that you have a design in mind and have sketched out the details, it’s time to
figure out what size it needs to be. For
women, this is often a trouble spot. I
used to sew and found that I always had to alter the store-bought patterns and
finally progressed to making my own using a personalized sloper. You will need to use accurate body
measurements for whomever is going to wear the sweater. If you are unsure of their size or are making
a garment for publication (such as a women’s small sample) then you need to
check out www.yarnstandards.com. They have ALL the standards and guidelines
for knitting and crocheting.
you are making a garment based on the Craft Yarn Council’s website, you will
see that they offer standard body measurements for babies, children, women, and
men. This is very helpful, especially if
you are not sure who will be wearing the garment but do know the size you want
to make, such as medium. If you click on
the category you are interested in, it will give body measurements for each
size, babies from 3 months – 24 months, children from 2-16, women from XS-5X,
and men from S-XXL. They also have a
head circumference chart and foot sizing.
If you are asked to make a sample in a women’s size small or medium,
head over to www.yarnstandards.com
you are making a sweater for yourself or someone very close to you it is best
to take accurate body measurements. The
Craft Yarn Council’s website explains how to measure the chest/bust (chest for
babies, children, men and bust for women), center back neck-to-cuff, back waist
length, cross back, sleeve length, armhole depth, waist, hip, and head. Obviously you will not need all of these
measurements for every garment, but use the ones that are suitable for what you
are making. If you are designing a
sweater, you should measure at least the first six and the waist or hip if
needed. Some sweaters have waist shaping
or are long enough to cover the hips so use your judgment here.
note about ease: When designing a
sweater it is important to consider how it fits the body. A standard fit (which is what I use most
often) includes 2-4 inches ease. What
this means is that you add the ease to the body measurement. For example, I know I have a 38” bust and I
want the sweater sketched in the last post to fit me, so I am going to make it
between 40-42” for the finished bust measurement. How much ease you want depends on the fit,
and since this is a fairly roomy sweater I am going to go with the 42”
bust. For some sweaters you may want a
tighter fit and some even have negative ease, where you make the garment a few
inches smaller than the body measurement.
Be sure you have an elastic stitch for this so it will fit! I have never made a garment with negative
ease, but my first design, the Jetsetter Sweater, was created with no ease to
have a tighter fit.
lot of times I use charting software to help me out with this part, but never
do I go solely by what the numbers on the software say. I have used several and really enjoy the
and Glove Wizard
also use a Sweaters program from Great Knit Designs. This was the first software I used and refer
to it more than the sweater wizard just because I have been using it longer and
am more familiar with it. I adore the
hat, sock, mitten, and glove wizards!
They are geared towards knitters but I have found that it is not
difficult to adjust for crochet. These
software programs are also a lifesaver when you are writing out multiple sizes
for the pattern but are only making the sample in one size. There are lots of other programs out there, but I haven’t tried them. I’m sure a lot of them are great but I based my decisions on ease of use and cost. Some of them are very expensive and some don’t have demo modes to try out.
now I know the measurements of my sweater and have charted out my schematic as
seen at top, which I completed using Paint. I measured a sweater I really like to determine the length and the schematic is measured as laying flat, which is how my bust measurement of 42″ is now 21″ – both the back and the front will be 21″ wide and when connected will equal a 42″ bust. The next step we will be looking at is gauge –
which is extremely important! Even one stitch off on your count can skew
the entire project, which I have done before!
No fun! See you then!