit. Likewise, if you try your garment on and it needs to fit more smoothly, this is the time you can do some armhole adjustments without having to reknit the back or chest of your garment. Sleeveless means you don’t have to fit a sleeve in, so you can decide how best to fill in the space you have.
I’m going to give three scenarios. Remember, I can only give generalities.
Scenario 1: Shortened Front Armhole Adjustments
To accommodate posture, fewer front armhole rows were knit. You will need to pick up a smaller number of stitches on the front half of each armhole than on the back. Work through all the steps above, but use the smaller row number / front armhole measurement for your calculations.
Scenario 2: Lengthened Back Armhole Adjustments
This lengthening, usually to accommodate rounded posture, is one-half of the entire solution in most cases. The extra length can make the back itself fit much better, but make the armhole floppy. Long-term it might suggest that short rows is a better way to get that length, but to handle a floppy armhole, fewer stitches need to be picked up. If you can pinpoint where it is floppy, mark the amount by pinching it and placing a pin on either side of the pinch. It is likely that there will be too much fabric near the top of the shoulder and just above the armhole curve. Now, instead of adding in for the extra rows, figure out what the measurement is without the pinch, and use that to calculate the number of stitches to pick up. Remember to take off the 10 to 15 percent. If it seems like there will be too few stitches on the pick up, pick up a number that just fills the area, then decrease to the number needed (in the shaping are) on the first round.
Scenario 3: Bust to Chest Armhole Adjustments
This is where you had a large change between the bust and the chest. Let’s say you went from a large Bust stitch count to a small Chest size count. Just for illustrative purposes, let’s say that it was a total of 8 additional stitches on each side, so 8 extra stitches are in the shaping part of the armhole: the bind off and decreases.
Picking up extra stitches is one solution, but likely there is a bit of a void where that curve cuts in. If you need to fill it, instead of stitches I suggest you use short rows to make extra rows in the area where there is not enough fabric. If you put in too many extra stitches, you will just end up with a floppy edge. Remember, we are always going for that inner circle measurement. But short rows would add extra rows to fill the greater curve. See my rough drawing above for what it might look like if you pick up too many stitches.
If you do the short rows to fill the extra curve, it will be slightly noticeable. It will not be as noticeable as if you have an ill-fitting armhole. You could do the short rows across the bind off area too if it won’t raise the armhole too high. This is great for covering up the bra in the armhole area. See my rough drawing above.
I’ve been having phone problems all afternoon. I’ve been working with Apple to restore my phone. Tears, repetition, and no forward progress. I am now too distracted to do any more of this. Apologies.