Making sizing adjustments will help with how much you love any finished garment. They don’t have to be huge adjustments to make fit better, so in this post I am just going to deal with relatively straight forward adjustments. I am going to work from the bottom up. I realized this is going to get really long, so I’m just going to take you as far as the underarms in this post. I will use you to refer to the person wearing this garment, but it it is someone else, I mean them.
Here’s what you need:
- schematic. If there isn’t one, you need to draw the basic shape and then calculate the measurements at the spots we are addressing.
- pen/pencil and paper
- tape measure
- ruler (optional)
- yarn to tie at various places
- gauge (yours if different and the pattern gauge–all of them)
- measuring croquis
- sizing guidelines for your pattern (if possible)
- thoughts on how you want this to fit at various points
- your measurements, taken recently (see measuring croquis)
Sizing Adjustments: bottom of garment
To know how this relates to your measurement, look at the total length measurement and measure to that point on your body. This is where the garment will hit you. Tie a piece of yarn here and look at yourself in a full length mirror, preferably wearing the bottom (skirt, pant, leggings) that you plan to wear with the finished garment (or something similar) so you can see whether this is a good length for you. If it isn’t this is the first adjustment you need to make.
(1) Total length. Adjustment in length to underarm. Add or subtract length.
Now put the tape measure at that place on your body and see how that bottom measurement looks and feels there.
(2) Bottom measurement. This is where you have to decide if that is how you want it to fit. If it is too snug, inches need to be added, too big, inches need to be taken out.
If you add or subtract, remember you have to contend with a different stitch count on everything that follows!
Sizing Adjustments: waist
If there is waist/hip shaping, you will need to address the waist in the same way as you did (1) and (2). The nice thing about waist shaping, is you can only do a little and it will add shape to the garment–or you can do none at all.
(3) Waist measurement usually has more ease than bust or the bottom. If there is shaping, it is likely to be more consistent. You can decide to add some shaping for the waist, even if there is none. Do the (4) first decrease about 3″ below the length to the back waist, and end about 0.5″ below the waist (or more as your body might need). Then (5) work even until about 1″ above waist (or more as your body might might need). Begin bust shaping.
If you skip waist shaping, all you have to do is compare stitch counts before hip to waist shaping, and stitch count after waist to bust shaping and make sure you have the right numbers. See below.
Sizing Adjustments: Bust
Most often the bust and bottom measurements are the same, but you need to know what your bust measurement is, and how much extra fabric you are going to have if you use the stitch counts given. If you added to the bottom, this is particularly important. I personally don’t like to have too much fabric around the bust. If you need a different number, you can do bust increases beginning at the point (5) determined above. (6) Increases should end at least 1″ below the underarm bind off. If you are large busted, or older, you might need to have that end lower. Don’t be afraid to add in extra stitches if you need them. You can also add them to just the front or back or equally. If you need bust darts, check in for another blog on that.
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