Did you ever knit a sweater with a pattern in your size, but have it turn out completely the wrong size? What happened? Perhaps you grew size chart or shrunk since last time you measured yourself or your knitting gauge was off. Or maybe the knitting pattern designer used a different standard size chart. How can you know what size he or she means? How can you know your sweater will fit?

Finding the right pattern size can take some study.

Start with the number of inches in the sizing pattern’s chest size. The given finished size might or might not include ease at all, much less the amount of ease you like best.

If you’re lucky, the pattern will give you the chest size the sweater will fit–and also the approximate finished bust size in inches. What’s the difference? The designer is showing you how much ease he or she factored in. Aces!

Next check the gauge for the pattern.

Say it’s 20 stitches for 4 inches, and let’s say you get this gauge when you knit your swatch.

Pick the sweater size you think will fit you.

Now add the amount of ease or wiggle room you prefer. Say you want 42 inches total around the chest. The number of stitches you need for this particular sweater is 210 stitches.

Double check if the pattern says you’ll have enough stitches at the chest.

Maybe it doesn’t say.

In that case count the cast on stitches and add the increases you’ll make until the chest is reached. How many stitches does the pattern call for? Anywhere near 210 stitches?