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Knit Basics: How to Pick Your Garment Size

20th January 2023 Garment Construction 5 min read
Knit Basics: How to Pick Your Garment Size

Sizing for garments can be very tricky, but there are a few quick ways you can pick the size you need to knit.

To do this, there are 3 things you need to do:

1. Measure Yourself

2. Check your Gauge

3. Match your body size to the garment size

1. Measure Yourself

You should start by measuring your bust size. Ideally, if you get someone to help you, which will ensure that your tape is straight.

Measure your bust at the fullest point without compressing, using a measuring tape in good condition over a lightweight top.

Other measurements you should take are:

  • Shoulder width
  • Waist Hips
  • Upper arm
  • Wrist 
  • Sleeve length

Tip: Remember to do a quick check that all your measurements are in the same unit i.e. cm or inches!

Patterns sizing are based on bust size, but you should also measure other body measurement so that you can compare them to the schematic in your pattern. Your actual, measured bust size is what you will use in the pattern to compare to the ‘To Fit Actual Bust Circumference Up To’ size.

2. Check Your Gauge

In order to knit a nice fitting garment you are happy with, you need to understand the materials you are working with, i.e. your needles, yarn, stitch pattern and finishing.

In short, you’ll need to do the following:

  1. Knit a 6”-8” gauge square in the pattern stitch.
  2.  Block the way you’ll block the finished garment. If you’re unsure how to do this, pop on over here.  
  3. Measure the stitch count and row gauge.
  4. Check against the pattern.

 If the gauge doesn’t match the pattern, try a different needle size or material. 

For an in-depth look at this process along with circular swatching and what to do when your gauge doesn’t match, the pattern pop over to this post.

3. Pick Your Size

Once you have measured yourself, you will need to pick your size. Our patterns show your ‘To Fit’ size, which is your body measurements and our ‘Finished Bust Circumference’, which is the size of the garment.

This size includes ‘ease’ which is how much bigger than your body the finished garment size will be.

Patterns usually give two sets of numbers or sizing,

E.g. S/M/L/XL or sizes 6 8 10 12...    


To fit bust size up to 32 (36,40,44, 48)” / 91.5 (101.5,112,122) cm  

See how the finished sizes are bigger than bust sizes, that’s ease!

So that's some basics of picking the size to knit to ensure that it fits!

This is just the beginning, though. As you progress with your knitting, you'll want to refine your fit more.

This will involve checking all of your body measurements and comparing them to your size in the schematics. 

If you'd love to learn more about these refinements, come check out our Vlog on Fitting Your Knits and our Masterclass Workshop.

Finally, if you'd like to read more on how to adjust a pattern for your body shape you can pop over to this post here.

Happy Knitting!

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About the Author

Carol Feller

Carol trained as a structural engineer, and she brings that love of analysing structure into her knitting, creating complex patterns that are easy to understand, while her approach to process is all about testing and playing, and making mistakes along the way. That’s where the joy lies!

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