Free EBooks



Learn To Make A Sweater That Fits You Perfectly

Oct 1, 2008

moss coatAt first when I thought about this post, I was going to write about my process for doing those little fit-and-flatter commentaries for the Galleries. I was going to talk about how I sit and read through every single pattern with the sample sweater in my lap, studying how the garment is constructed, where the increases and decreases are placed, what the pattern stitch multiples are...

But the REAL question on everyone's minds is, of course: How do YOU do figure out how to adjust a pattern for yourself at home, when there is no actual sample sweater to study and try on?

Believe it or not, you have all the tools you need, without that fabulous Actual Sweater From The Magazine. The information really is all there, you just have to know what to look for, and what to do with it once you've found it. (Kind of like life, yes?)

Where to look: It's all in the schematic, my friends. That little grey drawing with all those numbers on the second or third page? Yep. That's your gold mine of information about fit and flatter.

What to have nearby:
A measuring tape. A notebook and pencil. A sweater, laid flat, that fits you the way you want the new sweater to fit you. (If you need two sweaters from your closet, one that fits you up top and one that fits you at the bottom, go for it!)

What to do:
Measure each of the key dimensions below on the laid-flat-favorite-sweater and compare to the corresponding measurement on the schematic. Got it? Measure flat sweater in location A, compare to schematic measurement in location A. Where the measurements differ, you know you have to make an alteration.

10 Key Measurements That Determine Your Best Fit

When we look at a sweater on someone, our eyes go to these ten places, almost without us realizing it. If any one of these is too big/too small, the sweater will be ill-ftting.

1. Finished bust
2. Finished hip
3. Finished waist
4. Neckline width
5. Neckline depth
6. Neckline to shoulder "seam"
7. Shoulder "seam" to shoulder "seam" across the back
8. Underbust to waist height
9. Waist to hem height
10. Sleeve length

When I am writing the commentaries for the Galleries, I study each photo for the fit in the ten areas listed above, and suggest adjustments accordingly. I'm eyeballing it most of the time, but with the schematic and your favorite sweater's measurements, you'll have a much better chance of getting your sweaters to fit better. This is the way I approach my personal knitting, as well as my professional design work. And I have to tell you: Sure enough, if I end up with Gorilla Sleeves or a too-small fit across the shoulders, you can bet I forgot to check my measurements against the schematic.

In other words: The Schematic Rocks. Make friends with it, and it will give you many beautifully fitting sweaters in return.

Part Two of the Interweave Crochet Galleries

Now it's your turn. Today, we have four more galleries: two with Sandi Commentaries--Spanish Moss Coat and Ridge Swing Cardigan--and two without--Northern Dreams Pullover and Diamond Cables Pullover. Why no Sandi Commentaries on the last two? Because now I want YOU to be the commentators. Check out the photos, look at the fit of the sweaters in the ten areas listed above, and write in your own commentaries about the best fit and flatter for our models.


P. S. If you didn't get a chance to see the first half of our Local Yarn Shop Interweave Crochet Galleries, here they are!

All these pretty garments are from the new Fall 2008 issue of Interweave Crochet--look for it at your local yarn shop, or buy a copy online from us.

(Try your local yarn shop first, though. That way, if you fall in love with one of the patterns in the magazine, you can shop for yarns right away...oh, sorry. Am I enabling you in your yarn habit? Um, yes. Guilty as charged. I love my job.

Purchase Interweave Crochet Fall 2008  

Sandi Wiseheart is the founding editor of Knitting Daily. She is now the author of the popular Knitting Daily blog: What's on Sandi's Needles.


Knit Cardigan Patterns From Knitting Daily: 7 FREE Knitting Patterns

Every knitter has dreamed of the perfect cardigan pattern that he or she might knit some day. From a cozy cable knit to luminous lace, this free ebook will be your dream come true. This is a wonderful and varied collection of cardigans-which is one of the most important pieces in your wardrobe. You'll want to make every one of these knit cardigan patterns, so download your free eBook now and get started (and don’t forget to tell a friend so they can enjoy their own copy!).

