Choosing a Pattern that Matches Your Body Shape


Step 1:

The first step in selecting the right knitting machine pattern is to know your silhouette.  I chose the hourglass shape because I have wide hips. Due to my high tummy area I never do waist shaping. My favorite styles are the raglan shoulder and drop shoulder shapes. The raglan style allows more room at the bust area and can easily be modified to an align dress and the drop shoulder style allows more room for the tummy.  Why I like raglan sweaters.


Allows for a wider bust area.

Drop Shoulder


Allows for a wider waist area.

Trapezoid Bottom

Allows for a wider hip area.

If your body is heavier up top, the drop shoulder style sweater shaping is best. The drop shoulder style is used for oversize sweaters based on the size of the tummy area.  The smaller your tummy the less oversize your sweater.  Example, if your tummy area measures 50 inches and your bust area measure 44 inches, the difference results in a 6 inch shoulder drop.  Although I’m not heavier on top this style gives me more room at the tummy area.  This style can easily be modified into a dress or sweater coat by knitting it longer.


Step 2:  Select a Pattern Based on Your Skill Level

Most patterns display whether a pattern is for a beginner, intermediate or for advanced skill sets.




Step 3:  What Pattern Writing Style Do You Prefer?

I prefer reading step-by-step instructions of each sweater section, i.e. band, lower body, upper body, and neckline for front and back.  I have seen patterns written in paragraph format.  I find these confusing especially when I need to find where I left off.  I believe machine knitting is a technical writing style.  Technical writing is for a particular audience.  It’s concise, comprehensive, logical and sequential, action oriented and organized.


Step 4:  Select a Pattern with Multiple Sizes

Multiples sizes in a pattern is a must have.  I normally use a standardized measurement chart and recalculate all measurements for each size.  In my research on grading I stumbled upon an easier way to grade.  Those who design patterns or want to resize a pattern this video shows you how to recalculate the pattern up or down a size.  Take a look:



Step 5:  Select a Pattern with a Schematic

A schematic may or may not be included with your pattern showing plotted body measurements.  However, a pattern with schematics will allow you to alter its measurements by recalculating measurements based on your yarn gauge.




Step 6:  What Resources are Available

Added resources are a plus such as a video demonstration on complex areas of the design and the availability of seeking help directly from the designer.  Knitters will point back to your point of reference should they require additional assistance.



In conclusion, before searching for that perfect pattern you should know your body shape and which style is best for your silhouette.  Secondly, assess your skill level.  You don’t want to complain about a pattern style if you have chosen one that is above your skill level.  Before doing so, invest in training on advanced skills or seek out others for a better understanding on how to do it.  Should you have questions, join Machine Knitting Friends Facebook Group.


What do you look for in a pattern?