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Nearly a year has gone by since I published the Baby Hepburn Crop Coat Pattern, and here we are at the start of spring again with Lil One asking to wear her soft smooshy sweater coat all the time now.

She has grown in so many ways: taller, smarter, more talkative and even more energetic!  When I made this sweater last year, I was reading the “standard” measurements from CYC and figured I’d go up a size and have her wear it longer.  Well, while it is true that she can still wear it, but her tiny torso has remained almost exactly the same size.  I guess she isn’t very “standard”! 🙂  I finally had to admit to myself I just made this one too big for her!  What to do?  The only part of “too big” that really matters when it comes to a cozy, loose sweater like this is that the 5″ (rather than the prescribed 3″) of ease in the body also meant that it was a little sloppy around the shoulders.  I can be determined and a perfectionist when it comes to fit, so even though she’s been cozy and comfy for nearly a year, I decided to do my favorite elastic collar trick that I’ve used so many times to just tidy up that one area.

When it comes to silky textured yarn like the Spa which trims this sweater, or the Gemstone Silk which I used in the Silk Tipped Toddler Tee, they may look and feel lovely, but that usually means they don’t have the spring action of a nice wool yarn.  Obviously, that hasn’t stopped me from using them over and over again in my work.  Especially for spring and summer knits, those lighter, silkier yarns have great appeal.  I have learned to add that elastic quality back in to the key area of the neckline with a little trick with clear elastic cord.  I have now used this on nearly all of my silky textured knits including the Periwinkle Rayonnant, both versions of the Silk Tipped Toddler Tee, as well as above on the Baby Hepburn Crop Coat.   I’m sharing it in hopes that if you find you’ve made something a little too big, or it has stretched out to be a bit too big (silk, cotton, rayon, and bamboo tend to do this), this may be an option to help it hold its shape better – at least around the neckline.

What I use is an elastic jewelry stringing cord that is on the thicker side at 0.8 mm, and run it behind the top edge, of the back of the work like this:

It is almost like darning a thread.  Once I’ve run it all the way around, I tie the two ends together in a loop that doesn’t pucker the work, but is just snug enough to keep it from sagging over the shoulders when it’s worn.  If you can, try it on with a quick loose knot to see how the weight of the garment pulls on the neckline and adjust it to your liking.  I then give a good secure permanent knot, following the instructions on the package of elastic bead cord, and either clip the ends short like a jewelry knot, or darn in the longer ends depending on your preference.  Because the cord is clear, it really does disappear when you’re done.

Forgive the crazy expression, but here’s what the Silk Tipped Toddler Tee looks like on her with the neckline reinforced as shown above.

You really wouldn’t know I did anything if I didn’t tell ‘ya.  Strictly speaking, I didn’t have to do it on this one at this point, but the good news is, when she grows just a bit more, I can actually just sneak a snipper in there to cut the cord and pull it out with no damage to the sweater.  (I know this because I had to take one out to adjust the length when I was first trying all this out.)

In the case of the Hepburn coat, I concealed the thread in one upper corner of the collar with a couple of well hidden back stitches, then carefully threaded it through the space under the fold at the top edge.  Once I had it out the other side, I adjusted it to cinch, but not gather, the collar, and then again secured and concealed the end of the thread at the ending corner.  Here’s a close up of how it looks with the collar done this way:

It’s just enough to keep everything in place while she plays like the crazy little toddler she is!   And for me that’s the ultimate design goal – good looking and easy to wear!