One - Shoulder Fit is Important to a Flattering Garment
Shoulders are always on the wide side of the range in knitting patterns. The reason for this is that you can wear a sweater with droopy shoulders but narrow ones are not comfortable and they restrict movement. Shoulder seam to armhole placement is absolutely critical to both good fit and flattering garments. Manufacturers frequently make shoulders wider for the same sizing reason which has created a misunderstanding among consumers about correct fit. The outside shoulder seam of your garment should sit on the prominent bony protrusion that is on back of your shoulder, not down on your arm. Lowering this seam results in making your body look wider and your arms look shorter.
Two - Waist Fitting
The back waist measurement is rarely given in knitting patterns. In close fitting garments waist placement is critical to good fit. There are also body types that will want to move the visual waist up or down for figure flattery. In particular long or short waisted bodies may wish to move the waistline to a more proportionally flattering position. Women who have the narrowest part of their torso higher than their waist may also wish to move the waistline up to appear slimmer. Many knit designs that would benefit from waist shaping don’t have it in the pattern because it makes grading very difficult and patterns much longer to write, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t add it on the garment that you are knitting. Be aware that as little as two inches of shaping makes the torso look slimmer.
Three - Sleeve Length is Impacted by Armhole Depth
Sleeve measurements are impacted by the armhole depth. The sleeve sits lower as the armhole gets deeper. Armhole depth has gotten longer over the decades since manufactured clothing became the norm because it means more people can wear the garment. Many pattern makers will tell you that a shorter armhole depth with a narrow sleeve and higher sleeve cap fits better, looks better and allows for fuller range of arm movement on the individual when it is fitted correctly.
Four - You are unique!
Be prepared to adjust and customize every pattern to improve it. Personalize the fit and adapt the pattern to more flattering lines for your shape. Remember the model in the pattern photo likely has a 34 inch bust and probably is taller than you. The garment may have been pinned in ways that you can’t see in the photo. Remember that you are viewing a static photo, not a garment that needs to move with you. Almost everyone can benefit form some customization for both better fit and flattery. Very few real people are the same as the standard sizes that patterns and clothing comes in.