Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? And well you should not. For my ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is.
Leigh Brackett, screenwriter
Said by Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back
Would there were such a thing as “the Force” in knitting and size didn’t matter. But there isn’t and in knitting size does matter. Sorry about that Yoda.
I thought I’d share with you the information I have gathered regarding baby sizes. Please keep in mind that the numbers given here are for average baby sizes. Babies, like adults, tend to be their own little people and may not be average sized. They may be smaller or bigger than the average size for their age. How then do you choose the right garment size for a little one? Babies grow. Select a size larger, one that they can grow into.
Some of the measurements I use can be found at yarnstandards.com. It gives all kinds of standards and guidelines for both knitting and crochet. It’s an interesting site.
The most important measurement in any garment is the bust/chest. When constructing sweaters for children and adults you use the chest measurement to figure the cross-shoulder width which affects shoulder shaping and sleeve construction. The chest measurement really tells how the sweater will fit. In the instance of the baby sweater I am designing and knitting the fit is loose.
The average chest sizes for babies range from 16 in / 40.5 cm to 20 in / 50.5 cm. These numbers reflect the total circumference of the chest. In order to get front and back figures divide the total circumference of the chest by 2.
Total chest circumference:
3 months old: 16 in / 40.5 cm
6 mos: 17 / 45
12 mos: 18 / 45.5
Remember to divide the chest circumference in half to get the front and back width. Once you have the width add about 2 inches to cover seaming and ease. Baby sweaters should fit rather loosely. A loose fitting sweater helps when it comes to dressing the baby. It also gives the baby freedom of movement of arms and body with no constriction.
The sweater I am making takes its numbers from the measurements for an average 12 month old. In reality it can probably fit a size range of a large 6 month old up to a small 18 month old.
Total chest 18 inches . Divided in half: 9 inches wide each back and front. I added 2 inches to the 9 for 11 inches. My front and back widths are 11 inches each. Once the front and back of the garment is seamed I will lose anywhere from 1/2 in /1.25cm to 1 in/ 2.5 cm bringing the total circumference closer to 20 in / 50.5.
The neck opening for the baby sweater needs to be wide. I don’t want anything that’s tight fitting around a baby’s neck. I also want to be able to get the baby’s head through the neck opening. Most babies have heads that are bigger than their bodies.
After researching neck widths these are the figures I feel comfortable with and use in designing my baby sweaters:
3 mos: 4.25 in / 10.6 cm
6 mos: 4.75 / 11.9
12 mos: 5 / 10.5 cm
Even with the generous neckline widths I am going to leave a portion of the left shoulder from the neck towards the shoulder open and close it up with buttons to further widen the neckline during dressing.
The front depth of the neckline is 2 inches / 5 cm. There will be slight shaping at the back of the neck to a depth of 1/2 inch / 1.25 cm.
On this particular schematic I have the sizes and general shapes. I am going to create a second, more in-depth schematic. Included in the second one will be size and shape along with stitch decreases and stitch information for sizes 3 mos to 12 mos. The second schematic will be included in the pattern I am writing.
Tomorrow I will talk about sleeves and sleeve lengths for the baby sweater.