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Frustrated with size problems in designs

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Okay, I'm very frustrated, so this is probably sounding more like a ranting temper trantum, but the point is valid. I love to crochet (and knit) tops for myself and my family, and I'll pay good money for a nice pattern. However, if I'm going to spend $8 to $12 for a single pattern that is written in multiple sizes, I expect to actually have the size I make actually fit me.

 

It seems like many designers write the pattern for the smallest size, then just add inches/stitches to the pattern to make the #'s work without considerations of what the end product will look and fit like. A very common problem is with armhole depth.

Example: Sweater with average ease:

Size 34 - Armhole depth 8"

Size 42 - (My size) Armhole depth 11"

Now folks - 11" makes the bottom of the armhole almost at my waist which is not the way this is designed to fit. And yes - that's actually the

way the schematic shows on this pattern! Please folks - I'm a bit busty - not Godzilla!

 

This is also common with raglan shaping where designers just continue the raglan increases until they get enough stitches to meet the body width intended without consideration that the armhole depth is way too deep for the larger sizes.

 

Please, Please! If you're going to write clothing patterns in multiple sizes, make sure that the pattern will fit and look as intended for all the sizes. Otherwise, don't do it. I've now reached the point where I won't buy a pattern any longer unless I can see the schematic of it before hand. I've invested in a few books focusing on design, and I'll now invest the time to develop my own patterns.

 

Kathy

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The latest email from Carol Alexander talks about using existing sewing patterns as guidelines for crocheting custom-made clothing. Here's a link: http://promotions.drgnetwork.com/newsletters/talkingcrochet/index.html. It looks like a decent compromise to your (mine) frustration. (Scroll down to "French Crochet.")

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I was wondering, for the past couple of months, if this would work. I have wanted to make a few patterns, but have been worried about them not coming out right, sleeves for instance. I think I may have to give this method a try. I hate the paper patterns though, but I guess you could trace it onto something a bit more stronger so that it doesn't get torn. :think

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You have a legitimate complaint. Sizing is the most difficult part of designing for publication. We have many new designers creating exciting patterns, but who have little conception of sizing, or grading as it is known in the sewing industry.

 

As sizes get larger, shoulders and neck backs don't get proportionately larger, and arms don't get longer.

 

There is no way you can enlarge a pattern using percentages. And some designs simply don't translate well from a size 6 to a size 22.

 

Voice your complaint to the designer from whom you purchased the

pattern. Unless people complain, a designer does not learn what is wrong and how to correct it.

 

Jean Leinhauser

<www.creativepartners.com>

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Here is a simple method to make my own patterns which I use for years. It has never let me down. For most cases you don't really need a full scale pattern. A small sketch is quite enough.

 

http://www.smart-knit-crocheting.com/make-a-sweater.html

 

If you have a plus size, some adjustments have to made to it:

 

http://www.smart-knit-crocheting.com/plus-size-sweater.html

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It's hard enough for designers of sewing patterns to grade/size patterns when they can very easily change dimensions on a ready-made large flat piece of fabric. I think some crochet designers don't have a background in pattern grading, which would really help them make better-fitting garments in different sizes.

 

It's once thing to design a pattern and create it specifically to fit yourself or another person. Even if you know how to properly grade for pattern sizing (so each measurement changes appropriately: some a lot, some a little, some not at all), if you're using a complicated stitch pattern repeat, it becomes very difficult to figure out how to change dimensions of each pattern piece properly.

 

This is one reason why I have no desire to design crochet garments. I think I could easily come up with something to fit myself. Even though I know a little bit about and I have some reference books on grading sewing patterns, trying to manipulate a complex crochet pattern into the required dimensions is more than I want to tackle!

