Scheming for a Perfectly Fitting Crocheted Garment

In this second part of directions to help you crochet a garment that fits, we’ll learn about schematics. Two weeks ago, you did the hard part: Taking your measurements. Pull out those numbers and we’ll compare them to a pattern schematic.

Often at the beginning of a pattern, you’ll find bust measurements. This is a good beginning for choosing a size, but we all know that women with similar bust measurements may not have similar waist or hip measurements. Sometimes a sweater that fits me in the bust is too tight across the midsection or hits my hip at the wrong point.

This is where the schematic comes in. A schematic is a little picture that shows you what size the whole sweater will be when it is crocheted exactly as written and, especially important, to gauge. I adore schematics; they hold so much information in the puzzle of their lines and strings of numbers. Let’s take a look at the Spring Shell pattern in Interweave Crochet Spring 2009.

Let’s begin at the bottom, where there are two curved lines with arrows on the end. The circular curve indicates that this measurement is for the circumference; the top “circle” corresponds to the body of the sweater, which is wider, and the bottom “circle” corresponds to the hip band. Let’s say you’re making the 44″ bust circumference size. The 44″-inch measurement is the third number in parentheses; the third number in the hip-band circumference is 41½”. Now pull out that list of your body measurements. Are your hips 41½”? If so, fantastic, move on to the next measurement. If not, don’t despair; we’ll talk about altering patterns for a perfect fit in a couple of weeks.

Let’s check the rest of the measurements. This garment does not have waist shaping, but for fitted tops don’t forget to check out that measurement. This sweater’s snug hip band means that you’ll want to be sure not to spoil the lovely vertical shell band with extra fabric bunching up in the body. So check the schematic for the length between the armhole to the hip band (13¾” for all sizes). Check this against your own measurements: if 13¾” is too short, add a couple of rows, and if it’s too long, make it a row or two shorter.

Now, how about the fit around the upper arm? On the schematic, these lines are straight with defined ends, rather than being curved. This measurement reflects the width of one side of the sleeve, not the circumference. To find the circumference, find the sleeve measurement (for a size 44″ bust, that’s 8½”), then multiply times two.

Okay, now you take it: Can you find the neckline depth? Will the neckline fit too wide, too narrow, or just right across your shoulders?

Maybe you’re not in the mood for the Spring Shell. Scout around and find another sweater. Check the schematic. Which ones fit your measurements? Which need altering?

Come join me in two weeks when we discuss altering written patterns for the perfect fit.

Best wishes,



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