Knitting Instructional: How to Decide What Size Sweater to Make

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Posted: Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Last Updated: Thursday, August 9, 2012

Terry from Jimmy Beans Wool and Diane Soucey from Knitting Pure and Simple demonstrate how to decide what size sweater to make and also how to choose the correct size in your pattern.

How to Decide What Size Sweater to Make

Terry and Diane demonstrate a very easy way to determine which size you need to make when starting a sweater. Some people like their sweaters to fit closely while others like varying amounts of roominess in theirs. This is usually referred to as 'ease'. Ease is a spectrum with negative ease meaning a sweater will be more form fitting and positive ease meaning a sweater will be looser.

Many people find the whole concept of 'ease' confusing so Diane recommends a very simple method to find the best size to make for what you like... measure a sweater that already fits you how you like!

Here's how you do it:

  • Take the sweater you want to measure and lay it out on a smooth flat surface.
  • Then using a yard stick or tape measure, measure across the widest part of the sweater. This is usually across the chest just under the arms. Write this number down.
  • Next you need to measure the length of your sweater.
  • Measure from the bottom of the sweater to the top of the shoulder. Write this number down as well.
  • Now the third measurement you will need is the arm length of the sweater.
  • Fold your sweater in half with both sleeves together and lay it out on your flat surface.
  • Then measure from the end of the sleeves right up the middle of the sleeve to the center back. Write this third number down, too.

So that is how to measure your sweater. Next Terry and Diane show you how the measurements you just found translate to the numbers in your pattern.

Patterns vary in the information they give. Some patterns will tell you what bust measurement the sweater will fit. While this is helpful if you understand all the ins and outs of ease, for most people it's just plain confusing!

Instead, look to see if the pattern provides actual finished measurements. Look for the words 'Finished Measurement' or look to see if there is a schematic which will tell you what the finished measurements of the garment will be. Match the numbers you wrote down to the finished measurements in the pattern to determine which pattern size to make.

See how simple - just the way Diane always makes things!

Thanks for watching!

 
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