Knitters and crocheters who are interested in knitting / crocheting baby sweaters need to know that there is no one set standard that everyone in the industry uses. A uniform sizing standard for knitted / crocheted baby clothes that is followed by knitting / crochet magazines, knitting / crochet book publishers, designers, and publishers of knitting / crochet leaflets does not exist. Each magazine, book publisher, leaflet publisher, designer, has its own in-house set of sizing numbers and they don’t agree from one to another. Some say a 3 month old baby’s chest size is 16 inches (40.5) cm. Others say it is 17 inches (43) cm. Still others say it is 18 inches (46) cm. So where do designers and publishers get their numbers from? A variety of sources: the British Standards Institution, for one, and which was last updated in 1982, Yarn Standards and Guidelines is another, The National Bureau of Standards Body Measurements, and ASTM Standards. By the way, one of the latter two was last updated in 1930. Somehow I don’t think body measurements taken during a Depression when there was little affordable food available qualifies to be called a standard. None of the standards found in any of these places agree on measurements. This is why a 3 month old baby has a chest size somewhere between 16 and 18 inches.
Some designers and publishers tend to favor the larger numbers in a size range. That means they begin with the assumption that the baby is on the bigger side of things and will design their garments accordingly. Some tend to size their garments smaller, starting with the assumption that the baby is on the smaller end of the size range. What this does to the knitter / crocheter is drive him / her nuts. In order to prevent this, I suggest you look at the schematics of the project before you begin. If they aren’t readily available look at the numbers the designer provides regarding Finished Chest Circumference. Decide whether these figures agree with what you think will fit the baby you are knitting / crocheting for. The important point here is that you, as the knitter / crocheter, need to have some idea of what an acceptable size range is for you. For that, you need to do some homework and research baby sizes. Don’t panic. I know everybody has enough to do.
I made up 5 schematics for babies from 3 months to 24 months old. Each schematic shows the variations in measurements that a knitter / crochet might find for that age. Click on the schematic to make it bigger. Print it out if you like. Use them to get an idea of the measurements you feel best fit the babies you knit / crochet for. Don’t expect that you won’t find sweater designs that are outside the range I’ve given. You probably will. But if you know what measurements you feel most comfortable with, you can then chose projects that don’t give you anxiety attacks.
I hope you find the schematics helpful. They are for the basic boxy sweater and I will explain more of why boxy sweaters are the dominate shape for baby sweaters in Wednesday’s post along with other things knitters and crocheters need to know before you pick up that pattern and are disappointed.