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Sizing Basics

Thanks for taking Sizing Basics.

Please refer to Knit & Crochet Design Resources page for many of the resources we talked about in the class, including links to many sizing resources.

The Hurth Ruler is what I used to measure back neck and armsyce (armhole). Cochenille Design Studio has videos on how to use it, as well as the Garment Designer software, which is excellent for designing both knitwear and sewing.

A sloper is simply a schematic of a body measurement. You want to know what the body measurement is before you can start making things to fit.


Ease is the difference between the body measurements and the measurements of the garment. Tight-fitting garments have negative or no ease, while loose-fitting garments have up to about 10″ of ease. Heavy outerwear requires more ease than lightweight fabric. Adding ease to a sloper at different points, together with the silhouette (shape) of a garment is what makes the garment style.

Body Measurements

Here’s a quick link to the Craft Yarn Council Standard Body Measurements/Sizing. I used the measurements from that table to draw the following slopers. Because the table gives a range of measurements in each size, I chose the median of the range to draw the sloper.

CYC slopers

The other slopers I showed were a selection from the ASTM Standard Tables of Body Measurements for Adult Female Misses Figure Type, Size Range 00-20, (D 5585-11), from 2013. These tables are upgraded every few years. Here’s a comparison of the two, matching sizing using roughly equivalent bust measurements:

CYC ASTM comparison slopers

There are many more places to find body measurements for “the public”, including sewing pattern sites and clothing manufacturers. There’s a long list on the Knit & Crochet Design Resources page.

I have also updated the shared Google Sheet: Women’s chart and Men’s chart. While you are there, take a look at the head sizes chart. See how head size doesn’t change that much?

There’s a lot to learn about sizing! People go to school for years to learn about fit, so don’t be discouraged if you are just getting started. Begin with your own body, or someone else’s real body, and figure out what you have to do to make garments fit at the key points. Then move on to designing for ranges of sizes.

Read my interview with designer and tech editor Sue McCain, to see what she has to say about designing for different sizes.

I’m available to help, either through ongoing classes, or through technical editing or consulting. Let me know how I can help!

Further Reading

Inclusivity in Men’s Sizing

Where is the Body Diversity in Men’s Wear?

Kim McBrien Evans has a lot of resources and classes on inclusive sizing. It’s worth taking a class from her!

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