Archive for August 23rd, 2014

Sizes in Knitting and Crochet

Last thing I said about this topic was to collect 4 or 5 different patterns of the same sweater shape and in the same size range you are interested in knitting or crocheting for. I went through how to divide up a piece of paper to accept the information.

Next step is to look at the schematics and plug in the numbers regarding, chest, length, shoulder width, etc. Once all the numbers are on the paper take a good look at them. Select a size and look at the numbers for neck width, shoulder width, arm hole depth, etc., across the five patterns selected. Do the numbers all agree? The answer is usually no. That’s because each designer, publishing house and magazine has its own set of numbers regarding sizes. It’s also why you can take 5 different jeans into a dressing room, all in your size, and get wildly different fits. A crucial step in being an independent designer for knits and crochet is to collect enough measurement information on the sizes you are interested in designing for and develop your own set of numbers.

I deal mostly with baby sizes from 3 to 24 months. Through research I came up with my own in-house numbers for this design range. I did it by listening to what knitters said about the baby clothes they were making from various designers, magazines and publishers. Ravelry is a great resource for this kind of research. Most of the comments these various knitters made were the same about the 5 specific designers, magazines and publishers I targeted. One was notorious for sizing the clothes too big, another for being too small, sleeves were too long or too small, sweater widths too small or too wide. No matter who the knitter was, or what the garment was, the comments were the same about the specific designer, magazine or publisher.

Next I looked for information on baby measurements. How large is a 3 month old’s chest? For this information I went to the UK Sizing industry. After having read time and again that the Craft Yarn Council’s basic numbers ran too small and the ASTM standards were not the answer either, I dug around the web and came up with the British Standards which seemed to me to make more sense when I considered all the numbers I had collected. I was hoping to find the Goldilocks zone of sizing clothing. But it doesn’t exist. So I created my own in-house numbers that I feel comfortable designing around.

A 3 month old chest can run from 16″ (41) cm to 18″ (46) cm by industry standards. After spending several months measuring 0-3 month olds shopping with their moms in the supermarket—yes it takes a certain amount of desperation to walk up to a woman by the broccoli and quickly explain why I want to measure her child and ask for permission—I found that 17″ (43) cm was what I usually got. So for me, my in-house number for a 3 month old starts at assuming the chest is 17″ (43) cm in circumference.

In my food shopping travels I had a lot of success in finding 6 month olds and 12 month olds and they were measured too. When I researched more, I found that there is not a big difference between 6 and 9 month olds. The 9 month olds either fit the 6 size or they morph right into a 12 month size.

When I looked at the numbers I had collected it was clear to me what were the middle of the road figures. I began devouring schematics like they were great novels. I learned that some sizing differences occur because of the yarn weight. The heavier the yarn the bigger the measurement. If I regularly have an armhole depth of 4″ (10) cm for fingering weight yarns, and I’m working in Aran weight that’s going to become more like 4.25 (11) cm or 4.5 (11.5) cm for a sweater that fits over clothing.

When shopping in clothing stores, I don’t hesitate to go to the children’s section, take out my tape measure and jot down sizing info. I am currently researching sizes 2T to 6 years. The point is there are many ways to collect sizing information if you are really interested in designing. It takes a certain touch of insanity and desperation for information to zip out a tape measure in public, but if you really have the designing bug, only the first two times will make you squirm. After that, you don’t think twice about pulling out a tape measure.

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