How to Choose Size When Crocheting a Garment

Janne Kleivset
Last Updated
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A question I often get asked is “How to choose size when crocheting a garment?”.

It’s all tied up to wanting to crochet something that actually fits.

You’re in luck, because I’m about to share my favorite tips with you!

How to Choose Size When Crocheting a GarmentPin Pin


1. Know your measurements

When you want to choose size when crocheting a garment, this is naturally the first step.

It is kind of obvious, but it’s also the step many of us skip. Including me…

The only thing you have to do is to grab that tape measure, and measure your body.

choose size when crocheting a garment Pin

Since I mostly design tops, cardigans and sweaters…

These are the most important measurements to know of in my opinion:

A: Armhole circumference

B: Upper arm circumference

C: Bust circumference

D: Waist circumference

E: Hip circumference

If you’re going to crochet something for your lower body, you would of course measure accordingly.


In some cases crocheted garments aren’t shaped in the waist. Because of that you could easily scrap that waist measurement and focus on the bust and hip.

To make it simple for you, I’ve created a downloadable measurement card that you can print & keep within hands reach when you want to crochet your next garment.

2. What is ease?

When crocheting garments, in many cases you’ll come across the term “ease”. You can have negative ease, no ease or positive ease. 

In most cases people tend to wear a garments with standard fit, which is 5 – 10 cm / 2” – 4” bigger than their actual body measurement. Those garments have positive ease.

This is also one of the potential pitfalls when choosing size, so keep reading.

So what is it exactly? 

The ease is how much bigger/smaller the garment is than your actual body measurement. 

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Getting garments in a store:

When purchasing a garment from a store, you may already know your size.

As an example, I’m typically a size XL. That means I’ll go looking at garments with that size tag.

What the producers of those clothes have done is to create garments that typically fit a size XL (in their opinion).

That means they’ve most likely added positive ease to some of the garments, by knowing the measurement range for that size & then added a certain amount of inches/cm to those garments.

The result is that I’ll find a garment with my size tag that have some range of positive ease, and are comfortable to wear.

In some cases they may want no ease or negative ease, for clothes like jeans or other garments that are meant to fit close to the body. In that case they will use the measurement range for that size, avoid adding extra inches/cm to those garments.

The freedom to choose ease when crocheting a garment:

One of the positives when it comes to crocheting a garment is that you can choose how much ease you want.

Do you want negative ease, no ease or positive ease?

By knowing your body measurements you’re one step closer to deciding what type of ease you want. But first it’s helpful to know another set of numbers….

Don’t want to keep this a secret? Share on Pinterest!

How to Choose Size When Crocheting a Garment Pin

3. Know the measurements of your favorite similar garment

So here’s where I share my best secret to choose size when crocheting a garment.

To avoid getting things too complicated when crocheting garments, this one is the best.

1 – Go grab your favorite similar garment to the one you’re going to crochet. I know you have that garment you feel fits you perfectly & you want to wear over and over.

2- Then measure that garment the same way you did on your body earlier.

choose size when crocheting a garment Pin

4. Know your desired ease

This step is this simple formula:

Your favorite garments measurements – your body measurements = your desired ease.

By knowing the difference between your body measurements & the measurements for your favorite garment, you have more knowledge when choosing size when crocheting garments.

You can use this to your advantage in the next step.

5. In the crochet pattern: Figure out the size that’s closest to your desired size

In this final step to choose size when crocheting a garment, you’re ready to dive into the crochet pattern.

On a crochet pattern you’ll most likely find a table of all sizes, a chart that shows all measurements and/or a list of important measurements.

Important: These are the measurement of that finished garment.

It may also note what ease it’s written for. But that doesn’t mean you have to crochet it with that ease, you can choose based on your previous research.

So all you have to do now is look at those numbers give, then compare them to your actual body measurement & the measurements of your favorite similar garment.

Based on that you can choose the size fit’s best your desired result.

Important note: You have to check your gauge after making your decision. If not, all your preparations may be wasted.

Learn all the details about testing gauge when crocheting garments here. 

Now you know how to choose size when crocheting a garment! 

How to Choose Size When Crocheting a Garment Pin

Love what you’ve learned, don’t keep this a secret.

Share with your crochet friends!

— Janne

Janne Kleivset

Janne Kleivset

Founder, Crochet Pattern Designer & Owner of Joy of Motion Crochet.

Janne has helped millions of crocheters find their next crochet project with more than 250 free crochet patterns and 110 crochet tutorials on her blog.

With more than two decades of crochet experience, and crochet designing since 2011, she's been featured on multiple prominent sites such as Lion Brand Yarn, in crochet magazines and the OML "Make" book.

Learn more about Janne.


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