How to Design Knitwear

Written by nakia jackson Google
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How to Design Knitwear
Designing knitwear teaches knitters a great deal about knitting. (purple knitting image by hazel proudlove from

If you have ever searched in vain for the knitting pattern of your dreams, creating your own knitting patterns may be an option you have considered. Designing your own knitwear gives you garments that fit precisely, a chance to try out techniques or stitch patterns and even a way to make money, as knitting publications often purchase designs from freelance designers. Designing your own knitwear helps you learn more about knitting, yarn, and if designing for yourself, your own body. Custom knitwear allows you to express your creativity and develop beautiful and useful items.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Yarn
  • Knitting needles
  • Yarn needle
  • Measuring tape
  • Knitting notions (optional)
  • Stitch dictionary (recommended)
  • Straight pins
  • Spray bottle
  • Bath towel

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Select a garment type, stitch patterns, colours and yarns. Write down the number of stitches required to complete one iteration of your desired stitch pattern.

  2. 2

    Knit a 4-inch-by-4-inch gauge swatch in your chosen yarn(s), using the needles recommended by the yarn label, for each stitch pattern you plan to use in your design. Block by spraying with water until damp and pin flat to a towel. Remove the swatch or swatches when dry.

  3. 3

    Measure your swatches. Write down the number of stitches per inch, and number of rows per inch. Manipulate the fabric to test its drape. If your fabric seems too dense or tight, use a larger needle. If your fabric seems too floppy or has too much space between stitches, use a smaller needle.

  4. 4

    Take all relevant measurements for the garment in question. These can be taken from the body, from a garment, or from a garment sizing chart. Measure the points at which you would like to begin and finish knitting the pieces of the garment. Measure the fullest and narrowest parts of the garment. Add any desired inches for ease.

  5. 5

    Multiply the measurements for your garment by the number of rows per inch for lengthwise measurements, and the number of stitches per inch for width-wise measurements. For example, if your desired bust measurement is 36 inches, and your stitch gauge is 7 stitches per inch, then you should have 252 stitches at the fullest part of the bust.

  6. 6

    Divide the number of stitches at each of your measurements by the number of stitches required for your stitch pattern. This is the number of times your stitch pattern can repeat across the garment. If it does not divide evenly, you can subtract one repeat or choose another pattern.

  7. 7

    Write down the amount and type of yarns, needle sizes and any additional required notions. Specify the desired gauge. Write down the number of stitches needed at the beginning of each garment piece. This is the number to "cast on". Specify the order, type and number of stitches needed for the stitch pattern. Indicate the shaping needed to increase or decrease the knitting, and in which rows this shaping should be placed. Indicate the order and number of rows of plain knitting and when and how the knitting should be ended. Specify the method of joining any garment pieces. Your knitting pattern is complete.

Tips and warnings

  • Read patterns that are similar to the one you are designing to help you decide how much ease to add and what types of shaping to use.
  • Knitting a sample garment is a good way to test the pattern; a half or quarter size of the finished pattern may fit a child or a toy.

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