June 05, 2023 2 min read 2 Comments

What is ease in a sweater?

When we had the Rowan Trunk show, here last month, I tried on all the sweaters, as I always do, to share with you exactly what they look like on a real person without any fancy lighting, staging, or styling.  Just me and my Iphone in the shop.  This last time, though, Ginni, Mary, and I all happened to be in the shop when it was time to pack up the trunk show.  I thought it would be super helpful for you to see the same garments on our three different bodies.  

This was a perfect opportunity to talk about ease. 

What does ease mean in a sweater? 

Ease is simply the difference between the size of the garment and the size of the wearer's body.  Sweaters don't have ease by themselves. It's only when someone puts the sweater on that it has ease. That being said, a sweater may be designed to have a certain amount of ease, but the amount of ease you like is totally up to you.  For example, take a look at the three of us all wearing the exact same sweater. 

Ginni, Mary, and Ellen all wearing the same blue pullover in Rowan Cotton Cashmere


Just for reference, they sent the second size with a finished measurement of 39.75"

  • Ginni on the left is 5'10' with long legs and a small bustline.  She wears an A or B cup, and her full bust measures about 40"  (zero inches ease)
  • Mary, in the middle, is 5''8" with a large bust. Her full bust measures around 42" and she wears a DD cup. (2" negative ease)
  • Ellen(me) on the right and I'm 5'8" with a medium bust line. My full bust measures 36", and I wear a C cup. (4" positive ease)

We're all different sizes and shaped very differently, but the same sweater fits us all perfectly. We loved the neckline of this sweater - kind of a v neck that's pulled into an unusual shape by ribbing on either side.  Any of us could wear this sweater in this size and be perfectly happy.   

Here are the finished bust measurements for Lamorna 

Bust circumference: 35.75(39.75, 43.75, 47.75, 51.5, 55.5, 59.5, 63.5, 68)“

Yarn requirements : 8(9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16) balls Summerlite DK.  You will also need the Rowan Magazine 73 which has these  other patterns in it too. 

Here's another one we liked.  This one appeals to me because it works for this time of year as a vest over a long sleeved blouse and later on as a sleeveless top.

ginni mary and ellen in pink lace sweater vest
You can see how the exact same sweater fits each of us, and the size we would ultimately choose to knit depends entirely on our preferences.  
We'll talk more about ease in upcoming newsletters, but I wanted to share this with you so you could begin to see why there's so much confusion about choosing a size to knit.
What are your thoughts?  How do you like to wear your sweaters?  Tell me in the comments. I'd love to hear.  

2 Responses


June 06, 2023

I find I don’t like too much ease (anything more than 2”). It makes me feel sloppy. I have made some beautiful sweaters and tried to learn to like more ease, but now I know my better choice is to review the pattern and chose the one with less ease, or even negative ease. I also know that I prefer shaping to rectangles, because again, some shaping in the body gives me what I don’t have naturally :).


June 06, 2023

After moving to Tampa, I quickly learned that extra ease in summer garments is very welcome for air flow/coolness. Another consideration pertaining to ease.

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