Size Inclusivity in Knitwear

This topic of INCLUSIVITY is one that hits the heart on more levels than one, but in terms of knitting and/or crochet patterns I have to admit I’m a little green on the subject. Before you assume this is an experts synopsis of the subject IT IS NOT. I’m just a plus size knitter who has frustrations like everyone else out there.

There also isn’t much “expert” information out there. I found a quick interesting read here, which summed up some opinions from her ravelry perusing and what I take are just the frustrations of many on the subject.

Since fashion itself has changed over the decades and sizing has been adjusted as well, it’s truly a pickle our beloved designers find themselves in (see image below). How do you INCLUDE every size and shape in the world? Starting with industry standards might be a good start but reaching out to real people with real bodies and getting their measurements BEFORE you put a pattern out to test might be a better beginning. Just a thought…

I find that most patterns that say they have been graded to fit bust sizes 32″ to 60″ start to get a little less accurate after the 45″ mark. I’m not sure what happens but I’ve found that designs get rounder and wider, the counts are not right, or the repeats don’t match. I also have noticed that increasing stitches to just make a garment bigger is not what I would call size inclusive. My body is not a box and I don’t want clothing I make to end up fitting me like one. These curves should be accentuated not hid. Did you hear me? Okay, Thank you!

Interestingly, when you read through pattern notes on some makers pages, they make mention of adjusting this area or that area to get that precise fit for THEIR body shape. For example, I know that my arms are shorter and flabbier than most patterns design for so when it says to do increases or decreases my arm flab says don’t decrease in the first 10 rows because it’s going to be uncomfortable.

How much do we expect the designer to cater to EVERYONE versus including ALMOST everyone? Is there a point when the standard should change? Is there a norm on both ends of standard that designers should accommodate? The beauty of making your own clothing is that you can make it literally for you, in whatever shape that is, length etc.

Find here a grading tutorial and see if it’s helpful in figuring out your own size. I haven’t tried it because spreadsheets intimidate me, so I often rely on my making a sample project and making detailed notes on what I will change next.

This is what I love about some designers, no, let’s start with what I don’t love. I hate going to a popular pattern that has been advertised all over social media and they’ve built the hype for something beautiful and gorgeous just to see sizes S, M, L, XL Bust 32, 34, 38, 40 with 4 inches of positive ease. Meaning my size 48″ bust won’t stand a chance at even an extra fitted sweater or tank top. What I love to see is sizes from XXS to 5XL with notes added in pattern on how and where to increase or decrease as needed.

It has become really easy for some people to just throw a design together based on basic patterns and take those sizes and make their new stitch design fit the numbers, but it takes quite a conscientious designer to understand the shape of the human body. So while I applaud those designers who include a vast array of size options I also hope that they take the initiative to reach out before the industry realizes there’s a problem and adjust their standard first. We all know it takes forever for something to become mainstream, but it just takes one forward thinking person to get the conversation going.

In the coming months I intend to work my way through several patterns that have varying size ranges and taking you on my making experience. My picture journey will always be on Instagram and on my Facebook page so please follow along.

This was an all over the place type of read wasn’t it? I even tried to organize my thoughts and rewrote it a few times, but each time it got more and more jumbled in thought. Suffice it to say a designer cannot literally please everyone. As knitters and crocheters, we can do a little leg work too because a pattern is just a pattern is not a rock solid blueprint, it’s more of a guideline. So take a few nervous steps off the pattern page and make adjustments to make your knitwear/crochet wear your very own. We just need designers to give a little more help in the starting numbers lol, because math ain’t for everyone.

Please share your thoughts on this under visited topic below. I can’t wait to hear your from you. If this was an interesting article for you to read consider donating to the blog. It helps to keep content flowing both written and visual.


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