Norah’s Knits: Making Sweaters that Fit
Deciding what size sweater to make for yourself can be more than confusing. Some sweaters look good tight, some loose, some looser in places and tighter in others. The best looking fit depends on a combination of your personal style, current sweater fashion and your height and shape. Really nobody can decide on the best fit for you, except for you!
Maybe knowing what I’ve discovered about sizing sweaters for myself will lend insight into what might work for some of you. I am 5’ tall and currently wear size 14P in ready-to-wear, although most of my fashion self-discoveries held just as true when I was a size 8, as well as when I was a size 18. Maybe it’s more about being short and curvy, than exactly how big I might be at any given time. Here’s what else I’ve learned:
SERIOUS POSITIVE EASE:
If it’s going to be oversized, make it VERY oversized. I like pieces to be 8-10” bigger than my bust measurement. I can even handle a heavier fabric like Peruvia Quick, if the sweater is really big. Then, in order for a sweater to look its best on me, I have to watch for details like body length, and sleeve width, as well as length.
Body Length – The best length for me, for an oversized garment, seems to be about 25” in the front. I’m loving the new style of a longer back. So, pieces like Spenser are great for me (maybe with a modified sleeve).
Spenser (designed by Amanda)
Sleeve Length – I am crazy for 3/4 sleeves. Longer sleeves seem to overwhelm me and make me look bigger. An abbreviated sleeve seems to lighten up an otherwise heavy oversized piece. That’s probably why I use a shorter sleeve length for a lot of my designs like Furthermore.
Sleeve Width – If the body of my sweater is wide, usually I like a very narrow sleeve. Not so tight that it binds, but as narrow as comfortably possible. It’s really very flattering. I learned this trick about 15 years ago when I tried on (and bought) an adorable big gauge sweater from JCrew. The wide body and narrow shorter sleeves were an epiphany for me. I suddenly went from thinking that oversized and heavy weight sweaters weren’t for me to realizing that they could be.
SLIM FITTING SWEATERS:
With a tighter fit, I tend to like a lighter weight yarn and a fit of 0” to no more than 2” negative ease. I do well with some room through the waist and hip, with a hint of curve but 2-4” of positive ease to disguise any bumps and bulges through my middle.
Shoulders – I find it’s important for a tighter fitting sweater to be close through the shoulder, which usually means having a set-in sleeve.
Body Length – Mid hip works best for me if the hip is fitted, but I can handle a longer length if the hip portion is looser.
Sleeves – With a tighter sweater, I still prefer a shorter sleeve, but I can definitely handle a long narrow sleeve or even a sleeve with some volume.
Have you made any fit discoveries some of us might benefit from? Share them as a comment or on your Facebook page!