Monday, October 10, 2011

Pattern Drafting for Hand Knits - Part II

You can see Part I of this post here.  

The requests that are often made for larger size ranges in hand knitting patterns are totally understandable. Due to better nutrition people have gotten taller than past generations. If you have ever looked at vintage clothing you see very small sizes compared to today. If you go to an event at an old theater there is much less leg room between the seats. We have also have many people who carry more weight today due to the amazing abundance of food in our society. Everyone who knits garments wants to make them fit properly to be comfortable and flattering.

In the image above I've layered a Woman's bust size 44, (black dotted line) a Petite Plus bust size 43, (red line) and a Standard Plus size bust size 43, (black solid line). 

Remember that when you see a little bit more or less width in the pattern, that on the body that amount is doubled as it impacts both the front and back pieces of the garment. Very small differences in the pattern can make very large differences in the perceived fit of a garment. I suspect that those asking for larger sizes don't always recognize that simply increasing the width won't completely resolve the fit issues. One of the most common fitting problems that I am asked to help with is that when the garment is big enough around the torso, the shoulders and neckline are too large.

As I discussed in the last post, in retail clothing this problem is resolved by a variety of size ranges. 

The Woman size range is designed for a more mature figure and garments are often cut with more ease for movement, as well the styles are more mature. The upper back has a curve to accommodate the changing shape due to posture differences as we age. The tummy area may be fuller. We are more likely to see elastic waist pants, longer skirts and jackets as well as short sleeve tops instead of sleeveless garments.  Sizing is meant for a woman who is 5'5"–5'6" (165–168 cm) tall, with an average bust, and an average back.

Woman’s Petites sizes are designed for the shorter woman's figure; about 5'2" to 5'4" (1.57m to 1.63m).  

Plus sizes are cut for a full figured woman with a larger than D-cup bust size.However we all know women who are plus sizes but have a smaller than D cup bust line.

There was in the past a half size range, which has been replaced by petite plus. it was meant for shorter rounder figures of 5'2"–5'3" (157.5–160 cm) tall, with a lower bust, and a shorter back.

Some specific clothing lines within all of these size ranges  target an older age category and have modifications due to the changes in posture that occur as we age. The tummy area may be cut to be fuller and the behind shaped to be little flatter. They also cater to a more casual lifestyle and in some cases are produced with easy care fabrics.

Vogue sewing patterns have also responded to the fit issues of their market with a special range of patterns known as Today's Fit. These patterns are designed for the changing proportions of today’s figure; about 5'5". The waist and hips are slightly larger than Misses’ and the shoulders are narrower.

It's also important to note that every designer and clothing manufacturer has the ability to modify each category in ways that best serve their own customer base.

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