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Custom Sizing Resources

Alexis Hoy

There is nothing more frustrating than spending hours (not to mention $$) on a custom-made sweater or other garment, and slipping it on to discover it doesn't fit properly.  Maybe it pulls across the bust, or the waist shaping is in the wrong spot for your curves.  Maybe your gauge was off and the sweater is a half-foot longer than you intended.  It can be heartbreaking.

If this is happening to you, isn't it time to take steps? You are custom-making garments for yourself or for your family, why aren't they custom-sized as well?  Likely because taking that "sizing power" back from the pattern can be intimidating.  What if you make a mistake?  What if you make things worse?  Well, it's time to remind yourself that in the worse case scenario, you'll just be ripping back - and this is true whether you make something ill-fitting from the pattern instructions, or from instructions that you've attempted finessed to your liking.  It might not work at first, but the more you tinker, the better it will get, and the easier it will become next time.

On any new adventure, of course, the right tools are essential.  So I've rounded up some resources I've found useful so that you can better arm yourself for success:

Good Measure by Deborah Newton

This is a complete guide to custom sizing, full of a whole career's worth of insights.  If you want to really dive in, start here.

Customize Your Knitting by Margaret Hubert (Margaret has a companion volume on how to Customize Your Crochet)

If you're still feeling wary and just want to get your feet wet, this is a good option.  The suggestions for customizing fit are logical, straightforward, and simple to execute.

Big Girl Knits by Jillian Moreno & Amy R. Singer (of, and the follow up:

More Big Girl Knits

These are great resources for plus size knitters - but I would recommend any knitter take a look through for inspiration on sizing.  I particularly love the authors' technique of inserting sizing panels at the sides of sweaters to add necessary ease and shaping.

Knitwear Design Workshop by Shirley Paden

This is a full master-class from custom fit through complete garment design.  It's not a beginner's tome but if you're serious about taking your knitting to a new level it's a great resource to have on the shelf.

Shirley Paden has a companion Craftsy Class, Handknit Garment Design, that is equally fantastic.

Another Craftsy class you might consider, if you're fond of the video-learning method is Sweater Modifications for a Custom Fit with Amy Herzog.

Have any other suggestions for good custom sizing resources? I'd love to hear them!

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