So, you want to knit your own garment? 

The first thing that we need to determine is your size, then it is what size do you want to knit? So let’s start with looking at the measurements on the pattern. In the Purl &Jane patterns you’ll find all the measurements you need. I included suggested size and actual size. Some other designers don’t put suggested size on any more, but I still do, I find it’s a familiar starting point for some knitters. Then underneath this suggested size that is the actual size. The actual size, according to the tension, is the one that we want to go for. If you are new to all this I suggest ignoring the suggested size and just look at the actual measurements.

Now that seems straightforward, easy. Actual sizes, get it, let’s go knit that! Not quite we still have a few more things to do to get this right for you. 

So I will show the pattern to a knitter and if it’s a new knitter who’s never done this before, this is where it starts to get a bit scary because knitting the correct size is something that can feel a bit daunting or even if it’s not a new knitter, it’s someone that’s knitted before and they have knitted a garment and it’s not fitted, it’s been too tight or too loose, it’s the stumbling block to knitting your own garment. 

There are many different reasons why a knitted garment doesn’t fit as you wanted. The first one that we need to start with, is to know your size, not the size of the garment but *your* size. Now for people with breasts who wear bras, you may be thinking, ‘I know my size, I wear a 36C bra so I’m a 36.’ Well – no, sorry, no. Your 36 (and this is only going to make sense to people who wear bras but I will come on to people who don’t wear bras) is only your measurement underneath, that’s where the 36 comes from. It’s not the widest part of you. Sorry to be rude! But we’re looking for the widest part. I don’t know what other word to use – the widest part of you is beautiful. 

So if you have knitted a garment and it’s been too tight, and you wear a bra, it might be because you’re going on your bra size. 

So what we need to know is your widest part not the underneath bit. So, if you don’t wear a bra, and you have a chest, you probably know where this is. The widest part is usually over your nipples. So this is your exact measurement, this is a good starting point. But what is the measurement of the garment you wear? This might be surprising!

The next stage then is to get a garment from your wardrobe, I’ve chosen a t-shirt. Find one that is a similar fit to the garment you want to knit.
For this example, let’s say we want a fitted garment so the t-shirt I have chosen is fitted too, so I want to know the actual measurement of this t-shirt.
You might find that you know the measurement of you, and then you’ll be like, ‘Well my measurement is 36 inches, I want it tight fitted, so I will knit ‘actual measurement’ 36 inches.’ I’ve used inches here but this is where I switch over because when I’m talking bust sizes and chest sizes I’m in inches and then length and everything else I’m in centimetres so sorry about that, I hope that’s ok with everyone! 

How do you measure your t-shirt or chosen garment?

You measure an inch down from underneath the armhole, then from there measure across the garment. Not around, just across. Find out what that measurement is, times it by two, and see what it’s closest to on the pattern.
This is where I’m going to swap over to centimetres because for this example the t-shirt is 43cm.
43cm is one side, we need the circumference so we multiple 43cm by two to find the total measurement of 86cm.

We will then look at the pattern measurements and hope that there is the same measurement on there so we are good to go. However usually what can happen is the measurement is between two sizes. Then we have to decide whether we want that top to be fitted – so a bit of negative ease – or a little bit of space around, positive ease. 

This totally depends on the garment you are knitting. 

If I wanted to knit a jumper with a drop shoulder. I wouldn’t take a t-shirt to find out the measurements, I would find something from my wardrobe – or the wardrobe of the person I’m making for – which is also loose fitting to see what they like wearing as a drop shoulder garment. 

Then I’d do the same as I’ve just explained, I’d measure an inch underneath the armholes and see what that measurement is.
And if the thought of knowing your actual measurement isn’t something you’d like to know, you don’t even need to measure yourself, just measure a garment in your wardrobe that is similar to the one you want to knit and then that will get the right size for you. 

This is important because there isn’t a standard size anymore. I get people who come in who say ‘Oh I’m a size 16’ and this is based on high street sizing.

That doesn’t really exist anymore because in one shop you could be a size 16 and in another size 12 and in another size 14. 

And those measurements vary depending on the style of the item.  In one shop you can wear a very baggy size XS and in another a very tight L. 

This is why knitting your own garment means you can get the size right for you. It does involve some preparation but it is totally worth it, because you are worth it to quote that commercial! 

So it’s looking at the individual patterns and the individual styles of each of those patterns. 

Now I appreciate that this can seem a little bit scary. I’m here to help so if you are local to Skipton, pop into the studio I can help you, there’s no problem with that I just need those measurements of garments. You don’t have to tell me your own measurements, just the measurements of the garments in your wardrobe and we can work it out from there or if you can’t get ot Skipton then you can email.

We don’t need size 16, 14, 8 or whatever, we just need a measurement of the garment that’s similar to the one you want to knit. 

First step, done!

Article by Jane