Now in CustomFit: Drop Shoulder Sweaters

Hello, knitters! It’s impossible to overstate how excited I am to be writing this post.

You can now create a drop shoulder custom pattern via CustomFit. On the customization page, a new drop-down called “construction” will allow you to choose either the currently-existing set-in sleeve construction, or (for allowed designs) the drop shoulder construction.

A screenshot of the drop-down menu allowing you to select a drop shoulder construction for select CustomFit designs.

What will selecting the drop shoulder construction do?

Good question! Selecting the “drop shoulder” construction has two major effects:

  • The sleeves and armholes will be written to match a drop shoulder vs. a set-in sleeve armhole construction. Instead of being curved to match the shoulder joint, a drop shoulder armhole is a straight line that should be located past the breakpoint of the shoulder.
  • The “close, average, relaxed, oversized” fit descriptions will correspond to a larger amount of ease appropriate for a drop shoulder garment. Drop shoulder sweaters require more ease through the arms and torso than a set-in sleeve sweater.

Here’s a schematic look at how the shapes and sizes of these two constructions differ:

Comparison schematics, to scale, of drop shoulder and set-in sleeve sweaters.
These schematics are to scale for the same body. Drop shoulder garments have deeper armholes, larger biceps, and are wider overall than a set-in sleeve garment for the same person’s measurements.

The rest of the design’s elements: neckline width and depth, trim stitches and heights, any stitch pattern or other design features, all stay the same. In both constructions, you will be able to select different sweater lengths, sleeve lengths, and torso shaping options as before.

Selecting a drop shoulder construction will change the look of the garment even without changing any other element! Here are two versions of the Catboat design: On the left, Beth is wearing a set-in sleeve Catboat in an average length with hourglass shaping. On the right, I’m wearing a drop shoulder Catboat in a long sweater length with no shaping.

Two versions of the Catboat design, one in a set-in sleeve construction and one in a drop shoulder construction.

In general, a drop shoulder version of a design will look less tailored and body-conscious than a set-in sleeve version of the design. I personally prefer drop shoulder garments with fabrics that have a decent amount of drape, but your mileage may vary there.

Navigating other choices

In addition to changing the construction, you can still customize loads of other things about the design. You’ll still be able to choose from different fits, torso shaping silhouettes, sleeve, and sweater lengths.

This means you can wind up with a sweater that looks quite different from the original! Which can feel daunting until you build up a good intuition for how different options might change a design’s appearance. For example, all three of these garments are the same design (the Firth v-neck pullover):

Three different versions of the Firth design, looking quite different.
From left to right: A set-in sleeve Firth with hourglass shaping, average length, and an average fit. A set-in sleeve Firth with a-line shaping, tunic length, and an average fit. A drop-shoulder Firth with half-hourglass shaping, a long length, and a close fit.

What should you choose? It’s up to you, and what you like to wear. My advice when exploring the drop shoulder construction is to avoid full hourglass shaping, and start with average and longer lengths. Drop shoulder garments are meant to be oversized and not especially body-conscious, and short fitted torsos look odd with those big shoulders.

There’s one other customization option available only for drop shoulder sweaters: Drop shoulder sweaters need deeper armholes than set-in sleeve sweaters to enable a full range of motion. CustomFit handles this by taking your set-in sleeve armhole depth (that’s saved in your measurement set) and adding some amount to it. Exactly how much gets added is configurable in the menus were you can adjust sleeve and sweater length:

A screenshot of the personalize screen with drop shoulder armhole depth added.

If you’re not sure, or have never knit a drop shoulder sweater before, “average” is a good place to start.

Ready to get started? Want to know more?

If you want to know everything there is to know about making drop shoulder sweaters you love, I’ve written a tutorial to help out.

I’ve also made a few tiny helper pages that you can see as you’re customizing your design, should you need them. Here’s a picture of how to find them:

A screenshot of where extra information on silhouette, fit, and construction are located.

I’ve started by enabling the drop shoulder construction on a smallish subset of CustomFit’s designs; most of them do not have pictures of a drop shoulder version. To see a complete list of drop-shoulder-enabled designs within CustomFit itself, visit the full CustomFit design list and click the “drop shoulder sweaters” button at the top of the page.

If you have any questions about how a particular design will look in the drop shoulder construction, please feel free to reach out or chat with us in my Ravelry group.

I’m so stinking excited for this MAJOR new CustomFit feature. I hope you are, too.

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