Measurements Make a Difference

Knit A Long

October 25th will be the kickoff of our fall knit-a-long, The Anker’s Sweater – My Size. One of the things that I like most about this sweater is that it is available in a wide range of sizes (XS-S-M-L-XL-2XL-3XL). The clever design makes it easy to integrate increases seamlessly and results in a finished sweater that looks good on all body sizes. I don't know about you, but after putting in the money, time, and effort to knit a sweater, I would like it to fit properly and look good on me. I discovered that noting my body measurements and selecting the correct size are key factors to success.

I have heard customers say that they don’t knit garments because they never fit, and I can understand that frustration. Who wants to put in all that work only to find out that your sweater doesn't fit? So how to start? First, you must select the size that you want to knit. Easier said than done!

There are a few things that you can do that will help you pick the right size to knit. Ask yourself if you prefer a loose fit (positive ease), a fit that skims your body (zero ease), a tight fit (negative ease), or an oversize fit (very loose). Often the pattern will note the designer's intent; however, think about what makes a sweater comfortable for you to wear. For example, the Anker’s Sweater – My Size is designed to have about 2¼ to 4 inches of positive ease. The designer suggests you measure the widest part of your upper body to determine which size to knit. Below is a video by Very Pink Knits about how to choose a sweater size.

Measuring bust

I usually measure my bust, check the amount of suggested ease and then, hold my measuring tape around my bust again while including the extra inches (2¼ to 4 inches for this design).  This gives me an idea of how much extra room I will have in the finished garment.  My bust is 35 inches, so I hold the measuring tape around my bust and see how much ease I like.  In this case, I chose a size medium (35½-37½ inches). This will give me room to slip a shirt under the sweater and still have a good fit.

Body Measurement Guide

The illustration (left) shows you where to measure.  I recommend that you enlist the help of a friend when you are ready to measure.  The Craft Yarn Council provides a detailed measuring guide that explains these standard body measurements. 

Once you have your accurate measurements and have determined the ease you prefer, remember to double check them against the finished measurements of the garment listed on the pattern.  Those measurements assume that you are going to block your sweater.  If you opt for more positive ease, consider the overall length of the finished sweater.  You may end up with a sweater that is a little longer.  I am long-waisted so that usually works well for me, but you may just want to knit the body section shorter.  Also, pay attention to the sleeve length.  Larger sizes will have longer sleeves that may also need adjusting. 

The bottom line is that getting accurate body measurements before starting a garment will help you achieve a better outcome.  Who doesn't love something that fits well?