Posted by: GourmetGirl | January 14, 2014

Sweater Sizing

I have written about Sweater Sizing before. And since I am working on a jacket, it is a great time to talk about choices I have made in its sizing.

Do NOT follow what the knitting world tells you. Sizing is NOT about measuring your bust. It is about measuring garments that you already own and love to WEAR. It is NOT about getting gauge and blindingly casting on for the size you THINK you are – or by following the schematic the pattern gives.

UnknownSizing is you being responsible about your knitting. (My Favorite Rant – and my favorite on this rant, starts with: Running the Numbers and continues with 4 following posts titled Responsible Knitting 1, 2, 3, and 4. Yes there are a few more posts on the subject – but I usually refer back to this series of 5 posts.)

Back to the jacket I am working on now.

I want to recreate the light weight feel of a store-bought jacket that I own. Not exactly, but mostly in the sizing. I found this lovely jacket on the clearance rack – because it was tagged as a Large, which it is not.

Number 1: I laid the jacket on the floor and MEASURED the back – 20 inches, larger than I usually knit for a jacket (18).

Number 2: Next I MEASURED the sleeve width at the arm hole – 13 inches, again larger than I usually knit for a light weight garment.

Number 3: I put the sweater on my mannikin to see where the depth of the arm hole is – 10+ inches following the line from the neck to the underarm join (I always measure along the raglan line where increases are made.) – not the 6 inch depth that main-stream Knitting tells you. (You will find plenty of skinny models with the armhole tight against their non-fat arms in knitting books and magazines!) This is a jacket to be worn over shirts – you WANT arm hole room.

Number 4: After casting on and knitting a good section of the jacket, I MEASURED the gauge AGAIN. A knitter’s gauge usually changes when knitting the actual piece. (Most of my patterns give sizing options so you can adjust the sizing to your preference and your body – the beauty of knitting from the top-down. You can also rip out if it is drastic in the difference.) Gauge can also change as the piece gets larger. Weight pulls on the yarn. That is why I opt for smaller needles – to minimize the stretch as the garment gets larger.

Note: I also chose a fingerling weight yarn and size 3 needles for some stretch – I don’t want the piece to be too tight. (When I knit socks I use size 0 because I don’t want my socks to stretch out when wearing.) One of my favorite sweaters to wear was knit with size 0 needles. Purple Haze.

Yes, there is a lot of work and responsibility when knitting a piece of fitted knitwear. That is why so many knitters knit scarves and shawls – they do not need to worry about size or having their too large of sweater knit on too large of needles laying in the bottom of their closet.

I encourage YOU to take the plunge and take the time to MEASURE properly and MEASURE your knitting as you knit. One of the best reasons to knit from the top-down? You can try your sweater on as you go. You can add or subtract stitches to adjust the fit. You can rip out 1 or 2 inches to correct your sweater instead of blindly knitting, seaming then finding out after it is complete that it is too large and the sleeves are too short.

(Sleeves – another topic! Here are links to two different posts: Sleeves and Sleeves)

Happy Knitting YOUR Correct Size,



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