Fit Your Knits


When it comes to sewing, most people expect to make a few alterations to get the perfect fit. Knitting offers a bit more wiggle room because of the nature of knit fabric, but there are many instances where you might need to customize the fit to get a good looking sweater. Shaping, especially front darts, might need to get moved around, or you might need to add extra fabric using short rows to accommodate a fuller bust, a round belly, or rounded shoulders. I get a lot of questions about modifying my patterns to get a custom fit, but that’s outside the realm of pattern support, so I usually try to recommend a book or two that I know covers that information. I almost always recommended different books for different fit issues because I hadn’t found a book that covers a wide range of fit issues that also has a positive attitude towards bodies. Books like that are easy to find for sewing, but I didn’t have one for knitting.

So I decided to look for the perfect book on fitting your knits. I asked around on Twitter and picked up a few of the recommended books, but they weren’t quite what I was looking for. Next I went with what I found through Google and Amazon searches. I still didn’t find what I was looking for. At this point I don’t think my ideal fit book exists. Although most of the books I looked at covered full bust adjustments and length alterations, very few covered much more than that. Very few contained information on alterations for narrow shoulders or broad shoulders. Very few contained information on alterations for round bellies and rounded shoulders. Very few contained information on altering sleeves and sleeve caps for large upper arms. It was both surprising and disappointing.

What I did find is that a lot of these books contained useful information, just not necessarily the information I was looking for. I decided to add in a few from my collection and share what all of these books have to offer. Every Tuesday this month (or until I run out of books) I’ll be talking about books that discuss fit or have “Fit” or “Custom” in the title. I’ll share what kind of fitting information is included, how much of the book is about fit modifications, and what the book is most useful for. If there are any books that you’d like me to include, please let me know!






16 responses to “Fit Your Knits”

  1. What an awesome idea for a blog series. I have a lot of these books too and for awhile I thought I’d make it a project to go through and figure out what they covered re: fitting your knits, then slap post-it notes on the covers so I could quickly pull the one I needed, when I needed it. I’m going to look through my library and see what others you can use!

  2. Ysolda’s little red in the city does all of this!

  3. This may be a silly question but since I don’t see it there: have you looked at Amy Herzog’s Fit to Flatter book/class/website?

    1. Yep! It’s the second book from the top.

  4. Lisa Marie

    Clarifying which rows and stitches make up your darts should fit exactly into the “realm of pattern support”.

  5. Hi Andi!
    Why just don’t get started in writing your own fitting book 😉 Think that would be amazing! But allotta work…

  6. Beth

    What you say is so true. I have a textbook from a fashion design pattern making course that teaches all the different sewing pattern adjustments you could ever need, even having one hip or shoulder higher than the other, but there’s no ‘complete’ textbook for making your knits fit, or crocheting for that matter.
    I’m with Yacrama – you should write the ultimate fit book for knitting. I’d buy it 🙂

  7. ooh, a great idea! So excited to read your future reviews, this is going to be great.

  8. Interesting. I’ve got a few on your pile and – Ysolda is pretty good. Her patterns are generously sized so I guess a detective could glean more by reading through the directions – but yeah, specific information on the points you mentioned, I’m not sure. I’ll let you know if I stumble across one! Great idea for a series 🙂

  9. Another great book on this topic is by Sally Melville called “Knitting Pattern Essentials: Adapting and Drafting Knitting Patterns for Great Knitwear”.

    1. Thank you! I’ll track that one down.

  10. What I great idea for a series of blog posts! I actually have a few of these on my Christmas and birthday (also in December) with list, so I look forward to them to help narrow down my long list!

  11. Paula

    I am so glad that you are taking the time to do this new series. I have a heck of a time altering patterns for large upper arms and shoulders without messing up the fit around the upper torso, especially when the pattern is supposed to be closely fitted.

  12. Kate in VT

    As a tall woman, I have yet to find pattern alteration advice that helps with my problems. If it were only a matter of adding length at the waist and hem that wouldn’t be a big deal, but no one seems to realize that we are proportionately tall — the length from my shoulder to bust line is also longer, for instance. Again, a fairly easy fix in a simple stockingette, but add any cables or fancy necklines, and it makes a huge difference. Armscye, too.

  13. I’m sure you have the book Knitwear Design by Shirley Paden. But if you haven’t, it is like a flat-patterning course for knitting. It tells you how to design garments. It’s not as focused on customizing an existing pattern to fit you and it doesn’t discuss body types or anything, but since drafting your own pattern is measurement related, it would probably be useful for people who make a lot of alterations.

  14. Edith

    Wonderful idea for a blog series! And perhaps after all this concentrated study you just might wrie your own book….. 🙂 Here’s a couple of titles from my book shelf: ‘The Knitter’s Guide to Sweater Design by Carmen Michelson and Mary-Ann Davis; and ‘Designing Knitwear’ by Deborah Newton. There’s a good discussion on fit and knitwear going on over in Ravelry in the ‘Budding Designers’ group 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.