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Making a Crochet Sweater: Must Know Measurements

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An image of a woman measuring shoulder to shoulder of another woman. Know what measurements to take for a crochet sweater.

The world of crochet offers a wide range of crochet projects from dishcloths to amigurumi to blankets to totes to garments. As a crochet designer, I enjoy creating size inclusive crochet garment patterns that are stylish, unique and fit well. In order for a crochet sweater to fit well, one needs to start with a gauge swatch and know a few measurements. We’re going to go over the measurements I think you should know when making a crochet sweater, whether it is fitted or oversized.

When it comes to creating crochet fabric, we create a series of loops and pulling through those loops to create stitches of various heights. This process also creates a thicker fabric than what is created in knit, so we cannot make the minute changes in sizing like a sewing pattern or even knit pattern (I think. I don’t recall the knitting my mom taught me as a kid. Lol) If you sew, or have every considered learning to sew and looked at a pattern, there is a lot of information on those giant, thin sheets that guide you where to cut to make the perfect fit. Unfortunately, it is not as easy to mix pieces from various sizes in crochet, but we can get pretty close by coming to understand our measurements.

Besides a blanket, hat or scarf, a crochet sweater might make the top of the list of projects to try. Check out this article on why you want to check your gauge before making a wearable. To make a crochet sweater, there are several measurements that a crocheter needs to know. These measurements typically include:

  • Head and Neck Circumference/Length: Measure around the widest part of the head; measure the base of the neck or desired neckline. Measure from the crown of the head to the base of neck; this is helpful when adding an hood. The length of the neck is helpful if adding a turtle neck.
    • No one wants to make a crochet sweater that they can’t pull down over their head, so know your measurements and check the head opening of the crochet sweater you’re making. Don’t forget that the fabric will stretch some, so the crochet sweater’s neck opening can be 1-2” smaller depending on the stretch of the yarn and stitches.
  • Bust/Chest Circumference: Measure around the widest part of the bust or chest area.
    • Most often the chest circumference is the measurement used to choose which size crochet sweater to make. It’s not a bad approach, but can be faulty if your unique body measurements fall within more than one size. My guess is that no one enjoys wearing overly stretched stitches across the chest when the smaller size, or a baggy look everywhere but the chest area when a larger size is chosen.
    • Another Bust/Chest measurement to know is the underbust circumference. Measure the circumference where the breast folds / widest section of the ribs. This measurement is really helpful when creating waist shaping.
  • Armscye/ Armhole Depth: Measure from the top of the shoulder down to the underarm and back up to the shoulder for the armscye. Measure from the top of the shoulder to the underarm for the armhole depth.
    • It’s all about fit and comfort with a crochet sweater since you’re going to spend hours making it. You want a comfortable arm opening.
    • The armhole depth is helpful for drop shoulder sweaters.
    • The armsyce is typically used in sewing patterns, but refers to the circumference around the shoulder. If creating a crochet sweater with a sleeve cap, you’ll want to know how big the opening is for the sleeve to fit the body of the sweater.
  • Shoulder Width/ Cross Back Width: Measure across the top of the shoulders, from one shoulder to the other.
    • You’ll want enough room across the back for comfort and being able to move your arms when wearing a crochet sweater.
  • Arm Length: Measure from the shoulder down to the desired length of the sweater sleeve.
    • When making long sleeves, remember to slightly bend the elbow and measure around the bend to the wrist bone from the shoulder. If you measure along the top of the arm, the final sleeves may be too long. It’s actually better to measure from the underarm to the wrist bone.
  • Bicep and Wrist Circumference: Measure around the the widest part of the upper arm, and measure around the wrist bone.
    • Crochet fabric can be thick so a comfortable fit around the bicep is important to enjoy wearing your crochet sweater and be able to move you arms.
    • Knowing your wrist measurement will help if you need to modify the fit of the sleeve, or creating a comfortable sleeve cuff.
  • Waist Circumference: Measure around the narrowest part of the waist.
    • If a body does not have a clearly defined waist, it helps to bend to one side from the waist to find that point.
    • The waist measurement is helpful to know for a shaped crochet sweater, such as a wrap top. This measurement is also helpful if the waist is larger than the chest or hip circumference.
  • Hip Circumference: Measure around the widest part of the hips.
    • “Shake what your mama gave you!” No dancing required, but you do want to know your hip measurement so that your crochet sweater comfortably fits that buttocks while standing and sitting. I know standing allows you show off your hard work, but you’ll need to sit at some point, and a looser fabric prevents the stitches from becoming over stretched.
    • The Hip circumference can be used for choosing the size of a crochet sweater that has positive ease in the chest area for an oversized look.
  • Waist to Hip Length: Measure from the natural waist along the side of the body to the widest part of the hips.
    • This measurement helps when creating a tunic length crochet sweater or a peplum for a crochet top that falls at the hips.
  • Sweater Length: Measure from the shoulder down to the desired length of the sweater.
    • This measurement determines how long the body of the sweater should be.

I hope you have found this helpful to think about your first or next crochet sweater in a different way. It takes longer to make than a hat or purse, but extra rewarding when you get to wear what you’ve made and proudly state, “I made this!” Don’t forget to make your gauge swatch before you begin your next crochet sweater or top.

I hope you bookmark this page to come back to whenever you need a reminder, or share this link if someone in a crochet Facebook group asks for help with what size to make. To make it even easier to remember your measurements, click the image below to signup for the Creations by Courtney newsletter and instantly receive the Garment Cheat sheet. This handy freebie can be printed and kept in your project bag with the latest crochet sweater WIP, or save it in your favorite note taking app to record your measurements to have handy for any project.

Seriously, enjoy working on your handmade closet!

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Know what body measurements to take when making a crochet sweater.

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