Day 1 – Basics of Design & Measuring

Welcome to the 30 Day Sweater! I am so glad that you have taken this opportunity to dive in and create a custom fit set-in sleeve sweater with us! I know that the idea of creating a sweater from scratch can be a little bit intimidating but we have done our best to make it as simple and fun as possible.

Today we will be starting out by deciding a few of the basic details of what you’d like your finished sweater to look like. Take a few minutes to think about the type of sweater you’d like to wear all the time. Is it a pullover or a cardigan? Would you like a rounded neckline or a v-neckline? Does your sweater have extra long sleeves or short sleeves? As you consider these things, take a minute to jot down what you come up with or DOWNLOAD THE WORKSHEET.




As fun as it would be to simply dream our perfect sweaters into existence we also need to get a very practical step started today, that step is measuring. I think that measuring might just be the very most important step when is comes to creating a sweater that fits you well. Think of getting accurate measurements as laying the foundation for the rest of your sweater to be built upon.

Sometimes taking your body measurements is a bit of a touchy subject but honestly it is not so bad and will help you to create something uniquely yours and perfect for your unique shape.

You’ll begin today’s work by getting your body measurements then you will enter those numbers into a couple of simple equations below to get the measurements for your sweater!

Taking Your Body Measurements

Bust/Chest – Measure around the fullest part of the bust. Be sure to keep the measuring tape parallel to the ground and not slip down in the back. The bust is the starting point in determining how much ease to allow in your sweater.

Waist – Measure loosely around your natural waist

Hips – Measure the hip around the widest point below the waist.

Crossback – The crossback includes both shoulders and should be measured across the back from the tip of one shoulder bone to the other.

Upper Arm – Measure around the upper arm around it’s widest point

Wrist – The wrist is measured around the arm just above the hand

Back Neck to Waist – Measure from the bone at the base of the back of your neck to the waist or where you would like the final length of the sweater to sit.

Shoulder – Measure from the center of the back of the neck to the point where the arm joins the body.

Center Back Neck to Wrist – Measure from the bone in the center back of your neck to the wrist bone (or to the point you want your sleeve to end) with your arm extended

Front Neck to Waist – Measure from the shoulder over the fullest part of the bust to the waist or where you would like the final length of the sweater to sit.

Waist to Underarm – Measure from the waistline or where you would like the final length of the sweater to sit to approximately one inch before your actual underarm.

Neck Width – Measure around the neck at its fullest point.

Wrist to Underarm – Measure from the wrist bone along the underside of your arm, with your elbow slightly bent, to approximately one inch before your underarm.

Calculating Your Sweater Measurements

Now that you have your body measurements you can turn them into the approximate finished measurements for your sweater. Some of these numbers will require no calculations at all so just write the same number that you took down while getting your body measurements.


I hope you have been thinking about how you would like your sweater to look as you were doing your measurements because now your basic design ideas will come into play as we calculate a little thing called “ease”. Ease is simply how loosely or tightly you would like your sweater to fit. Generally a comfortable fit has about 2-4” of ease added to the bust/chest and 1-2” added on the sleeve.

If you’re unsure how much ease to add, check out these guidelines from the Craft Yarn Council.

Very Close Fitting Actual chest/bust measurements or less
Close Fitting 1-2” Ease
Standard Fitting 2-4”Ease
Loose Fitting 4-6” Ease

1. Bust/Chest + Desired Ease = Total Bust/Chest
2. Total Bust/Chest x .50 = One Half Bust/Chest
3. Crossback
4. Neck
5. Shoulder
6. Upper Arm + Desired Ease = Sleeve at Upper Arm
7. Wrist + Desired Ease = Sleeve above Rib
8. Total Length = Back Neck to Waist
9. Desired Rib Length at Lower Hem
10. Waist to Underarm – Desired Rib Length Lower Hem = Body to Underarm
11. Total Length – Waist to Underarm = Armhole Depth
12. Desired Rib Length on Sleeve
13. Wrist to Underarm – Desired Rib Length on Sleeve = Sleeve to Underarm

Moving Forward

Congratulations! You have completed the first step toward creating your very own custom sweater! In Day 2 we will move on to creating a gauge swatch.

Lessons in this course: