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Selecting the Perfect Sweater Size

March 17th, 2011

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When crocheting or knitting, it can be difficult to select the right sweater size. Here are a few tips to help you make the perfect sweater.

Boyfriend Cardigan1. Accurately measure yourself. This tutorial from our friends at BurdaStyle shows you how to measure yourself. Remember not to pull too hard on the measure tape, as this will make your measurements too small.

2. Judge the ease of the sweater. Ease is essentially the fit of the sweater. If you’re making a fitted garment, you’ll want to select the sweater size that matches your exact measurements (zero ease) or has slightly smaller measurements (negative ease). Remember that garments with negative ease will hug your body. To make a looser garment, select measurements that are a few inches larger than your own. The style of the sweater will often dictate the amount of ease that you’ll want. For example, our Midnight Glamour Pullover is meant to be worn with negative ease, so you would select a bust size that is smaller than your actual measurements; our Boyfriend Cardigan is an oversized style, so you would select a larger bust size.

3. Think of how you’ll wear the sweater. If you’re going to wear many layers under your sweater, consider going up a size to accommodate your layering.

4. When in doubt, measure your favorite sweater. Since you already know how that sweater fits you, you can easily use those measurements to select your sweater size. Make sure that it’s a similar style to your pattern, as you wouldn’t want to measure an oversized sweater to select a fitted sweater size!

Now I’ll use these tips in an example. Let’s say that someone with a 40″ bust wanted to knit the Boyfriend Cardigan (pictured above; click the image to view the pattern). If she knit the small size because it matches her bust size, then she would end up with a very fitted cardigan. To match this sweater’s oversized look, she should knit at least the size medium (44″).

Do you have any great tips for selecting a pattern size? Share them in the comments!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GBFLJPBXM5WNVGZUSS6UVRGLII Sarah

    Your fourth tip is also brilliant if you are making a garment for a loved one as a surprise. I made my sister a cardigan for Christmas without her knowing and determined the size by measuring her favourite cardigan while my Mom kept her busy elsewhere. It was the perfect size. Now she has a new favourite!

    • Anonymous

      Great point, Sarah!

  • Julie Witt

    I am amazed at how often measuring myself and knitting a pattern according to these measurements ends up with me knitting a sweater that is not the size I want! I found it is much, much better to measure a sweater you already have in the style that you are making and you will end up with what you want, instead of a surprise!
    P.S. Knitpurlgurl is giving away LYB cotton bamboo yarn on her blog, and she sent me over here to check this out! Thanks, knitpurlgurl!

  • Tab

    I learned this lesson the hard way, when I made a beautiful cardigan, I thought would fit me well. It ended up being to big, luckily I have friend who is enjoying it! These tips will be something I will keep in mind for the next time.
    Thanks to Knitpurlgurl for mentioning this blog.

  • A Nicoleparker11

    This is actually really helpful! KnitPurlGirl sent me, by the way!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E522DGGATU33Q2BGUQ2EEBAZGI Gale

    Beautiful yarn and pattern’s.

  • Tina Peterson

    KnitPurlGurl sent me – great blog! Tina “The Book Lady”

  • Wordweaver96

    Great BLOG! Knit Purl Gurl sent me!

  • Gayle

    KnitPurlGirl sent me. I sure enjoy your sites and all the wonderful patterns. I have made so many things I can’t begin to count. Love your yarn.

  • Kristine

    Knit Purl Gurl sent me. Can’t wait to read more of your blog!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_O5SFTO4QADXVKIXGXCFBZPDR2I Melody

    This is information I need. I’m always wondering if I go by the bust size will the rest of the sweather be too big. Knit Purl Gurl sent me.

  • Pingback: Selecting The Perfect Sweater Size · Knitting | CraftGossip.com

  • Judithboyd

    with set-in sleeves, make sure the tips of the shoulders sit in the right place on you as well

  • http://profiles.google.com/rsvp2moi Margo W

    Knit Purl Gurl sent me.

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  • Janet Wesner

    This just comes into my email account and I look it over.  Self taught knitting and crochet. 

  • Grannynickel

    Well, I don’t know Knit Purl Gurl, but maybe I should! LOL The info is great and so simple. Why don’t we think of these things before we spend time and money and wind up with a wrong-sized garment. Thanks!

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