Have you ever wished that the bottom edge on the back of your knitted garment sat a little lower on your body? Perhaps the back of your sweater is riding up a little, or maybe you’d like to create a ‘dipped hem’ or a more dramatic ‘shirt tail’ effect on your latest knit? Whatever your reason, if you’d like to add some length to the bottom of your ‘in-the round’ sweater or cardigan using short row shaping, this post will explain how.

Firstly, work out how much length you’d like to add to the back of your garment (in cm or inches), remembering to take account of any ribbing etc that will be added after you’ve done the short row shaping to create the lower edge.

Using the gauge information in your pattern or by measuring your knitting so far, calculate how many rows this will be. For example, if you’d like to add 5 cm to the back hem, and the row/round gauge is 22 rows/rounds per 10cm, you’ll need to work 12 rows/rounds of short rows (I’ve rounded this to an even number as the short rows have to be worked in pairs).

Secondly, you need to know how far apart to place the turns for your short rows. Work out where you’d like the first short row turn to take place on each side of the garment – I’d suggest that they come past the halfway/underarm stitches and into the stitches on the front of the body, perhaps by 10 stitches on each side? Count how many stitches are between those first two turns (you could mark these points with safety pins) and then divide that figure by the number of short rows needed to be worked.

For example, if you’d like to work the short rows across 120 sts (and you’re doing to work 12 short rows), then you need to divide 120 by 12 = 10, so you’ll need to leave 10 stitches in-between each short row turn.

Depending on your chosen knitting pattern, you might need to take into account any patterning on your garment (e.g. cables or textured stitches), so it would be a good idea to double check the placement of these short row turns before starting to ensure that they’ll work alongside any other relevant instructions.

Remember! Depending on which short row method you’ve used, you may have to work another round or row to ‘resolve’ the method, which will also add to the depth of your lower hem. For example, you may have to knit together the ‘wrap and turns’ or the ‘German short row’ double stitches.

The sweater featured here is Corra Linn, which will be released on Fri 2nd October – to be the first to know when and receive an exclusive discount, sign-up to my mailing list via the button below.

More about short rows: Carol Feller’s YouTube Channel has video tutorials for wrap and turn, German and Japanse short rows.