Sizing issue

This is something that’s confused me from my first pattern:

When looking at the ‘finished chest circumference’ for a sweater, does that mean the circumference of the sweater or the wearer? If it’s for the sweater, how do you deduce the ease?

For example, I’m looking at a sweater pattern for DS, whose chest circumference is 19" at 17 months. The sizes for the sweater are 3 months, 6 months, 9 etc up to 14 months. If I knit the 18 month size, the circumference is 26 inches! Yikes! That’s bigger than his entire torso, arms included. But I hate the thought of knitting a whole sweater and it being too small for him by the time it gets cool enough to wear.

Yes, it’s the finished circumference. The pattern may have a lot of ease which would make it bigger. You can, and should, do a gauge swatch and figure out your stitches per inch (measured over 4 inches). The size on the pattern is based on that particular weight of yarn and needle size, but you’re gauge may be different.

That would be the measurement of the finished item. Some kids patterns run really big, Debbie Bliss ones for example. You would probably need up to 4" of ease for a kid’s sweater, but not 8". So go for a size that’s about 22-23" around, make it an inch or two longer and your son will probably be able to wear it until he’s 3.

Ok, got it. A 4" ease sounds like plenty, especially since his waist is the same size as it was a year ago! I live in constant anxiety that tomorrow he’ll have grown six inches and his voice will have dropped an octave…ok maybe not quite yet. Thanks!

Kids pretty much grow up for several years far faster than they grow out. So if you want to make the body and sleeves a couple inches longer, he’ll be able to wear it a year or two with the sleeves rolled up in the beginning.