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How to Make Knitting Patterns Larger

Updated April 17, 2017

Looking for a knitting pattern can be a daunting process. There are so many styles to choose from. Then sometimes when you find one you like, you discover that one part of the sweater is too small in your size. You can knit a bigger size, but the result is a sweater that is too large all over. Instead take a few measurements, do some simple math and adjust the pattern to fit your body.

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  1. Measure your neck, bust, waist, hips, shoulder width and arm length. Write down these measurements.

  2. Compare your measurements to the dimensions of the finished garment listed in the knitting pattern and note which areas need adjustment. Consult the pattern schematic for some dimensions, such as shoulder width and arm length.

  3. Subtract the pattern's dimensions from your measurements. For example, if your waist measurement is 30 inches and the pattern is 28 inches, add 2 inches to the waist of the finished garment.

  4. Find the pattern's gauge requirements. In knitting patterns, gauge is expressed as the number of stitches and rows per inch the knitter must achieve for the finished garment to fit.

  5. Multiply the number of stitches per inch by the number of inches you need to add to the garment. For example, if the gauge is four stitches per inch and you need two more inches, you must add eight stitches.

  6. Make any adjustments to the knitting pattern instructions before you start knitting. Where you add the stitches depends on how the garment is constructed and what areas you need to enlarge. For example, to increase the waistline of a sweater knit in two pieces, front and back, you divide the number of stitches by two, and add them at the waistline. In some cases, you just do not decrease as many stitches; in others, you add stitches.

  7. Tip

    Most general reference knitting book have instructions on how to properly take measurements, or consult the Craft Yarn Council of America's instructions (see Resources).

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Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Paper and pencil
  • Knitting pattern
  • Calculator, optional

About the Author

Susan Brockett

Susan Brockett worked in the computer industry as a technical writer for nearly 20 years at companies including Motorola and Dell Computer Systems. In addition, her articles have appeared in Society of Technical Communications publications. Brockett has a master's degree in English composition and communications from Kansas State University.

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