Download Your Free eBook Today



Related Posts
+ Add a comment


why@2 wrote
on Oct 6, 2008 4:50 PM

Great ideals this is the best I'm just getting back at knitting and can use all the help I can get thank you thank you!Wendy

clweiser wrote
on Oct 6, 2008 12:44 PM

Hi Sandi,

I love your postings, and this in particular was helpful in showing what to measure.  But my bigger problem is "What do I do now to the pattern now that I know my measurements to make it fit me better"?  How do I change the pattern?  Are there tips on what works and what doesn't?  Please help, as I have no bustline, but very large hips!!!

DeborahS@2 wrote
on Oct 3, 2008 6:48 AM

Thanks for the list of vitals. What would really help is making sure hat the schematics do provide all the vital measurements you've listed.  Lots of times it is just by guess and by golly where the waistline is really going to be, since there is neither a measure from bottom of sweater to waist, or from top to waist.  (A measurement from my hip to my waist doesn't help much if I cannot correlate with the garment's bottom and waist in advance.)

Jill34 wrote
on Oct 2, 2008 2:04 PM

Thanks, Sandi! These "required" measurements are great for those of us who are a little "out of proportion" in one way or another!

Bonnie@2 wrote
on Oct 1, 2008 8:37 PM

Your help on acturally trying to make  the sweater acturally fit and wonderful...I am wondering however---WEHRE ARE  pagers 2 and 3--the little gray things with the numbers???????????????

StaceyS@2 wrote
on Oct 1, 2008 8:11 PM

I love your info about schematic.  I have a sweater pattern by Jane Slicer Smith (Laura Jacket) which does not have a schematic.  Are you familiar with it?  It is difficult to knit without that.  I have emailed for a schematic, but it has been months and NO RESPONSE!   :o(  And there sits the yarn and pattern . . .

Vis_Major wrote
on Oct 1, 2008 5:18 PM

Great summary on finding fit, Sandi. This will be a very handy printed reference for me. Thanks! :-)

VeenaB wrote
on Oct 1, 2008 3:13 PM


I need some help with the summer shawlette.I cannot follow the instructions for the neckband. If possible can you send me an email  explaining the instrucions to me .I am anxious to start it.I tried to see if the blogs would be of any help but I didnot get any information about how to work the neckband.



ShawnW wrote
on Oct 1, 2008 3:02 PM

Sandi, Great post!  I have one question, though.  What if you think the neck-to-bust section of your sweater is too long in the pattern?  It's difficult to change this, because the sleeves connect in this area, so you'd have to adjust the sleeves as well.  Does it not matter if you take the extra length out of the underbust-to-waist section instead?

RebeccaP@2 wrote
on Oct 1, 2008 2:24 PM

Sandi - YOU ROCK!  I just wrote about this very topic yesterday when I completed the online survey (Who is KD...)  This was such a big help, especially as I am now starting a new cardigan.  Thanks again for all the time you put in and all the wonderful information.  And i love the idea of having comments added to IC galleries.  Thanks again!

SharonR@2 wrote
on Oct 1, 2008 2:22 PM


So . Many .Thanks. I am grateful- shal I say VERY grateful! Any mor tips along these line would be more than just appreciated. Yeah, I know I am over the top but I thing a lot of knitters don' have all the little pieces of advice and so we wander around in the darkness and through the wilderness hoping we will find the advise we need. You scored today!

MargaretS@7 wrote
on Oct 1, 2008 2:14 PM

Hi Sandi . . .  Do you know if anyone has worked out a more detailed version of Elizabeth Zimmerman's surprise jacket for adults, i.e, actual estimated yardages, # of stitches, # of rows, etc.?  And how it might be available, if so?  /Margaret

TamaraM wrote
on Oct 1, 2008 2:13 PM

Sandi, These posts are such a gold mine of valuable information, written in a clear, concise, pleasant way.  Thank you SO much for taking the time and energy to clear a way for us out of the tangle of information that designing/re-designing a sweater can be.

Tamara M.

East Randolph, VT