Stripy – 2 – measuring

by ysoldateague September 12, 2007


Apologies for the delay in continuing the stripy series, I’ve had a horrible cold and time seems to have been moving very quickly.
I really, really recommend that you get someone else to measure you. Make sure that your tape measure isn’t all stretched out and old too. We’re going for accuracy here. You can use imperial or metric, just be consistent. I’m going to list all the measurements you need to take, but I’ll mention them again in the relevant posts. It’s probably simplest to take them all at once though. Although many top down raglan recipes call for casting on and knitting until it fits there are some problems with this method. Remember how in the swatching post my gauge changed once I washed the swatches, that’s going to affect the jumper too and means that it might seem a bit small while knitting. The knit until it fits method also works much better for some proportions than others, so this is going to be a compound raglan calculated to fit your proportions exactly. A wee bit more maths, which is easy with a calculator, and a lot of trusting the maths which of course is much harder. I’m going to deal with the extra measurements, calculations and design choices involved in making this work for bustier figures in a separate post. If you’re bigger than a b or c cup you might want to wait for that.

On to the measuring!

Take your measurements wearing something close fitting and remember that a bra can change your shape quite dramatically so it makes sense to wear the type of bra that you will wear with the jumper (if anyone is actually that organised). Alternatively don’t bother wearing anything at all if you’re that comfortable with your assistant. The pictures show where to measure marked on an old t shirt, this is just an illustration – you don’t need to draw on your clothing / skin.

Begin by tyeing some string, ribbon or yarn around your body at three points: around your chest directly below the armpits, around your natural waistline and around your hips where you want the bottom of your sweater to hit. Tie the string snugly enough so it doesn’t slide around, but not so tight that you distort the measurements / can’t breath.


Measure across your back from shoulder to shoulder (the pointy boney bit).


Measure around the bust at the fullest point.

Measure around your waist.

Measure around where the hem string is tied.

Measure from shoulder to the underarm string.


Measure from the underarm string to the waist string and the waist string to the hem string.


Measure from the side of the base of your neck to level with your shoulder – this is the shoulder depth.


Measure around the top of your arm – or at the fullest part depending on how muscley you are.

Measure around your arm where you want the cuff to be.

Measure from you armpit to where you want the cuff of your sleeves to be.

And I think that’s everything you need!

You should have the following measurements noted:

  • shoulder to shoulder
  • bust
  • waist
  • hip
  • shoulder to underarm
  • underarm to waist
  • waist to hip
  • shoulder depth
  • upper arm
  • cuff
  • sleeve length

In the next post you’ll actually get to start calculating and cast on.

Read all posts in the Stripy series.


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