During the middle of the last century, the Air Force had a problem. It’s planes were crashing. A lot. They looked first at mechanical issues and then at pilot behavior. Then they looked at pilots themselves. Turns out that pilots were significantly bigger and taller than pilots were in the early days. But the cockpits had never been modified or redesigned. The Air Force began a huge study of its pilots. They measured the arms, legs, back, chest, etc, of every single pilot. Crunching this data gave them what they determined were the average measurements for pilot – the measurements around which they would redesign all the cockpits. One bright data analyst said, “Hold one,” and ran a check of this wonderful new average against individual pilots’ measurements. And guess what he found. Not a single pilot had those average measurements. Not one. None even came within even a few standard deviations in all the measurements. That’s right. Not one. What was required was not just a new seat design, but an adjustable seat.
It's the same with the modern clothing fashion industry, all the way to the handknitting sector. Designers write patterns in accordance with the standard body measurements put out by the Craft Yarn Council of America, those same brilliant folks who decided that a yarn that knits at 16 sts/4 inches should be in the same category as one that knits at 20, but I digress.
Some well-meaning person must have crunched the measurements of a few hundred women and said, “Here, these are the average measurements of a woman,” adding “You can adjust the numbers up or down by bust size.” Great. A list of measurements that belong to exactly no one, but all patterns are designed to fit. It’s no wonder that so many sweaters don’t fit. None of us is average. Of course not -- everyone knows that all knitters are above average. Seriously, though, it’s not the designers’ fault. Writing a pattern for every permutation of every measurement would be impossible, and the probably would still not be right. The onus is on us, the knitter, to be proactive – to get our measurements, and dedicate just a smidge of time in figuring out what tweaks will turn a sweater that doesn’t fit into one that does. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, let us do it for you. For a small one-time fee, we’ll take a complete and accurate set of measurements. With those measurements, we can even create a custom pattern for you based on a design you love that doesn’t come in your size. It’s an amazing and affordable luxury – like having an experienced seamstress tailor your clothing to your body. Not near the shop, or just trying to social distance? That’s fine. We can do it remotely. Grab your partner or a trusted friend, and we’ll walk you both through the process. It’s a small investment in yourself and your knitting.
I look forward to seeing you in the shop (we are open, Tuesday-Saturday 11-3 and Sundays 1-4) or at Crazy for Ewe Live on YouTube. You are always welcome here.
~EllenIf you liked this article. Please share it on Facebook!