My 3 Step Method for Adjusting Pattern Sizing for Your Body Shape.

Do you have problems adjusting a garment for yourself? You’re not alone, in fact, when you are knitting a garment for yourself you will almost always have to make some adjustments from the pattern to fit your shape.

Patterns are written to fit a standard set of body dimensions but we are all unique so everyone will have some tweaking to do to get the perfect fit.

In today’s post, I’m going to walk you through adjusting a pattern for your body shape so that you can have the garment that fits and flatters you.

Standard Body Measurements

Step 1. It’s all about dimensions.

To start with you will want to take your body dimensions in all the locations that are relevant to the pattern. This is easiest if you get a friend to help you out as that way you can ensure that the tape is straight! If you’re unsure how to take your measurements, I have a blog post on knowing your shape here.

I’ll start with an imaginary person to give you an idea of how it would work. The knitted piece you want to adjust should be very simple for this to be done easily, ideally in st st.

Next, I’m going to give you an idea of how to take ‘ease’ into consideration and then how to convert the final size you want in different places to the pattern size you’re looking for. The most important piece of information we now need is gauge along with your measurements.

Gauge: 5 sts and 8 rows = inch.

Person’s Measurements:

Bust: 35 Inches

Waist: 30 Inches

Hips: 36 Inches

Shoulder to mid-waist: 16 Inches

Slateford Cardigan with waist shaping

Step 2. Add Ease

You now need to decide how much ease you want at each point. This will depend on the style of the knit, your own personal preference, and the weight/patterning of the knit.

This is easily the hardest part and where we loose most people so let’s take this slowly together:

Let’s assume for this situation we want 2 inches of ease at each point, this means that our finished measurements needed will be:

  1. Bust: 35 +2 = 37 Inches

Convert this to stitches:

New bust measurement x Gauge stitches i.e.

37×5=185 stitches. Let’s make it 186 stitches for even number.

2. We now do this for the waist following a similar manner:

Waist: 30 inches +2 inches = 32 Inches (New waist measurement with 2 inches positive ease)

Convert this to stitches:

32 (new waist measurement) x 5 (stitch gauge) = 160 stitches

3. And so on for the Hips:

36 +2 = 38 Inches

38 inches x 5 sts = 190 stitches

4. Moving to Shoulder to mid-waist:

Measurement is 16 Inches

NOTE: This has no ease, it is the exact length.

What we do need to know for adding increases and decrease though is how many rows that is:

16 inches x 8 sts (row gauge) = 128 rows.

And there you have it. That’s all the information we need and now we can move on by adding this new information to our pattern.

Pecan Crush cardigan with raglan shaping

Step 3. Add to your Pattern

Now, what you will need to do if you are combining this with a pattern is view the schematic and match the bust/waist and hips to the closest stitch count on the graphic.

If one or two numbers match but the third one has a big difference you will need to alter the increases and decreases so that it comes closer to your size.

If the pattern has set-in sleeves you should also take the shoulder width into consideration, even adjust the bust if necessary so that the shoulders fit your shoulder width comfortably.

If you’ve done a KAL with me before there are hints and tips given with this modification to help you with fit. These techniques can then be used to help you convert any future pattern you work on.

You can always find information on our currnet KAL here.

And there you have it. My three-step method to adjusting a pattern for fit. I hope this helps!

If you’d like to learn more about fit then you can take a look at my Masterclass on Fitting Your Knits or you can see my full list of online classes here.

6 thoughts on “My 3 Step Method for Adjusting Pattern Sizing for Your Body Shape.

  1. Your designs are so beautiful. I have a question about close fitting knits like your olive and blue stripe raglan above. See the little tuck at the bottom of the arm? How does one get rid of that? I know knitting with plenty of ease does it, but is there a way in a close fit garment? I’ve seen this in all types of construction, including set in sleeves. I think the answer involves a complicated and very personal set of short rows, or just living with it. I mean I think it can be done, but I don’t think a designer could just account for it in a pattern because each person would have to do something different.
    Do you know how to eliminate it? Am I right that it’s complicated?
    Thank you for being brilliant and sharing it with us.

  2. A slightly deeper yoke should help this or slightly more ease. If the yoke was a little deeper or there was more positive ease at the bust it would help it all sit a little lower.
    It is something that crops up with raglan and circular yokes frequently though!

  3. Thank you. That was really clear. I have been on courses about adjusting patterns and learnt lots but still been confused about how to alter my patterns to fit. I can do it but it is more by luck than good number work. I will be saving this page for future reference.

  4. Dear Carol,

    Thank you so very much for this information. I have been trying to figure out how I can make a knit pattern that I love, be even better. I believe that now I have what it will take to make the changes needed.

    Have a great day… KNITTING!!!

    Your friend, MJ, the SKEINdinavian

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