Although Polonaise might seem to involve too many complexities for any size adjustments, there is actually a lot of opportunity for customizing sizing. One of the reasons I like to work sweaters flat in pieces and seam them later is the flexibility that this construction provides. So let’s take a look at how and where modifications can be made.
To adjust the body width, simply cast on the desired number of stitches and work fractional repeats of the pattern at the hem, using the guidelines from the previous post. Alternatively, add or subtract stitches after working the lace pattern at the hem, once you start the stockinette stitch section. While the pattern as written is designed to have a convenient number of lace repeats at the top of the shoulder, with all the armhole and neck shaping going on in that region, you’ll be a pro at working fractional repeats of the pattern, and any changes introduced in the stitch count will be easily incorporated. Just make sure there’s an odd number of stitches before starting the neck shaping! The region of stockinette in the middle portion of the body also allows for waist shaping, without disrupting the stitch pattern repeat. I made my sweater straight this time for a comfier fit, but it would look fantastic with a bit of an hourglass shape as well.
To change the length of the body, work additional or fewer rows in the stockinette portion, or once the upper lace portion commences. The former option will ensure that the lace point of the V will remain in the same place, while the latter will result in the lace point moving up or down.
Adjusting the V-neck depth is a bit more tricky, but not impossible! Once you’ve decided where you want the point of the V to land (relative to the shoulder), calculate the number of rows between the bottom and top of the V neck. You will want to have the same final number of shoulder stitches (unless, of course, you don’t), which means that you will want to work the same number of decreases over the newly-calculated number of rows.
If the number of decreases doesn’t evenly distribute across the number of rows, then work decreases more frequently at first, and less frequently towards the top of the V. A neck that looks like this:
is much better than one that looks like this:
Now that you’ve customized your body length, width, and neck depth, you’ll be ready to tackle the sleeves. The sleeve shape is fairly straightforward, and all the shaping effects are achieved by differences in gauge. To adjust the width of the forearm, simply change the stitch count in multiples of 4. You can restore the stitch count in the first row prior to the start of the lace pattern.
To adjust width in the upper arm, increase or decrease to the desired number of stitches in the first row before the lace pattern begins, and work partial pattern repeats over the extra stitches. Restore the stitch count in the final rows of the cap; the puff sleeves are quite forgiving of variations in stitch count.
Finally, the sleeve length can be adjusted by lengthening or shortening either the ribbed forearm, or the lace sections. To preserve the Gigot-sleeved look of the sweater, ensure that the transition from the ribbing to the lace occurs at or just below the elbow.
Your customized Polonaise will quickly become a wardrobe favorite!