Posts Tagged ‘grading’

What is the difference between sizes and grading? A size is usually based on the chest circumference if it is a sweater. Sizes for babies, with the exception of the 0-3 months to 6 months span, tend to jump up a size every six months. Standard sizes are 3 months, 6 months then it jumps to 12 months, and jumps another 6 to 18 and another 6 to 24.

The grading for sizes is uniform. The information can be found on any knitting or crochet schematic. Grading is the increments you increase a neck width, shoulder width, chest width, sleeve width, sleeve length, armhole depth, length from hem to armhole, total length of garment, waist, and hip from one size to the next size. The increments are usually pretty standard and are given in the schematic.

Read a schematic for a baby outfit and you will see that finished chest sizes for a 6 month old is always 2″ (5) cm larger than the 3 month size. If the sweater is a cardigan 1″ (2.5) cm difference in chest size between the 6 month and 12 month. Between the 12 and 18 month the chest size increases a half inch (1.25) cm. Between the 18 and 24 month size its another half inch (1.25) cm.

Neck widths start at 3 inches (7.5) cm for a 3 month old, increase a half inch (1.25) cm for size 6 months and doesn’t increase again until baby is 24 months when it is another half inch (1.25) cm larger at 4″ (10) cm.

Shoulder widths start at 2 inches (5) cm. The width remains the same for the 6 month size. Then the widths are graded a quarter inch (0.64) cm larger for sizes 12 and 18 months. The 24 month size is the same as the 18 month size 2.5″ (6.5) cm.

The armhole depth is graded in quarter inches (0.64) cm from 3.75″ (9.5) cm to 5″ 12.75) cm for each size.

Body length to underarm is graded 1″ greater (2.5) cm between 3 and 6 months. Then remains steady at a half inch (1.25) cm grade for 6 through 24.

Sleeve length is graded 1″ greater between all sizes.

Body width at shoulder also called the crossback is graded in increments of a half inch (1.25) cm.

Again, all the increments are on the schematic. It is just a matter of subtracting the larger number from the smaller number to see their grading.

Read a lot of schematics and create a grading resource for yourself. Collect enough numbers to make a grading guideline you feel is best for the clothes you are designing.

Finding information on how to grade children’s clothes and adult clothes is done the same way. Research, collect the numbers, find out how they work together and make them your own.

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One thing that grieves me is seeing people search for a simple answer and have it elude them. In their search they often pay lots of money for information they can get for less. Such is the circumstance with people who want to try designing a knit and think they have to spend a ton of money to acquire the keys to the knitting kingdom of design.

The keys, are the “magical” numbers that govern the proportions of each size. If your a knitter or crocheter, chances are you already own those keys. They are inside every professional knitting pattern you have in the form of books or magazines. They are also in the patterns you have from quality online magazines like Twist Collective or Brooklyn Tweed’s Wool People.

Every pattern by every designer, publishing house or yarn company holds a wealth of information. As a designer-to-be, you want to collect and cull that information. To do this all you need is paper and pencil, or your computer.

Let’s say it’s you’ve designed a sweater. The creative part is done, you have your sketch and it’s time to fill in the numbers.

Out of the patterns all your patterns select 4 to 5 that closely resemble your sweater sketch in silhouette, length, neckline, as well as sleeve lengths and shape. Right now you’re collecting information. On your computer or a piece of paper write one sweater size at the top of the page. Working with one size for now, makes it easier to grade the other sizes. Make six columns if you have five samples, five columns if you have 4 samples. At the top of the columns list either the designer’s name, magazine, or whatever will help you identify the source of your samples. On the last column write your name because this is the column that will hold all the numbers you need for your design.

To create a garment, size and grade it correctly, it helps to deconstruct it first. Part of the keys to the design kingdom is knowing all the individual parts and their measurements and then fitting them back into a whole. On the left hand side of the columns you made add another one that says Measurements. Write down the following: Chest width actual, Chest width finished, back width, front width, waist width, hip width, cross back, armhole depth, cast on to beginning of armhole length, shoulder to hem length, neck width, neck depth, shoulder width, sleeve length, wrist width, upper arm width, back of neck to waist length.

