Knit to Flatter by Amy Herzog, photography by Karen Pearson, pub. Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2013
Let me just start by saying I love this book. It is an invaluable resource for knitters concerned about fitting and flattering particular figures as well as for designers wanting to target specific body types or maximize versatility of a design.
Herzog begins with a tutorial on finding your body type by drawing lines on photographs of yourself in form-fitting clothing. I admire her non-judgmental language here, her encouragement of camera-shy folks, and the clarity with which she delineates the purpose of these photos. Herzog underlines the fact that people's main perception of you is based on your attitude and speech rather than the size of your [insert name of pet peeve body part here].
She continues with each of the three main body shapes as viewed from the front: top-heavy, bottom-heavy, and proportional. Below are photos of two very different top-heavy models: Ann has broad shoulders and Jackie is busty. But they both look great in the Draper Vest/Cardigan! The long vertical lines of the lapels combined with a little waist shaping are the secrets here.
Herzog doesn't laugh at my bottom-heavy longing for this design, however. She tells me how to modify it to better suit me! Modification ideas are given in a sidebar, with page numbers referencing the instructions to implement them (which are given in a later chapter).
I really don't have to concern myself with all that, though, because in the very next chapter (my chapter) is the captivating Flutter Pullover. I have avoided wide necklines for years because they tend to fall off my "delicate shoulders" (Amy's term for the nearly nonexistent nubs sloping down from my neck to my arms), but she has me convinced to give them another try. When I knit them myself, I can use my own measurements and have more success. Jessica (at right) has narrow shoulders, but the boatneck makes them look wider. Worth a try!
Herzog has some designs in this chapter that she says will flatter non-busty knitters, but none of her bottom-heavy models are in this category, which is a disappointment to me.
Herzog's grasp of figure-flattering features is phenomenal, but not all the photos prove her skill. Pose, camera angle, and styling combine to make the garments below appear less than flattering. Still, I'm not sure the line of lace rippling over the front of the Cypress Cardigan was the best idea for Morgan, or that the Stoker Cowl's sleeve and torso lengths are the best combination for Tessa (though I agree her shoulders do not look at all narrow in this piece).
The next chapter discusses curvy and straight shapes, larger or minimal busts, long and short torsos. Here's Morgan again, looking fantastic in the Enrobed Wrap. This sweater looks sensational on curvy figures, and straighter figures could tie the waist tie more simply, letting the diagonal lines promote the illusion of shaping.
The final chapter is all about modifications---when and where to make them, and what other parts of the garment one particular modification will affect. Herzog fits an enormous amount of information into just a few pages. I know I will use these pages as a reference for years to come.
Photographer Karen Pearson did an excellent job for the most part producing varied and natural looking full-length photos. In a few instances she might have taken a more direct shot rather than from below, but this is just my perception. The nine models are without exception wonderfully vibrant and the styling creative though at times a little risky.
Patterns are given in around ten sizes. Schematics and charts are given where needed and instructions are clear. I don't think of this as a pattern book exactly, but it's great to have well-written examples to follow and modify before tackling designs plucked from the vast unknown.
I've tried not to put any "spoilers" in this review, but you can find out more about Herzog's thinking on her blog and decide for yourself whether to take the plunge. I found this book---and not just "my" chapter---an extremely educational and entertaining read. Highly recommended!
Disclosure: Stewart, Tabori & Chang sent Kangath a free copy of Knit to Flatter for review. Kangath was not compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in the review are the blog author's and are not necessarily the opinions of Stewart, Tabori & Chang or Amy Herzog.
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