Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Designer Secrets - The Chest vs. the Bust measurement

The chart on the right comes from here The one on the left is from here It's the CYCA chart that many Knitting designers use as a standard when grading all patterns. The one on the right shows a chest measurement at 1 and a bust measurement at 2. CYCA shows only a bust measurement.

I rarely knit from patterns. On the odd occasion I do it's usually because the design has a feature or technique I'm really interested in trying. The last pattern I knit was this
one It's beautiful!

As you can see with this design the pattern size choice based on a bust measurement makes sense but it doesn't for every pattern. In particular those with set in sleeves. I've been custom designing for my own unique measurements for so long that I'd forgotten how difficult it can be for Knitters to choose the correct size when using patterns. When I was taking sewing classes I was taught to take both bust and chest measurements to aid in choosing the correct pattern size especially if you were over a B cup. The thinking was that while bust measurements gave you the width required the chest measurement was more closely based on bone structure size. Normally it is easier to make the bust bigger than it is to change the shoulder, armhole and sleeve cap relationship. If I use the CYCA standards I drop a size by using the chest measurement. My back waist length isn't even on the chart because I'm 5'2". If I look at my upper arm measurement I go up a size? I sound like I must be some sort of a science fiction mutant don't I? Well I'm not... I'm pretty average. So what I'm getting at here is that it doesn't really matter what standard measurements a designer starts from because the reality is that almost every knitter will need to make some adjustments to fit their pattern to their body. You will always need to compare your measurements to the patterns and adjust accordingly. So try taking a chest measurement especially if your sweaters don't fit at the shoulders and neck and see if that changes the size you would change on the pattern. See this previous posting for an adjustment idea if you need more space in the bust area only and this one here for making your sweater fronts bigger.


  1. Thanks for all this info! I love to read the detailed links. Have a nice day! Dutch groetjes

  2. Thanks for so much great information. That corset tank is gorgeous, btw.