Crochet Solutions 101
Designer Jill Hanratty shares some tips on choosing the correct pattern size.
Here are some tips on crocheting garments to fit and flatter.
Q: I have sometimes been disappointed in the fit of sweaters I have crocheted, even though I thought I chose the right size. How can I be sure to choose the size that will fit?
A: Knowing your own measurements is your first step. The style and function of the sweater you intend to make should be your next consideration. The difference between body measurements and finished measurements is the amount of ease included in the finished garment. Wearing ease allows movement in the garment, and design ease accommodates the style of the garment. A cardigan or pullover made to be worn over something else will have larger dimensions— or greater design ease— than a snug- fitting pullover, which may have wearing ease that amounts to little or no ease, or even negative ease.
Keeping in mind how you plan to wear the sweater, check your wardrobe for something similar and use that for comparison. Naturally, the closer in style your garment is to the sweater you plan to make the better, but as long as the function is similar, you will be in the right neighborhood. Take measurements to correspond with the measurements provided on the schematic. Draw your own schematic and record the measurements. This is for your use, so it does not matter if your drawing is imperfect! Pay attention to how you like the fit of this garment. Is it perfect? Do you love the fit but wish the length was different, or that the sleeves were longer or shorter? Would you prefer it to be looser or closer- fitting? Make notes on your drawing regarding the fit and hold on to it for future reference. In addition to notes, include the date so you will know to allow for any changes your body may undergo in the interim between making the drawing and using it again for future crochet garments.
Now compare the measurements you have recorded to the measurements provided on the schematic accompanying the pattern you will use. Taking into account any changes you might like to make to your existing garment, choose the set of measurements that is closest and use the corresponding size. However, if … (see next question).
Q: The dimensions of the garment I measured are in between measurements given on the schematic. Should I size up or down?
A: When you compare measurements, if they fall between finished measurements for the crocheted garment, there are a few things to consider. Looking at how the sweater fits the model can give you some guidance. However, rather than relying solely on the photo, you should once again think about how you want to wear your new sweater and look at the notes you made on your schematic. Is the sweater you plan to make supposed to have a fair amount of ease? Choose the larger size. Is it a fitted sweater? Choose the smaller size. Think about how you like things to fit. If you like a silhouette that hugs the body, the smaller size might work; if you prefer to have things fit loosely, the larger size should be right. However, the phrases “might work” and “should be right” sound too iffy once you have come this far! This is the point at which making a swatch will help you decide.
How much stretch does the swatch have? If it has a lot of give and you like a close fit, you can choose the smaller size; if there is little or no give, choose the larger size. In making this determination, you should also keep in mind the