How to Knit a Sweater That Fits You (The First Time)

By Amy Palmer

Learn how to knit a sweater that fits, such as this knitted sweater from Knitscene, Fall 2011.

Knitted sweater from Knitscene, Fall 2011

Sweater knitting patterns hold a certain allure to most knitters. The idea of knitting a sweater made by your own hands on chilly evenings sends many of us to our yarn stash to find the perfect yarn in the perfect quantity (finding the perfect pattern is either the easiest thing in the world or a giant chore and there really doesn’t seem to be any in between).

The possibility of an ill-fitting sweater, on the other hand, is daunting, frightening, downright terrifying.

But I’m here to tell you that you can knit sweater patterns that fit perfectly. The key to sweaters that fit is having all the information you need.

Here are some tips on how to knit a sweater that fits you:

  1. Know thyself. If you like wearing sweaters that are loose all over or prefer to emphasize a smaller waist, choose knitting patterns for sweaters that meet those criteria. Not sure about your personal sweater style? Pull out existing sweaters you own that you love and find common factors in those sweaters. Maybe you’ll discover you’re a fan of easy raglan sweaters or you prefer more textured and tailored silhouettes like those in Connie Chang Chinchio’s Textured Stitches. Once you know what you like to wear, you’ll set yourself up for success by choosing patterns that you will find interesting to knit and are sweaters you’ll want to wear.
  2. Brush up on knitted sweater construction. The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns and The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweater Patterns, both by Ann Budd, are exceptional resources for breaking down and understanding the way a bunch of knit and purl stitches form the fabrics that turn into knitted sweaters.
  3. Measure everything. Too often we get caught up on the bust measurement, when that’s just one part of our bodies that will be covered with a knitted sweater. And sweater knitting patterns aren’t the most helpful, because that’s really the only size listed in most patterns. However, almost all knit sweater patterns will also come with a schematic. Match your measurements to all of the measurements listed for that sweater, so you’ll know where to make adjustments.
  4. Read up on how to create those adjustments, such as bust darts or a reconfigured sleeve cap. For resources on how to customize your knits, watch Laura Bryant’s Yarn to Fit DVD and read Amy Herzog’s article on Customizing Knit Sweaters from Knitscene Fall 2011 (Amy also has three amazing patterns for knitted sweaters designed with specific body shapes in mind in that issue!).
  5. Most importantly, expect that you’ll make a mistake along the way. Most knitting mistakes are easy to fix; don’t let a small error keep you from the joy of your perfect knit sweater.

If you’re looking for your first sweater knitting pattern, look for easier patterns for practice—we have five great, easy sweater patterns in our special issue of Knitscene Easy. If you’re a knitter who hates sewing pieces together, seamless sweaters such as those in Finish-Free Knits might be your thing.

There are knitting patterns for sweaters out there for everyone—go forth, find yours, and knit away!


Amazing sweater knitting patterns and resources to get you started:

Knitscene presents Easy Seamless Sweaters to Knit with 5 Favorite Raglan Patterns

Learn to knit the perfect sweater! With five patterns in all, you’ll discover the many wonders of a seamless knit sweater pattern.

Knitter’s Handy Book Of Sweater Patterns eBook: Basic Designs in Multiple Sizes and Gauges

This book is one resource every knitter should have. A handy collection of tips for knitting sweaters of all sizes and gauges, plus all those wonderful sweater patterns.

Yarn to Fit: Keys to Successful Knitting with Laura Bryant and Barry Klein

Learn to knit the perfect sweater! With five patterns in all, you’ll discover the joy of knitting seamless sweater patterns.

Textured Stitches eBook: Knitted Sweaters and Accessories with Smart Details

It’s all about texture with this book. The brand-new collection includes 20 knitwear designs for knitting sweater patterns using a variety of stunning patterned stitches.

The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters eBook: Basic Designs in Multiple Sizes and Gauges

Not just knitted sweater patterns, this resource is all about utilizing top down and seamless techniques for stunning knit sweaters. Find five basic sweater knitting pattern types, plus design ideas.

KnitScene Easy, 2010: Digital Edition

Great for the beginner, but still interesting for more advanced knitters, you’ll find all sorts of fun patterns including one jacket, one vest, and two sweater patterns in this fabulous issue.

Knitscene, Fall 2011: Digital Edition

You’ll love the article on customizing knitting patterns/sweaters in this issue, along with the three knitted sweater patterns that are designed with different body shapes in mind!

Finish-Free Knits eBook:No-Sew Garments in Classic Styles

With clever planning and design, this book will get you knitting a sweater that is not only finish free but will fit your shape. With 20 tops in all, you’re sure to find the perfect fit for you.