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Measure twice, knit once

Oct 7, 2011

This illustration is from Laura Bryant and Barry Klein's Body Measurement Chart. They provide blank spaces for each of the measurements shown above—you'll be all set to knit any garment for yourself. I want to fill out one of these for each of the people I knit for, too!
Measuring yourself is never super fun (unless you've recently lost weight!), but knowing your measurements is essential to knitting sweaters that fit.

My knitting group got together a couple of years ago and had a measuring party—we buddied up and took each others' measurements and wrote them all down. We need to do that again since it's been awhile. Here's hoping my measurements have stayed the same or even gotten a tiny bit smaller!

After seeing episode 703 of Knitting Daily TV, I'm armed with lots of great information and tips to make the measurements more exact. Designers and authors Laura Bryant and Barry Klein join host Shay Pendray to share their tricks for taking accurate measurements, along with lots of info about that mysterious element: ease.

Laura measures and tries on several sweaters and demonstrates how positive ease (a garment that measures a little larger than a person's measurements) and negative ease (a garment that measures a little smaller than a person's measurements) affect how the garment looks.

It might be counter-intuitive, but the garment with negative ease is much more flattering. I love this visual evidence-so many of us make our sweaters too big! Once when my knitting group was trying on sweaters for one of the the Interweave Knits galleries, almost everyone thought a certain sweater wasn't going to fit them. When it did I could see the light bulbs go on—"I think I've been making my sweaters too big" was the quote of the evening.

Laura and Barry have made a handy chart available for download, too. It's from their book The New Knitter's Template, and it provides blank spaces for every measurement you'll ever need. Here's the clip from episode 703:

Did you know you can download individual episodes of Knitting Daily TV? Download episode 703 and organize a measuring party with your knitting group! You'll have a ball watching the episode and then measuring each other.


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Alyssa S. wrote
on Nov 12, 2011 6:07 PM

I find the measuring tips by Layra Bryant and Barry Klein very helpful. I especially appreciate the one about measuring armpit-to-armpit in the back instead of shoulder to shoulder. I can not tell you how many times I ended up with sweater shoulders too wide, dropping "off the shoulder" in spite of my trying to take that measurement very, very accurately! Thanks a lot. Thanks for the chart, too, it'll come handy.

Akushtal wrote
on Oct 12, 2011 9:17 AM

The above video did not work but another user posted the correct link in her comment. Thank you so much!

This video helped me so much and oddly enough not with my knitting, LOL. I've recently lost weight and I've had trouble buying clothes but because I watched this video I was able to see what Laura and Barry were talking about on myself. It turns out that I've gone down 2 shirt sizes and I've been wearing clothes that are way to big for me all along. It's amazing how a tiny thing like that can change how confident I feel about myself.

Making sure the sleeves hit the right part of the shoulder and there is not too much bulk around the bust are really important. Besides who really wants to feel uncomfortable while wearing clothing, I know I sure don't. Also finding tops that have an inch or two extra in the length make a big difference too. I don't like tops that ride up when I turn or stretch but I have to  make sure the top isn't too long  because then I'm swimming in it.

Well anyway thanks Knitting Daily for the great tips and when I finally decide to knit myself a sweater I'll keep all these measurements in mind. But in the mean time you just helped someone feel better about the clothes she's wearing and that means a ton.

kittygrrl23 wrote
on Oct 7, 2011 10:31 AM

For shelley, and others- here is the link to the mentioned video:

on Oct 7, 2011 10:25 AM

for whatever reason, every time I click on the forward button on the clip on how to measure for fit, I get a preview Knitting Daily TV episode 703.  While the preview is inviting (I like Eunny, she's pleasant and understandable) it's not the 7:52 clip indicated.

Can you help?  I have an iMac

Mshatbox wrote
on Oct 7, 2011 5:17 AM

I took Barry's class at stitches midwest and it was WELL worth it. I bought and it is a MUST read for ALL knitters! It is clear and concise.

The only measurement not included that I have added is shoulder to high bust. This is very important measurement to know where you add short rows for bust easy