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  • ALittleBitSheepish

To get the best fit from the clothing you make you need to know what size you (or the person you are making for) are. And for preference you need to know all the measurements that relate to what you are making; not just the bust/chest measurement (see the last post for chat about how we differ from averages). You can skip foot measurements if you are making a sweater!

Once you know your measurements you can compare them to the pattern and choose which size will be best for you, and maybe add some adjustments for a better fit (more on that in later posts).

Now, I get that this can sometimes feel uncomfortable, but badly fitting clothing can be worse. So that tape measure is going to have to come out.

The things you will need:

  • A good quality tape measure, honestly, cheap ones can be noticeably off. It is also worth checking it occasionally as they can stretch out and be reading incorrectly.

  • A helpful friend, partner, family member (not the dog). It is almost impossible to get true measurements of yourself- the tape slips, or sits wonky, or as you bend to get the tape in position bits of you move and distort the measurement.

  • Something to write on, because we all think we will remember but honestly don’t.

  • A list of the measurements you need. Or maybe while you have the tape measure and the friend handy, ask them to take all your measurements so you have them for the next project. Remember to update occasionally them though.

  • Yourself in whatever you would usually wear under the item you are making (side note, if you wear a bra, and haven’t recently had a fitting, it is worth getting that done).

Download the sheet from this page for a list of the measurements to take.

Tip- Hold the tape measure snug against the body part to be measured, but not tight to avoid incorrect measurements.

If you are really stuck for getting measurements you can make use of the clothing you already have. If you have a similar style item that fits just the way you want your new knit to then you can lay it out flat and measure. Remember to compare these numbers with finished measurements in the pattern, rather than “to fit” body measurements.

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  • ALittleBitSheepish

Simply put, because you are most likely not average. In all honesty almost no one is, it is kind of the point of an “average”; you take all the data, add it up, divide by how much there was and tada! A figure somewhere around the middle that suits everyone kind of, some better than others and some hardly at all.

There is a little bit of differentiation, clothing sizes pop us into bands where we hope that because we have a 38” bust the shoulders, arms and waist will all fit the average proportions. Again, chances are they don’t but in most cases they are kind of close enough to live with.

So, for me, if I take the typical sizing for my bust measurement (because that is what many patterns use as the measurement to base your size choice on), here’s a few of the ways I differ from the averages that are going to mean a standard sweater will probably not fit (side note- these are literally based on how my numbers differ from the published averages, no body criticism here):

  • I am short - shoulder to waist/hips/hem are likely to be too long

  • With wide shoulders - sleeves may pinch into the underarm if the shoulders are too narrow.

  • Larger than average bicep measurement (this is usually the killer for commercial clothes) - sleeves are often snug in a way I don't like, this can cause underarm pinching too.

  • Relatively small waist - need to bring the fabric in to avoid it looking too baggy, but prefer it not too tight over the tum!

Your list will be different, but most of us vary from the averages in some way. It will change over time as well, bodies do that.

The advantage of making our own is that we can adjust the patterns to get a better fit.

So, coming up, some posts that will hopefully help you to get a better fit from your knits (sweaters to start with, but applies to others). We will talk measuring, gauge, ease and adjustments for fabulous fit.

Have a think about what you have found fits well in patterns you have made, and what you might like to adjust the next time you are working on a project.

Pattern shown "Ink" vest, worked from the shoulders down with plenty of armhole room, all over textured rib and a slightly cropped length.

Available on Ravelry, Payhip or Lovecrafts.

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  • ALittleBitSheepish

One of the great things about making your own clothes (whether knitting, crochet, sewing, weaving....) is that you can make them just how you want them to be. There are loads of ways you can have fun playing with your project, you don’t have to stick with what the pattern shows, although you can if you chose to (because it is all about your choice!).

There are lots of ways you can tweak a pattern to make it just how you want it to be, they range from super simple to needing a little more skill.

How about trying some of these:

Play with colour- use a different colour, or blocks of colour, or stripes, or a fade from one colour to another

  • Using a different yarn – opt for a similar weight (thickness) to avoid issues with the pattern maths. It is worth thinking about how the fibres behave, for example alpaca is drapey whereas wool has bounce.

  • Add a colourwork edging/motif

  • Change lengths- sleeves and hemline

  • Add shaping- waist shaping, bust darts & short rows can all help you make the best fitting item

  • Change the edging- make it wider, stitch to a different stitch

  • Add details- a lace panel, stitch pattern or cable from a second pattern

  • A different neckline

  • Making socks- switch the heel and toe to a style you prefer

I like to add shaping to sweaters for great fit (more on that i) and work socks top down with a heel flap (although I have been working short row heels recently).

Do you have a favourite pattern mod?

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