It Fits: Size XS to 5XL

In the last couple years, I’ve been growing in my knowledge of creating a knitting pattern that will fit all the included sizes consistently the same way. This article shares points I’ve learned.

Hello everyone!

When you purchase a knitting pattern, likely, you pick the size that best correlates to your body measurements, or the special person’s measurements you are knitting for.

After getting the materials needed, you spend weeks, or maybe months, knitting this masterpiece with high expectations that it will fit as you achieved the pattern’s gauge and are following the instructions with no major modifications.

Knitters put much faith into patterns from designers.

Many of us would probably hesitate to dedicate a portion of our money and time to go on a trip with someone we may not know well even though the trip may be fun with a beautiful view at the end.

In a way, we do this when purchasing a pattern and yarn as we join a designer on a hopefully enjoyable journey and have a beautiful piece of clothing in our hands at the end.

While examining a knitting pattern in tech editing or while designing, I strive to verify knitters will achieve a garment or accessory that fits them and looks as planned for every size included.

Size Charts

If I want to design a knitting pattern for all my knitting friends of different shapes and sizes, for the best fit, I can take all their body measurements and create a custom size for each one.

Unfortunately, if I have a lot of knitting friends, this will create a confusing number of sizes for a knitter to process in a pattern yet exclude sizes of other interested knitters.

Size charts to the rescue!

Size charts are average body measurements for a range of sizes that are used to create the sizes of a pattern.

Size charts are available in books, on the internet, and I can even create one myself.

Since a designer bases all the sizes of their design on a size chart, picking a size chart should be done with care.

My Current Favorite Size Charts

Planned Finished Measurements Before Designing Will Not Necessarily be the Finished Measurements After Designing

Using size charts and ease (the amount of fabric that is added or subtracted to/from body measurements), often, knitwear designers come up with their finished measurements for their design early on.

In the hills and valleys of increases and decreases, adjusting stitch counts, and more to calculate all a knitter needs to knit up an item like the designer’s, the final finished measurements may have shifted from that original list.

Adding up the stitch and row counts and dividing them by the given gauge in areas of a garment or accessory pattern (armhole depths, chest circumference, upper arm circumference, etc.), can reveal where the fit has changed from the designer’s original intentions.

Notifying designers of these changes so the pattern document can be updated with accurate finished measurements is crucial to making sure knitters will get the right fit.

All Bodies Don’t “Grow” in the Same Way

Bodies come in all sorts of shapes.

I don’t need to know all the different classified body shapes, hourglass, pear, etc., but I do need to imagine how a knitting design will fit on different shaped bodies.

For example, I may have a summer top design. This top pattern may include waist shaping. This design will look great on someone whose waist is smaller than their hips and chest measurements.

By including the waist shaping as optional, I’m allowing a knitter with a waist wider than their hips or chest to knit my pattern and have it fit.

Human Bodies Don’t “Grow” at the Same Rate in All Parts

Say I put on a lot of weight in a year. I go up two sizes. My chest measurement increases by inches, but my wrist circumference stays the same.

This important fact had never crossed my mind until I began tech editing.

The human body does not get larger and smaller at the same rate in every part.

There are a few locations of the body that I am extra careful to look into a design’s finished measurements.

Parts of a Garment Design that are Often Graded to Larger Measurements

  • Cross Back Width
  • Wrist Circumference
  • Arm Length

Beware of Disproportional Stitch Patterns Across Sizes

It’s amazing how different a stitch pattern can look on a knitted garment or accessory within a range of sizes.

Let’s imagine I want to design a knitting pattern for a worsted weight vest with a lace panel running down the front of the vest. I’ve decided to include sizes from 28 inches chest circumference up to 70 inches bust circumference. The front of the vest is 16 inches wide for the 28 inches chest and 37 inches wide for the 70 inches chest. The lace panel is 5 inches wide. If I don’t adjust the lace panel stitch pattern for the larger sizes, the smaller size will have the lace panel covering close to 1/3 of the vest’s front while the larger size will have the lace panel covering closer to 1/10 of the vest’s front.

Visually, almost anyone will notice there is a difference.

I’ve learned how different a stitch pattern can appear across a large range of sizes.

Working with designers to innovate on how we can make the finished knits from multiple sizes look as harmonious as possible is an important endeavor.


From one knitter to another, I hope this article clearly shared points I’ve learned concerning getting a great fit and design.

One thing I enjoy about the knitwear design process is the opportunity it presents to do more than create a pattern for clothing of our imagination using one of our favorite skills.

Knitwear design is an opportunity to find solutions that meet different body’s needs in sizing and shapes.

Then, the benefit from that solution can be extended to as many knitters as possible.

What solutions can your next knitwear pattern solve?

Have a blessed day, friends! I will be back with more to share soon.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: