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Making your hand-knitted sweater fit right involves many factors. Your gauge, what size, how long, how wide, your special fitting challenges and what style works best for your body shape are all very important. As a professional tailor, I can tell you one top tip for sweater fitting that ensures failure if you mess it up.
Shoulder Your Way In
That’s right. You want your shoulders to fit. If a sweater is too wide through the shoulders, you’ll look and feel like you’re swimming in your dad’s sweater. If it’s too narrow, it will look like you stole a sweater from a child. While you may like this fit on some occasions, neither is your best fit. Neither feels just right.
How to Measure Up
Make sure you get the width of your knitting from neck to arm right. When you measure yourself, feel for the outer-most bone of your shoulder. You want your sleeve seam right where your bone turns downward toward your arm. If you’re well-padded or muscular, finding the bone may be a challenge, but you want the spot where “across” your shoulder turns into “down” your arm.
Or you can measure from neckline to sleeve seam of your favorite sweater or shirt.
How to Make It So
If you knit a sweater in pieces, this crucial number of stitches lies from neckline to shoulder. Make your front and back shoulder bind offs match in length for easier joining when you sew them together. If your back shoulder turns out a bit wider than the front, the excess can be eased to fit when you seam and still fit you well.
When you knit a sweater in the round for a raglan or yoked sweater, the shoulder shaping takes care of itself. If you knit a saddle shoulder, the narrow strip at the sleeve top is as long as your shoulder to neckline width.
Double check the width of your shoulders so your finished sweater will match you, no matter which sweater neckline you choose. A wide bateau neckline can make narrow shoulders look wider, yet has a shorter seam.
What About Dropped Shoulders?
If you like the look of dropped shoulders, wear them. This simple construction can look great. If you prefer a more tailored fit, placing the sweater sleeve seam right at the top of your arm ensures success.
What About Padded Shoulders?
Often a man’s suit has padded shoulders wider than a man’s own. In sweaters, this look harkens back to the eighties. If you have a special fitting challenge because one shoulder is bigger than the other, your smaller one may require slight padding for a better look. Or make each side fit as is, whichever you prefer.
Happy knitting. You’ll look and feel great in your hand-knitted sweaters when you use this top tip for sweater fitting.
write by Brian Brown