How we collect the numbers next time.

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Many years ago I lived in Italy for a bit. This weekend’s travel into the crochet world reminded me of that daunting first week in an unfamiliar country with language and customs I had yet to learn.

The visual difference between where I had lived and Italy was exciting and terrifying at the same time. Working with crochet was like that. The fabric it produces was exciting to see, the getting there involved a lot of uncertainty with a slight feeling of terror at the end and beginning of each row trying to figure out where to insert the hook, what was the top of the turning chain from the previous row, whether to turn and then chain or chain and then turn. Identifying the correct place to insert the hook to begin the next row was always a moment of doubt. It reminded me of the first time I ventured out into my new Italian environs without my trusty map, wondering if I could get from my new home to point B and then back again without getting hopelessly lost.

The language was exotic too. No matter how long I had studied Italian, being surrounded by it and not having the security of my native English to fall back on if I wasn’t understood, was a different kettle of fish. When people spoke to me, it took me time to process what I thought was being said and more time to construct what I hoped was an answer with all the right words. Communication wasn’t spontaneous and rhythmic. The same was true with my foray into crochet. The letters dc in the crochet pattern gave me nothing but fits as I kept reading it as decrease and not double crochet. Instruction after instruction needed to be read from the beginning more than once for my mind to edit decrease to double crochet. There was talk of chains, not stitches, meshes and loops 5 of which together meant 1″ (2.5) cm. Yes, the gauge of the pattern was not in stitches, nor in chains, but in meshes and loops.

Quanto costa? How much is this? At the time Italy used the Lire. 5,000, 10,000. The figures initially were shocking until I worked the conversion from Lire to dollars in my head. Meshes and loops posed the same difficulty only I had nothing to convert them to to help understand.

I completed the work on the crochet project. Three others were waiting to be done. I had to say I couldn’t work on them. I can’t give over the time it would take to delve into the new land of crochet and survive. A certain sadness accompanied the decision because all the projects were lovely and I knew I wasn’t just closing the door on grading them, I was closing it on ever making them too.

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At the moment I have a number of vintage crochet patterns that need grading. No not the kind of A, B, C, grades one gets in school, rather it’s sizing them to fit current measurement standards. So how do I go about grading vintage patterns when, as we all know, no actually true sizing standard exists? Lots of research.

While I am easily familiar with baby and children’s sizes I am not so with women’s sizes. I can look at rows and rows of figures for children and pick out which ones are out of sync by eye. Not so with adult sizes. Having worked so long with small people’s dimensions, the world of adult sizes all look so…big.

I feel like my little seven year old self who, when going clothes shopping with my Nana in the “big” stores, sensed exactly how small I was in the scheme of things. Along with that sense of smallness came the attendant feelings of awe and fear. I remember that when it all became too overwhelming for me, I hid in the middle of circular racks of clothing. My Grandmother would search the various racks until she found the two stick thin legs ending in scuffed and torn sneakers sticking out from the bottom of the rack below the clothes. I always felt a sense of rescue at that point. She had finished shopping and I knew I’d be whisked back to her car, driven away from the store and returned to my smaller world.

Unfortunately, today I don’t have a circular clothing rack to hide in. I have considered my closet, but the amount of things I’d need to “rearrange” to fit myself in there and close the door is daunting. Today there really is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Being an adult is like that.

I have one gem of information to share from my foray into the world of adult sizes: Bust size is not chest size. The bust measurement taken at the fullest part of the bust is just that. To find a woman’s chest size the measurement is taken with tape measure wrapped around the chest under the bust. It is the chest measurement taken from under the breasts that decided bra size. The difference between the bust size and chest size determines the cup size of the bra. A 4″ difference is a D cup, 3″ is a C cup, 2″ is a B cup, and 1″ is an A cup.

Why is the chest size important? Divide the number in half and it’s close to the crossback measurement. So for those women who don’t have someone to measure crossback try measuring the chest and dividing it in half. Subtract an inch or half an inch and viola! crossback measurement.

And now I am going to look for a clothing rack work on sizing these patterns.

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