Step Away from the Sweater

Sometimes it is good to step away from a project for a while.   This past week I did just that from the sweater I am making for my grandson’s 1st birthday.  I had almost finished the back when I realized the measurements were off.  Frustrated, discouraged and mad at myself for not checking my gauge, I decided to set it aside for one week and then come back to the sweater with a fresh, clear mind. 

I am so glad I did!  With a clear thinking mind, sweater pattern, partially completed sweater and my book of many notes and measurements in hand, I sat and re-thought  the entire structure of the sweater.  By re-measuring what I had completed and knowing exactly what measurements would fit my soon to be one year old grandson, I realized I did not have to rip this sweater out and start over.  Let me explain.

Sweater Ease or the amount of space between the body and the garment.  The more the ease, the looser the fit.  That is a simplified definition, but you get the general idea.  The National Bureau of Standards has an excellent Body Measurement Table that is worth printing off.  It gives body measurements and sizes from birth to adult.  At the bottom of the page is an example of figuring out the amount of ease for different types of garments.   This same chart can be found many other places on the web and in books.  It has been around for eons.  Using their guideline to figure the amount of ease desired for your project is as simple as taking the body measurement and adding or subtracting a percentage to achieve the perfect fit.   

Body Hugging
minus 5-10%
Close fitting
plus 0-5%
Normal fitting
plus 7-10%
Loose fitting
plus 12-15%
Oversized
plus 16-20%

I’m making a 24 month or size 2 sweater.  The chest measurement for that size is 21″.  If I add 10% for a normal fitting sweater, the finished size would be 23″.  For a loose-fitting sweater, adding 15% the finished size would be 24″.  The pattern says 28 3/4″ which would be huge!  So, I’m o.k.  I do not have to rip out what I’ve started.  My measurements are 24 1/2″.  The sweater should fit just fine. 

As you can see, stepping away from a project can be beneficial, both to your state of mind and to the project.  Don’t step away for too long though, as then it becomes a UFO.  And, those are another story altogether!

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2 Responses to “Step Away from the Sweater”

  1. Janet Says:

    I’ve never quite had a good handle on ease and your post is very helpful. This helps explain the very strange fit of one of my first sweaters. 🙂

    • klccreations Says:

      I’m so glad I was able to help you understand a very complex issue. I just want you to know the rule isn’t written in stone. The type and weight of your yarn plays a factor also. Thanks for letting me know I was a help. This is one of the reasons I write a blog. Thank you. Happy Knitting!


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