Hello, lovely knitters!
I’ve been meaning to write up a blog post on what it’s like to use CustomFit these days for some time now. It’s been awhile since I’ve stepped through it with pictures and the basics here on the blog! So today, I thought I’d give you a step-by-step of what it’s like to get a sweater pattern written especially for you.
(For the purposes of this blog post, I’m going to assume that you’ve already saved your body measurements.)
Step 1: Get a pattern.
Unlike when I first started CustomFit, you can now purchase custom patterns directly from the shop like any other patterns. To see all of the custom pattern choices, first go to the shop, then click on the “CustomFit” category:
Scroll through to find something you like (or would like if it had a different fit, sleeve length, hem length, or torso shaping), add it to your cart, and purchase. Alternately, you can purchase a “Build Your Own Design” credit which allows you to make your own CustomFit design, or a “General Purpose” credit that’s good for any design in the site, now and forevermore.
(If you’re a Maker or Maker Plus subscriber, you get to skip this step – custom patterns come with your subscription. Yay!)
Step Two: Get a gauge.
Before CustomFit can make your pattern, you’ll need to save the gauge you’d like it to use in your account. That means you need to know what yarn you’d like to make the garment from. You can absolutely use the yarn I chose for the design if you’d like to – I’ve chosen it to complement the design, after all! But all of us want to substitute at least some of the time, and with CustomFit the sky’s the limit.
CustomFit will make your pattern in any gauge you like, specific to your hands and your needles, anywhere from laceweight to bulky. That means if you don’t like the weight of the yarn I used for a design, you get to switch it to whatever you like. The only cautionary tale here is that sometimes a stitch pattern or design feature wants something specific out of a yarn – and if that’s the case, the pattern page in the shop and the pattern page within the CustomFit section of the site will say so. Otherwise, use what you like.
One more note on yarn: Since you could use yarn at any gauge, giving yardage requirements for CustomFit patterns is a bit dicey. I recommend checking yardage for your desired gauge and size with Hannah Fettig’s Stashbot app. It’s what I use.
Once you’ve selected your yarn, swatch it until you have a fabric you like. Wash it and let it dry. Then, use dental floss or some other small slippery thing to mark off the rows and stitches you think will give you an accurate gauge estimate.
Measure your gauge by counting the number of stitches and rows you’ve marked, and then measure from one mark to the other using a ruler. You’ll wind up with something like:
23 stitches measures 4.875 inches; 18 rows measures 3.125 inches
Enter it into CustomFit’s “New Gauge” form exactly like that. No, it’s not “pretty”. It is accurate, though, and that’s what’s important.
Step 3: Customize your Pattern.
Okay, you’re now ready to customize (and knit) your pattern. Start by going to the CustomFit patterns section of your account. You can get there in one of three ways:
If you purchased a pattern in the shop, the pattern you purchased will be waiting in your “Ready to Customize” section:
Click on the pattern you purchased.
If you’re a subscriber, click on the “make a pattern” button in the blue menu and choose from the designs, basics, or build your own options.
Either way, you’re now at the main event: Actually creating your custom pattern.
Here, you’ve got the ability to:
- Name your pattern (I like to add the dates to mine);
- Choose which set of body measurements you’d like to create the pattern for;
- Select which gauge you’d like to create the pattern for;
- Choose which torso silhouette you’d like the pattern to have, from the allowed list for that design (some number of straight, a-line, tapered, or hourglass);
- Pick which of CustomFit’s four garment fits (close, average, relaxed, oversized) you’d like the sweater to have;
- And optionally, change the sleeve and/or sweater length from the defaults shown in the pattern photos.
Most of these are pretty self-explanatory, but let’s dive into two in more detail. Torso silhouettes refer to what kind of shaping the body of the sweater will have when complete.
- Straight silhouettes have no waist shaping; the circumference at the hips is equal to that at the chest.
- A-line silhouettes have a wider hem than bust/chest, and shaping is worked at the side seams evenly over the length of the body of the sweater.
- Tapered silhouettes have a narrower hem than bust/chest, with shaping worked at the side seams evenly over the length of the body of the sweater. These require a simple set of body measurements.
- Hourglass silhouettes include customized waist and bust shaping for your body.
Designs are marked with allowed silhouettes via small icons, and are typically pictured only in one silhouette. Fits refer to how loose the garment will be on your body, particularly in the shoulders. There’s no right or wrong answer for fits – here’s (roughly) how they break down:
- Close fit sweaters are intended to be worn pretty much next to the skin. They’re not too small or super-tight, but they’re trim to your body everywhere.
- Average fit sweaters are intended to be able to accommodate a fairly streamlined layer underneath. They’ve got more space than close fit sweaters, but aren’t what I would call loose.
- Relaxed fit sweaters give you a bit more breathing room, but you’re still only going to fit a single person in the sweater.
- Oversized sweaters have similar shoulder fit to relaxed sweaters, but with substantial positive ease throughout the body and arms.
Whichever choices you make, you can then click “customize fit specifics” to fiddle with each and every little measurement goal, or you can click “get this pattern” to see a final schematic of what CustomFit can do.
Step 4: Finalize and knit.
Once you’ve made all of your choices, you get to see CustomFit’s final numbers before you actually use up the customized pattern you purchased:
At the top of this page, there’s an overall dimensions summary plus estimations for yardage based on your gauge and dimensions. (Take these with a grain of salt, it’s tough to estimate yardage without substantial fabric samples.)
As you scroll down, you’ll see a schematic with all the measurements you might want to inspect. If you like what you see, click “get this pattern!” and you’re done. Or, “go back to fit information” and make some adjustments.
Once the pattern is finalized, it will show up in the “Ready to Knit” section of your account, where you can download a PDF as many times as you like – and get knitting. (Want to know what a pattern looks like? Here’s a sample PDF!)
Step 5: Dream of the next sweater.
The customization options available within CustomFit mean you can’t always know if you’d like a design based on the pattern picture alone. After all, these two sweaters were created from the very same CustomFit design, Firth:
In addition to the silhouette and length differences, different yarns made very different garments! One is worked in a sturdy worsted weight wool; the other is worked in a very lightweight merino wrapped with silk thread.
I hope this brief run-through of what it’s like to create a custom pattern with CustomFit has been helpful – if you have questions about anything, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments or reach out at [email protected] I’m always happy to help.
Until next time, happy knitting!