Finished garment bigger than pattern

I made a sweater for my husband. Before I started I checked the gauges and adjusted my needle size accordingly. I followed the pattern for the specified size and the finished measurements were correct, but the sweater ended up being too big. The chest measurement on the pattern was for 57 inches. When I washed it, I measured it and it was 66 inches. Is there something I need to know about the difference between finished garment measurements before it is washed and after?


Washing sweaters can be kind of tricky. Some of them you can just toss into the dryer - this works for synthetic yarns that have already been blocked. Some are practically guaranteed to shrink - particularly cotton-fiber yarns. Others, like wool, need special tender-loving care to wash - meaning cold water and gentle washing.

To be safe, I’d just wash in cold water then lay your sweater out on a flat surface, bunching it and spreading it out to meet the initial measurements - then let it air-dry.

Hope this helps,

Usually you have to wash your swatch too, because some yarns stretch or open up as you found out. That’s how you find out how the yarn will behave after washing.

What kind of yarn did you use? Bamboo is very drapey and needs to be knit tighter, cotton stretches and the dryer helps.

If you knit loose you may need to go down a size.

And sometimes gauge swatches lie…

I used Patons Classic Wool Tweeds Merino. It is 90% wool, 7% acrylic, and 3% viscose.

I’m already planning another project and the swatch is ready to wash. Do cable patterns and ribbing open up more when washed, or does it depend on the yarn used ?

Thank-you for your help.

Do cable patterns and ribbing open up more when washed, or does it depend on the yarn used ?

While it can depend on the fiber content it can also vary by mfg. I’ve done lots of charity pieces with acrylic and sometimes the cables poof up and draw in, while (on a recent piece) the cables smoothed out and became very flat. Ribbing has done the same for me…sometimes really snugs up and almost gets too tight. Other times it loses a lot of its elasticity. (That happened in some hats wherein they also got very limp.)

Best test? Swatch>wash/dry. And if you have cables and ribbing in the same piece, I’d swatch both, separately, and see how they respond.