It is very important to me that your finished knits fit! I know from experience how much of a bummer it is to spend weeks on a project and find that it doesn’t fit. While I like you just want to plunge in and start knitting, a little bit of planning is well worth it in the end!
Check Your Gauge!
Okay I’ll admit it, I used to never check gauge. Why would you want to knit a little unusable square when knitting time is so precious?! We all knit differently, some tighter, some looser, so even if you are using the specified yarn and needle size, your garment could come out differently than intended if your tension is different than the designers. Checking your gauge, or tension, is especially important when substituting yarn, as you want to make sure your yarn will work for the pattern. The specified needle size is not necessary to follow when knitting a pattern, it is simply a suggestion for achieving the gauge, which is the most important part. If you do not get the gauge, the design will not turn out as intended, and probably will not fit. We don’t want that!
How to Check Gauge
See the section of the pattern called “Gauge” which will look something like this:
The gauge is given for a 4” square rather than a 1” square since there can be subtle variations from stitch to stitch (as you will see in my swatch below!), making this a safer way to measure. This breaks down to a gauge of 4.5 sts/inch and 6.5 rows/inch which would be a little awkward to measure anyway! To create a swatch to test your gauge, cast on what should be 4” plus about 10 extra stitches, so in this case, 28 stitches, with the needle size called for. In this case there were two needle sizes called for in the pattern, the larger size for the main body (which we’re swatching), and a smaller size for the ribbed section, which is typically 1 or 2 sizes smaller than the size used for the main body, and not important for checking gauge. Work the first 3 rows in garter stitch, then start knitting in stockinette stitch (since it is indicated that this is the pattern stitch which was measured for gauge) for 4″ plus a few extra, so like 30 or so rows. Keep the 3 sts on each edge in garter stitch and knit the last few rows in garter stitch so that you have a flat swatch that will be easy to measure.
Be sure to check your pattern to see if the gauge is given for a blocked swatch. If you are required to wet block your garment, for example, you will want to wet block your swatch. Different yarns will react in different ways, and it will likely affect the gauge. If that is the case, block your swatch as indicated before measuring. Now you will measure 4″ of your swatch and see if you achieved the tension (which you hopefully did!) If you have too many stitches per inch, try again with a larger needle size. Alternatively if you have too few, try a smaller needle size. If the yarn is a different weight than the pattern calls for, it might not work. You could try double plying a lighter yarn, but if the yarn is too heavy, it unfortunately will not work unless the pattern is altered.
Choose a Size!
As every girl knows, each clothing company uses a different sizing system! In one store you’re an XS and at another you’re a M, at one a 6, at another a 12, what to do?! Well luckily with knitting patterns, there should be a size chart with body measurements to help you choose which size you should make. A Girly Knits size chart typically looks like this, but not always, as some designs needs to be sized differently, so make sure to check the chart!:
Please keep in mind that since I try to accommodate teen sizes, my chart may look different than others. Just make sure to take your body measurements and check the size chart to see which size you would be for the particular pattern. Your size for the pattern could be larger than you normally would be depending on where you shop or whose patterns you knit, but don’t let that influence your size choice! The most important thing is that it fits and looks amazing on you, there are no labels inside a knit garment, except for maybe a “Made with Love” one :). If you are knitting a panty or shorts, the hip measurement is what you will want to go off of, while if you are knitting a dress or top, the bust will be more important.
Measure and Compare!
Each pattern has a schematic that shows the finished measurements of the garment, which is also very important as it will indicate how fitted the garment is. It will look something like the image to the left. It can look scary but don’t worry! You don’t need to check every one, just the main ones like the bust, hips, and length. If you want to customize a certain part, like the neckline depth, you will have those measurements to reference.
A lot of my garments have negative ease, which means that the finished measurement of the garment is less than your actual body measurement. This is common with knits that fit and flatter, and is necessary with a design like panties where you will want the stretch inherent in knits to help keep them up! To see if the fit of the garment is what you desire, take a knit garment you own that is similar to the knitted design, and compare its finished measurements with that of the schematic. You may find that you want to choose a larger or smaller size based on your desired fit.
For example, with my “Gorgeous Shorties” design, depending on the size you choose, they could fit like bloomers or booty shorts! Both would be cute of course :). With my “Cables and Curves” skirt, again you can choose how butt hugging you want your skirt to be! Knits are pretty forgiving, and with design details like an eyelet row for a drawstring or belt, you don’t need to worry about your garment not staying up if you want a looser fit. Another measurement to take note of with a skirt or dress is the length. Looking at the finished measurements, you may find that the length is too short for your taste and decide to add length. This is always an option – if you need any help with doing that just ask!
With panties the length or rise of the panty is important to cross check to see if your size will cover your bum – check the hip width as well as the length of a pair that fits you against the schematic to be sure you are choosing the right size! I prefer to design them to be very fitted so that adding elastic is not needed, though it is easier to add elastic to the waist in the end than not be able to get them on or be showing your coin slot!
What if I Can’t Find My Size?
I make my best guess at which sizes I think my customers will want, but if your size is not on the chart, please let me know! I have no problem adding extra sizes if the demand is there.
If you have any other questions about choosing your size, please e-mail me at and I will try to help!