#KnitPetiteProject: What fit sacrifices does a petite person make when wearing a non-petite sized garment? Hearing from REAL knitters!

Our last post examining the value in a difference between regular and petite sizing.
The #KnitPetiteProject plan.

All other #KnitPetiteProject posts.

Please lend a hand to the #KnitPetiteProject and answer this brief survey!

So far in the #KnitPetiteProject our sources have been from fibre science and garment design scholars, knitting experts, and some internet sleuthing for information shared by apparel manufacturers and retailers.

This week, we’ll turn to the actual, lived experience of real knitters.

The question we’re looking at in this post is: if a petite person does not modify their knitting to accommodate their shorter vertical lengths, what are the repercussions?

The following are comments shared from the first #KnitPetiteProject survey (information collected anonymously) and shared in a forum on Ravelry (posters kept anonymous):

Waist and Bust Shaping and Torso Lengths

  • Waist shaping is always an issue, since my torso is not super long and never seems to align with where shaping starts/ends in a pattern. I have tried to do the math with my measurements and gauge and the schematic. Disaster.
  • The waistline of fitted clothing always hits me in the wrong place (it’s too low).
  • I wonder about modifying for my petite, large-breasted, but not fat-bellied body. If I select a pattern for my bust size, it’s often too big in the waist and shoulders.
  • At just under 5’ tall, I have had the tunics that ended up as dresses, and sleeves best suited to an orang-utan.
  • I’m 5 feet tall, but I’m busty, which makes everything difficult. If I find something that fits my measurements around my bust, I wind up cutting six inches off to make it short enough.
  • I have to stay away from large-scale cable or diamond-shaped aran patterns because my tweaking for less stitches around the bust would usually alter the appearance relative to my adjusted neckline and armholes.

Shoulders, Back and Arms

  • I often have to adjust armhole depths, overall length, and inc/dec frequency.
  • When I knit patterns based on my bust size, the rest of the sweater is too big. How do I modify the pattern so the body of the sweater fits properly?
  • I have short arms and am narrow through the shoulders but a regular bust size and distance across the back. Neck and shoulder fitting and shortening sleeves are sometimes difficult.
  • I avoid raglan styles due to difficulty in shortening pattern proportionally
  • How to modify garments to fit my narrow shoulders without being too tight in the sleeves and on the rest of my L/XL torso.


  • The other thing I’m currently thinking about is proportion. Short and average sized means wearing a sweater with yoke patterning that comes down onto the upper arms just makes me look shorter and wider. Not flattering! So what kinds of designs would give me a longer, leaner line?
  • I need to modify knitting patterns for size and style. I love fisherman knit patterns, but the cables and other details can overwhelm me at 5′ and 110 lbs.

Petite Plus

  • I’m petite and full figured, and I feel that I need to resize the length of sleeves but not the length of the body, what gives?
  • I’ll be the lone voice in the wilderness calling for petite plus sizes. I don’t sew, but I do knit. I have no idea how to adapt patterns.
  • …I am mightly irritated by the standard assumption that as we grow bigger in the bust, we will need huge sleeves, wide necklines, and an armhole depth of 10” or more. Or that as we grow wider, we grow taller! …

The Second #KnitPetiteProject Survey!

In February and March we’ve laid a foundation for WHY we may encounter petite fit issues. This month were looking in depth at what those petite fit issues are. I’m asking for YOUR HELP, and sharing the results of the survey at the end of April.

Please lend a hand to the #KnitPetiteProject and answer this brief survey!

Fun Fact

This post was inspired by a book resource recommended to the #KnitPetiteProject, Fit for Real People. We’ll be looking more in depth at this book in the coming weeks. It’s pretty easy to get online via sellers like Amazon if you’re interested in reading along! This is a fantastic example of how all of us working together and sharing information is building a resource we can all use to help us fit our knits to our own bodies!


Have you ever been measured by an expert (ie: seamstress, bra-fitting, any tailoring, etc…)?

#KnitPetiteProject: What fit sacrifices does a petite person make when wearing a non-petite sized garment? Hearing from REAL knitters!

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