Adjusting a Knitted Garment

Just wondering if it is actually possible to adjust a knitted garment once it has been knitted. Someone told me a friend of hers had knitted her a nice jacket but that it had turned out too big. The friend was going to fix it so that it would fit, but apparently she still has it, about 2 years later. My friend asked if I would be able to take it in for her, provided she could get the jacket back from this other woman. I said I wasn’t sure it was possible to ‘take in’ a knitted garment the same way as you take in a sewn garment. I also warned her I was a very slow knitter and it make take me a while to knit her the complete jacket. I was thinking I would have to redo the side and sleeve seams, making them further in from the edges of the knitting, but it’s probably not as simple as that.

Would like to hear what you think.


If one is brave a determined one could steek each side of a sweater, meaning cut it, and then sew it together at a smaller size and cut off the excess. You would have to sew on a machine a line or two of stitches on each side you want to cut to prevent raveling and then mattress stitch the new edges together. But it would depend on the sweater and pattern as to how easy this would be. Easier with a plain sweater than say a lacy or cable one where the design might be disrupted. It would be more difficult with slippery yarn as well. The sleeves might need dealing with in a similar manner also.
One can also rip out the bottom to make it shorter and re-knit the lower edge.

All this is scary but possible I think.

I don’t think I want to go the way of steeking, thank you - not when it’s someone else’s garment and I’ve never steeked before. I think she would be better to get someone to start afresh with the item - someone who knits quicker than me.


Steeking freaks me out too. I tried it once on the armholes of a doll sweater to learn the technique. It did work. I also used part of the sleeve to make an armhole facing. So the cut edges were enclosed.

How much too big is this jacket? You could make larger side & sleeve seams. But that might mess up the way the bust shaping falls on the body.

Sometimes, it is better to give the jacket to someone who can wear it. And reknit a new one in a smaller size. Of course, her friend could unravel the whole thing & start over.

Good idea to try it out on a doll’s garment, Abby - also the facing idea.

I haven’t seen the lady for a couple of weeks, but I think I would agree with you that she would be better letting someone else have the jacket and getting someone to knit her another. I don’t know how much too big it is, but she did say that her friend seemed to be a rather loose knitter.


Hi, Gillian! :waving:

I’m not too sure about this, especially when going from larger to smaller, but is it possible that blocking the piece could be done is such a way that the garment comes out smaller than it would be right off the needles?

I’m a great fan of blocking knitted pieces since they present themselves so much more professionally that way. And I know that if I need to “nudge” a piece slightly larger that I can block it that way and it’ll usually do the trick.

I would think the same thing goes with blocking smaller. I guess you’d lay out the garment and, without stretching it much, pin it down and let it dry. You could probably do this with the jacket sewn together but you might want to invest the time to take the pieces apart, block the pieces and then re-connect them.

There are lots of folks on here who can tell us if this will work and I’ll be very interested to hear their comments.

Happy knitting and good luck! :knitting:

Ruthie :hug:

Blocking doesn’t make things smaller, or not very much, and shrinking/felting something made with wool doesn’t always work either. If something’s too big, you either reknit or cut. I find it a lot easier to reknit than figure out a way around it.

Cut and Sew is actually a very simple process, you just treat the knit as you would any fabric, it is best if you have a serger. If you know someone who has a knitting machine have them knit you a strip of fabric and try it out before you work on the actual garment.

Thanks for all your replies. I really don’t feel that I can take on this job as I am just not good at that sort of thing. My friend just saw me knitting and thought I could do it. I have suggested - and she agrees - that she ask her friend to give her back the item, then give it to me and I will take it to our lys lady who also does sewing repairs and ask her for her opinion. It’s not even my friend’s friend who knitted the thing, but some lady that she knows.


Just to let you know, I saw the garment last Thursday. It has a variety of lovely bright colours in it and doesn’t look massively too big. The knitter has made a couple of adjustments to it - she added a collar where there was just a low round neck and did something to tighten the cuffs. My friend and I decided the only thing that really needed to be done to it was to take it up at the hem. She said she could do that herself. There is no way I would want to do anything else with it because of the pattern and because it is such a lovely garment. She has all the colours of an archery target in it plus a bright green, with some left over, so I plan to knit her a hat out of those.


Having agreed to take the jacket up at the hem and possible give me the left-over yarn to knit an archery beanie for her, my friend and archery coach still wanted something done to fix the jacket. She doesn’t like the fact that the extra bit at the neck was knit in cream instead of white and now says she finds the cuffs far too tight. I would agree with her about the cuffs - they were rather tight when I tried on the jacket. Somehow it ended up that she decided to give the jacket to charity and I said I would look at the pattern and see if I could knit another one for her. I just hope she’s not in a big hurry for it.


The update on this saga is that my friend does not like the adjustments that have been made to her jacket - and I can’t say I blame her. The collar has been knit in cream, where the border is white, and the cuffs are far too tight now. I have brought the jacket to my lys where the ladies told me that the yarn used has since been discontinued and that the jacket should be reworked in a similar chunky yarn. They have a lady who knits for them but would need to ask her if she could take on this project. The owner of the store was heading off on holiday for 3 weeks but said to contact her after that about it. I think if the knitter she has mentioned can’t/won’t do it, I’ll undo the extra collar and cuffs and offer the jacket to the charity shop where I volunteer once a week.

I would love to take on the challenge of this project, but not for someone else - it would take me far too long.