The Central Park Hoodie: Which Size To Knit?

Originally, we were going to wait until Friday to post photos of Lisa Shroyer’s finished Big Girl version of the Central Park Hoodie, but after all your requests, we just couldn’t resist any longer…so: Voila! And yes, that is Lisa modelling her hoodie for us all. Toooo cute! But how to make sure your own hoodie, and every sweater you knit, is just as cute on you as Lisa’s is on her?

Ta-DA! Lisa’s CPH “Plus”!

The first question, for any knitter of any size or shape, is: what size should I make? Too big, and the best parts of any figure can get swallowed up. Too small, and well. Certain features of one’s landscape can be over-emphasized, shall we say.

So how does a professional pattern designer go about determining what size to make for herself? Funny you should ask…

Sizing the CPH+

by Lisa Shroyer

When I sat down to reconfigure Heather Lodinsky’s Central Park Hoodie pattern in a size that works for my body, I had to ask myself a few questions:

What size am I?
How much ease do I want in this project?
What alterations besides width do I need to make in the pattern for plus sizes?

So I know my bust measurement—a solid 45″. I also know my hips measure 49″, and the space between bust and hip is an A-line slope (I am a total pear). So, to fit everywhere comfortably and to have enough ease to make this garment outerwear (to be worn over other garments), I decided 7″ of ease in the bust and 3″ of ease in the hips (as there is no shaping from hem to underarm in this project) would be best. And that makes for a 52″ finished hoodie. I’ve seen other knitters make the CPH very fitted, which is super-cute, but honestly, on my body, a super-fitted cardigan is not flattering. Instead of looking chic and tailored, such a garment just shows rolls and bumps and causes discomfort at underarm and shoulder, as the underlayers bunch up. A fitted CPH on me would look like an inadequately knit and improperly sized garment. So my CPH is loose and comfy. (Sidenote: I’m not saying plus-size knitters should make all their sweaters oversized and shapeless; rather, you should understand which types of garments are suited to different amounts of ease on your body.)

The modified buttonband on Lisa’s CPH

And besides width, how else does this pattern need to be altered to work on my body? I added a quarter inch to the body ribbing (does make a visible difference!), overall length to the body, and a wider buttonband. The extra length may seem obvious, but why a wider buttonband? Well, bold framing elements work well on my body type. Since I’m larger, I can wear plunging V-necks, huge cowl necks, wide kimono sleeves, large buttons—all those dynamic elements that can overpower the smaller of frame, but help break up and “frame” larger women. And with the deep body ribbing, a wimpy buttonband would have looked silly. Because the buttonband is so wide, it negates the need for front neck shaping on the cardigan. The buttonband takes up the space in the center front where the front neck would be dropped and shaped on a pullover. You could add front neck shaping if you plan to button your CPH up higher to the throat—making the shoulders narrower and the back neck wider (which would also affect the stitch count in the hood).

Next time: More FO pics of my CPH, and we’ll talk about what I would have done differently.

This is the second in a series from Lisa Shroyer on her adventures in Big Girl Land with the Central Park Hoodie. Lisa is editor of Knitscene, and senior editor of Interweave Knits.

Sandi Wiseheart is the founding editor of Knitting Daily. She is now the author of the popular Knitting Daily blog: What’s on Sandi’s Needles.


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