What Standard Sizes Should We Use for Knitting Patterns?

If you’re involved in the online fibre community, particularly on Instagram, you will know that there have been a huge number of really important conversations about inclusivity going on this year.

One facet of this conversation is sizing. Many makers feel excluded from our community due to the lack of patterns available in their size. It’s a massive problem and it’s prevalent across the whole industry.

Making patterns accessible to makers of all sizes and body shapes is so important. The size of your body doesn’t determine whether you are worthy of making beautiful things for yourself. As designers, it is our responsibility to ensure that makers of all sizes have access to knitting patterns that fit them.

In this blog post, I’ll be sharing my newly updated women’s size chart as well as sharing additional resources that will help you with sizing your own patterns to cater to as many makers as possible.

What Standard Sizes Should We Use for Knitting Patterns?

The Sizing in my Knitting Patterns

You will notice that none of my garment patterns so far are graded to more than a 52” chest. I didn’t acknowledge that this was a massive issue until recently.

The thing that was holding me back is the (false) idea that grading for more sizes takes a lot more time and will eat into my already small profit margin. After some reflection, I realise that I felt like the fact that some people couldn’t fit into my size range was their problem, not mine.

Our fatphobic society teaches us that thin is better and therefore, we don’t need to meet the needs of fat people in the way that we meet the needs of thin people. For most of us, it’s subconscious, yet we internalise this way of thinking and it seeps into our decision making. This needs to change.

Grading my patterns to a 62” chest is now a non-negotiable for my knitting patterns and I hope that it will be for you, too. With the right resources, you have no excuse not to make patterns for as many bodies as possible.

Women’s Size Chart for Designing Knitting Patterns

Grading for larger sizes is very straight-forward when you have the right size chart. Here are some resources that will be useful to refer to when designing your own knitting patterns.

My size chart

I’ve updated my old women’s size chart to include more body measurements that will help you to make well-fitting patterns for as many bodies as possible.

I include measurements for 9 sizes from a 28 - 62” chest, adapted from the industry standard chart by the Craft Yarn Council. I’d like to add larger sizes to this, but currently, I can’t find any reliable size charts to base the additional sizes on. I’m working on it, so I hope to be able to update this again further down the line.

My chart allows you to easily cater to as many sizes as possible whilst not needing to grade 18 sizes (which can also be difficult to lay out in a pattern). I have tried to include as many useful measurements as possible so that you won’t have to estimate anything when calculating your patterns.

 

FREE RESOURCE

WOMEN’S SIZE CHART

To get a PDF of the updated Women’s size chart I use, sign up to my newsletter, The Sisterhood, and I shall send it straight to your inbox.
As part of The Sisterhood, you will also receive new blog posts and updates that will teach you how to design knitting patterns. Enjoy!
Free Women's Size Chart for Knitting Patterns

Where My Measurements are taken from

I have created these illustrations to show where the chart’s measurements are taken from. Click through to see them all!

Craft yarn council

This size chart is what I started off with when I was first designing and it was very helpful. It’s missing some useful measurements and it’s hard to tell where some of the measurements are taken on the body, but overall, it’s decent and worth referencing. Most knitting publications in the industry tend to reference this for their own sizing.

Additionally, they share free size charts for children and men, as well as accessory specific charts that will be useful.

Ysolda’s size chart

Ysolda created an amazing size chart that is free for anyone to use. It has loads of measurements and includes references as to where the measurements are taken on the body too. This is a really great resource!

Make Inclusive Sizing a Priority

By offering patterns in as many sizes as possible, particularly larger sizes, you are making your pattern accessible to marginalised bodies - bodies that are typically stigmatised and discriminated against in society, whether it’s in the media, the healthcare system or in daily life.

Making size-inclusive patterns is your responsibility as a designer - don’t make the same mistake as me and underestimate how important this really is.

What are you going to do to make your patterns more size-inclusive? Share your plans in the comments section below.