Learn how to resize a vintage knitting pattern to your size.

Resizing Your Vintage Knitting Pattern

This guide is for resizing your vintage knitting pattern. Although sometimes it can be a joy to find a wonderful pattern with your bust measurement, I know that most of the time I have to do some adjustments to make it perfect. With just a little bit of maths (I promise only a little bit!), you can follow this guide to resize your sweater pattern. 

If you have the recommended yarn:

Measure the number of inches you would like your sweater to measure around your largest chest measurement. For example, 40 inches.

Next, divide this by the measurement given for the bust measurement in the pattern as it is. We'll use 32 inches, as this is common for vintage patterns. 

40 inches / 32 inches = 1.25

This number is our 'factor' which will help you know how many stitches to cast on.

Use this 'factor' to multiply the original stitch count to fit your bust size instead. For example, if the instructions state to cast on 120 stitches:

 120 x 1.25 = 150 stitches

This can also be used for sleeves and any other parts of a pattern which need to be adjusted. You may need to take into account any increases and decreases for waist shaping, changes in stitch count after the ribbing etc. To accommodate this, pay attention to your pattern to add and subtract from the stitch count around the bust to find your original cast on stitch count. 

With alternative yarn:

Knit a swatch in the recommended stitch, large enough to accommodate the yarn growing, and block. Measure how many stitches are in one inch square, as we will use this as the number of stitches per inch.

Multiply the stitches per inch by your desired bust measurement, which will tell you how many stitches are required at your largest chest measurement.

Once again, you may need to adjust for any shaping which occurs in the waist, however this can also be used for sleeves. This also enables you to be aware of how much ease you'd like. 

In addition, it enables you to use yarn in resourceful ways, such as using secondhand yarn which we love the idea of here at VKP!

To accommodate stitch patterns:

Take some time to look at your pattern. If there is a repeating stitch pattern or motif, take note of how many stitches are involved with the repeat. For example, the 'Lorne' pattern uses 20 stitches in each repeat.

You can use either method in order to adjust the size, however I would recommend the second method. Simply knit your swatch using the pattern repeat and measure how many repeats are in an inch. You will also need to identify if there are border stitches in addition to the stitch pattern repeat.

Again, for example the Lorne pattern uses:

(20 stitch pattern repeat) x repeats required by bust measurement, in addition to two border stitches. 

Using this calculation will provide you the number of stitches to cast on for the bust measurement. Keep in mind you may also need to adjust for any increases after ribbing, or increases and decreases for waist shaping.

You might find that your measurement means you have to choose between rounding up or rounding down. Choose based on your preference for positive or negative ease, for a personalised fit. You may also be able to make the perfect measurement by increasing the number of border stitches, depending on the pattern and what your preference is. 

I realise that resizing a pattern can be simple in some cases, and a little tedious in others. I am confident with a little patience you will find the right measurement, but if not - reach out! This is what the vintage knitting community is for.



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