# What does size 40 actually mean?

If a pattern for a men’s sweater says size 40, is that the man’s actual chest measurement or the finished measurement of the sweater (circumference at the chest)? TIA

Cheers,
Carol

I always heard that if it says “finished measurement” it means that it is the finished measurement of the garment when you are done knitting it. If it doesn’t say “finished” and it just says “measurements” it means it will fit that person’s actual chest measurement.

I have always used that as a guide but I haven’t made a ton of garments so maybe someone else can say if that’s correct??? My Mom used to teach knitting and she is the one that told me so I’m assuming it’s correct…Mom’s are always right,…right??? Hahaha!

If the body of the sweater is knitted in the same stitch that’s given for the gauge, then you can figure it out: Let’s say you are supposed to cast on 100 sts for the front and 100 sts for the back, and you have a gauge of 18 sts per 4". Take the total cast on sts for the back and front, which is 200, and divide that by the number of sts per 4", which is 18. You’ll get close to 11. Then multiply that by the 4", and you get 44. That’s the [B][U]finished[/U][/B] size of the sweater. The other thing to do is to divide the 4" by the 18 sts, and you get 4.5. Divide 200 by 4.5 and you’ll get about 44. (If it’s a ribbed or cabled pattern and the gauge is given for stocknette st, then this doesn’t work!)

Uh, I don’t understand. My question isn’t about the relationship between the gauge and the size. I’m asking whether men’s sweater sizes correspond to their actual chest size. I think maybe I need to go to the source of the pattern and ask them what their size 40 refers to.

Cheers,
Carol

I believe that it is the size of the finished garment. It usually says on the pattern so do check that to be sure.

Here’s what I meant-- If you have a sweater pattern and it says it’s size 40, the calculations I gave were to figure out the finished measurements. So if you do the math and find out that the actual chest measurement of the sweater is going to be 46", then what they meant was that the [U]person’s[/U] chest measurement is 40". But if you do the math and come up with the actual chest measurement of the sweater is going to be 40", then they meant that the [U]sweater’s[/U] measurement is going to be 40".