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i can not complain when it comes to sizing items for myself or my younger daughter. i have no waist. i mean you can only fit 3 fingers between my lowest rib and my hip. so i have to really watch. as for my daughter. she is 7. she only has a 21 inch chest but has a very long torso. she needs tops sized for an 8 to cover her length properly. unfortunately she would swim in that size top. i have to do different parts of tops following different sizes so they fit properly for the most part. because of these issues i prefer when a pattern has a schematic. this way i can see what i need to do to modify it to fit.

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I have been trying to find info on grading knitwear/crochet patterns for a long time, and if it's out there, I sure can't find it. The big conventions (CGOA and TKGA) have workshops about designing for the industry, but I've never seen anything about grading. I can find info on making a sweater to fit your own measurements, but not about making one pattern for multiple sizes. It's no wonder that crocheters and knitters are frustrated with patterns that don't fit!

 

I made a tank top from a pattern I found in a book, and I made it in one of the larger sizes given. The neckline, armhole, and other sizing were fine, but the other proportions were way off. The straps were as narrow as for the smaller sizes, so I looked like I was wearing a barrel with suspenders, like in the old cartoons.

 

I have found lots info for designing sewing patterns, and I have been working on adapting these for crochet, but I feel like I'm re-inventing the wheel. And of course, designing a garment in a woven fabric is different than designing a garment in a crocheted fabric.

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That happened to me with a vest I made. The vest is very nice but the armhole is down to my waist and its the way the pattern was written so its sitting in the closet. I'll probably rip it out because it looks awful the way it is.

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I absolutely love the ideas for these classs, Wheat.

 

One class on how to make pattern fitting adjustments to tailor a pattern specifically to fit you or the person you're making it for.

 

Then a much more in-depth class on pattern grading. That could work several ways: an all-day conference like Wheat suggested (where everyone is expected to stay in the classroom all day and work on assignments) or an ongoing set of seminars that is structured more like our current class setup. We'd probably charge the same amount either way, it's just whether the teacher/students prefers to cluster everything all in one long day or break it up over weeks or several months.

 

I just pulled some reference books off my shelves that people might like to take a look at for general information on fitting.

 

Finding What Looks Good on You

The first is Flatter Your Figure by Jan Larkey. This book has excellent information on taking lots of personal body measurements and using them to figure out what styles and garment shapes look best on you. This can help you realize that a pattern you really love will also look great on you, or realize that you may need to make some modifications to make that pattern look its best on you.

 

Making Patterns from Finished Clothes

Some people mentioned finding a piece of clothing that fits you well and looks good on you, and using that to draft pattern piece shapes and crochet pieces to fit those. Tracy Doyle wrote a good book on making sewing patterns from finished clothes, and you can use many of those same concepts for making crochet patterns. Check out Patterns from Finished Clothes.

 

Fitting Patterns

The next books are Fit for Real People by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto and Patternmaking for Fashion Design by Helen Joseph Armstrong. The first books tells how to adjust patterns to fit your figure needs. The second book is full of information on how to draft a pattern to fit your measurements in just about any style you can imagine. Lots of information that can be used for crochet, too.

 

Pattern Drafting

I also have a book from 1993 by Pamela Stringer called Pattern Drafting for Dressmaking. Helen Joseph Armstrong also has a newer one called Computer Generated Pattern Drafting I. I've not done anything with these, so I don't know how good they are.

 

There's a lot of reference material out there, if you're willing to learn a lot of dressmaking and patternmaking from a sewing perspective first. Or at least translate and adapt to what works for pieces of crocheted fabric versus woven or knit fabric available by the yard.

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Like many things, it is also at least to some degree a question of what knowledge you are willing to pay to gain.

 

Remember that these are very specialized skills that take a very long time to learn, perfect, and develop the ability to teach the skills to others. Teachers who make a business of teaching these skills to others do not come cheap, so please realize that class fees would likely be higher than what you're used to seeing for classes here at Crochetville.

 

But I can guarantee you that for those who are serious about developing their pattern design skills, any fee that we charged would definitely be worth the money!

