Wednesday 6 July 2011

Where to Measure

The measurement we base all of our knitting patterns on is the measurement of the fullest part of your bust. Wrap a tape measure around your bust at it's largest point (it doesn't have anything to do with your bra size). On our sweater, ease is usually added onto this measurement for the Finished Chest Measurement of your sweater. Some sweaters are worked with negative ease so that the sweater around the chest is smaller than the person's actual body measurement.

For a better fit for your neck and shoulders the Upper Chest measurement (wrap a tape measure around your chest at the armpit level) is a better measurement to use, then add in some ease here too. That gives you a better Front/Back measurement which doesn't include your cup size on Front. But that would mean that you, the knitter, would have to accommodate your own bust and know how to do it. It does explain why sometimes negative ease sweaters look great because they fit in the neck and shoulders.

The question is: Can we use the bust measurement we are used to using in a better way?

How can we get the neck and shoulders to fit better while accommodating many bust sizes? What if you took the actual bust measurement we usually use and working Top Down, work the neck to underarm based on that number without any ease added on at all. Then added the amount of ease, say 3-4" worth, on the Front only.

My own measurements:  39" bust actual measurement
39" bust + 3" of ease = 42" Finished
Traditional method of width of Front/Back being equal:
Back 21" wide
Front 21" wide

New Method of Front/Back distribution:  39" bust + 3" of ease = 42" Finished
Back 19.5"  (half of 39")
Front  22.5"  (extra ease added between the underarm to largest part of bust)
The extra ease on the front can be decreased below the bust to give you a nicely shaped bodice.

This gives me a much slimmer Back and enough room on the Front so that the buttons on a cardigan won't gape. What do you think?


  1. Sounds like a great way to accommodate more "frontage". Keep in mind, though, that it is the style just now to wear sweaters with 0" of ease or even negative ease. A woman, even a large one, might want to have a difference in the front and back widths but at the same time choose a close-fitting size.

  2. Thanks for this Deb. I will pass this info along to my class. Two girls are making #602 Take It from the buttons though... but they both want ample room...

  3. My last look at blog posts before vacation tomorrow. I have never felt that I have too much fabric in the back. Maybe I better take a closer look to see for sure. It's worth a try this way to see the final effect.


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