I was told that

When knitting jumpers/vests/tops the fronts should be a few stitches wider than the backs.

Forgive my ignorance, but I’ve never noticed that. Is it true? Does it matter?


Only the ones for girls :slight_smile:
Just teasing you … I have never really noticed if there is a difference in most sweater patterns or not. I do know that in “Big Girl Knits” there are short rows in the fronts of many of the designs to add shaping.

I can’t speak specifically to knit patterns, but patterns for clothing in general usually should have a balanced side seam – that is, one that runs down the center of the side line of the pattern. The exception to this is seams that are pushed forward or backward for reasons of style and design; when you’re working in fabric, though, you have to watch the grain line when you do this – in knit, it’s probably less of a problem, although on an unstable yarn, a seam can help support the weight of the garment.

Some designers will push the side seam forward, feeling that it’s a slimming line – try it and see of you agree. It tends to work better if it’s a set in sleeve with a close-fit armscye, rather than a boxy, loose fit.

Anyway, all of that is to explain that the measurement of the front half of the ellipse of a person’s body usually is bigger than the back, whether man or woman. Breasts and stomachs must be allowed for. In a knit, you can often get away with not changing the measurement of the front, due to the nature of knit fabric and how much ease is in the pattern. The tighter the fit, the more you need to allow for the front being bigger than the back in order to keep a side seam properly balanced and the grain on-line and the fabric undistorted.

Even with a knit, as the fit gets tighter, the more you stand a chance of distorting the fabric as it stretches to cover bigger bumps, so a lot depends on how much distortion of the fabric is acceptable to you.

There’s been a discussion in the pattern forum on a pattern called Tatiana – I haven’t been following it, but when I glanced at it fairly early on, the picture seems to me to show that it’s an example of a designer who was not allowing for the body not being flat.


ETA: You can usually tell if a sweater needs shaping by simply looking at the seam while it’s on the body. If you’re examining a plain old regular side seam, stand sideways to the mirror and lift your arm so you can see it. If it’s pulling forward or backward instead of running a straight line down, you know that you should add width (or subtract it, in some cases) where it’s pulling. If the sweater has enough ease that the seam is running straight, don’t worry about it. :slight_smile:

If this is an area you’re interested learning more about, you might want to take a look at this article on short rows, and using them to add actual space for our bodies’s various lumps and bumps!

Debbie, What is your Avatar? Are those knitted Alligators? :??

I’d like to see them but the avatar is so tiny. They look really cool.

The sweater I’m knitting has identical fronts and backs, up to the arm shaping at least.

I was looking at those alligators too. They look very interesting.

Not Debbie, but I believe it’s this pattern:

Most probably because there is enough extra ease to allow for that. Generally, like Globaltraveler explains, there are differences in items that are more fitted. Woven fabrics have much more need to have wider fronts. Usually, from the armhole up, the front gets larger than the back on women’s and men’s knitted items.

T-shirts are a great example… In production, they are actually cut from tubular knit, laid flat with a fold for both the front and back. They are then cut with the armhole in the center of the pattern. The higher end companies do place the armhole closer to the back fold but most just center the pattern. If you’ll notice, the necks on some t-shirts is usually to high on your front neck as well. Scoop neck t’s take care of this. Another good reason to use short rows on the back near the neckline on percentage, top-down, knitted sweaters and tops.

In fact, the more expensive the t-shirt, it’s usually because they’ve taken the trouble to actually make the thing fit, give it an actual waist, maybe a dart or two, etc. The less expensive a t-shirt, the more you’ve probably got “tube with holes in”.

T as Tube :oo: and I always thought it was the T shape (from the front or back). :shrug:

Thanks! Now I know why to add room in the front on fitted projects.

What we know, no one ever diets to get a "flat back."
It’s always about a flatter front (belly) isn’t it?


That’s because no one can see their back. :wink:

Which can lead to some ugliness with too tight bra bands and T-shirts…

eta: which I know firsthand - I can never lose that loose skin that bubbles up over the darn thing.