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Great recommended books, Amy! I agree that being able to tailor a pattern is something that takes a long time to learn. It's a very sought after skill for sure and one many would definitely be willing to pay for. Not many people can look at a design and figure out just how and where to make those adjustments. It is extremely important, though, to learn because as mentioned, nobody's body fits a specific mode. I am always measuring, re-measuring and forever measuring because I like to get what I make to fit or be the exact size I want. The great thing about crochet is that there is so much give(stretch) to a piece that it conforms nicely.

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I think some crochet designers don't have a background in pattern grading, which would really help them make better-fitting garments in different sizes.

 

Even if you know how to properly grade for pattern sizing (so each measurement changes appropriately: some a lot, some a little, some not at all), if you're using a complicated stitch pattern repeat, it becomes very difficult to figure out how to change dimensions of each pattern piece properly.

 

I hear you, Amy! I have a background of 28 years in sewing for customers, everything from bridal and prom dresses to women's tailored suits, and that experience comes in handy for designing crochet patterns, but it still is difficult. When I was in my teens, I designed knitted fashions for Barbie dolls, and that experience also helps as I translate the fitting process to crochet.

 

A lot of it is try, try again, and then try some more! :)

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Perhaps we should start another thread and see how many would be willing to pay for a correspondence course and the possible steeper than expected materials & Supplies list not to mention a TON Of Homework because this is definitely a LEARN by DOING skill (as are all alterations)

 

Wheat

 

That's a good idea. I think we need a bit more information to give people about the minimum types of things they'd need.

 

I've never taken a course like this related to crochet. Any idea what type of time commitment would be necessary?

 

And any ideas about a basic supply list of items that would be different than what the average crocheter would have on hand? Things like a French curve ruler, for example. I've got so much of this stuff on hand from my heirloom sewing days that I don't remember what other people might not already have.

 

It might be good to put together a basic materials and supplies list and an estimated retail value of those items as a whole. Some people may already own some of the items, and wouldn't need to purchase everything. But it would give those who would need all the supplies a general idea of just how much supplies alone would cost, before they factor in a reference book/textbook and the teacher's fees.

 

Then members would better be able to tell us how much they'd be willing to pay for the ENTIRE experience.

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I was wondering, for the past couple of months, if this would work. I have wanted to make a few patterns, but have been worried about them not coming out right, sleeves for instance. I think I may have to give this method a try. I hate the paper patterns though, but I guess you could trace it onto something a bit more stronger so that it doesn't get torn. :think

 

I never tried it, but I have heard that you can buy fusible interfacing and fuse it to the back side of the paper pattern. You then have a pattern that won't tear.

 

Caroline

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Thank you everyone for the comments and suggestions. I've been studying every sewing pattern drafting book I can find. Most of them are decades old--is no one writing these any more?--and they are enormously helpful in explaining design and fit. There's a lot of math, geometry, and imagining in 3 dimensions, which I'm pretty good at.

 

I'm not suggesting I am now an expert--that comes only with time and experience--but I'm feeling more confident.

 

I'd love to hear how everyone else is doing!

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I was wondering if there is any software out there that can generate more sizes for you if you input a pattern you have designed. I found this:

 

http://www.yarn-store.com/knitware-knitting-software.html

 

Has anyone tried it? From the basic description it looks like that is what it does, but that the initial pattern design is limited to what you can pick from several drop down menus. It is not available for Mac though so I can't try it.

 

Amanda

Mobile, AL

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Since the threads and yarns available to me are completely different from the ones named in patterns, I always do my own sizing. Although I learned dressmaking and pattern-drafting from a Paris-trained teacher, I find the calculations are over-specific for knitted/crocheted garments. Fabric can be cut very,very accurately, stitches cannot be manipulated to the same degree. Over the years I have worked out my own strategies for getting a good fit, it is not all that difficult, and it need not be as technical as pattern-drafting is.

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