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Tranquil Tank Top Knit-Along - Additional Sizes (Or How to Resize a Pattern)

Tranquil Tank Top Knit-Along - How to Resize a PatternWe've heard from several of you (thanks for asking, Karen, Kate, and Chelli!) who are looking to make the Tranquil Tank Top larger or smaller than the bust sizes in the pattern. Because of this, I wanted to write up a quick blog post about how you can resize a pattern WITHOUT rewriting the directions.

How? Most of you know that getting the correct gauge is how we make sure that the item we make ends up the size we expect based on the pattern. It's the reference point that makes sure that you're on the "same page" as the designer.

We've all had that experience at least once in our knitting/crochet lives, where we've skipped the gauge swatch and ended up with a project that's just too small or big. Well, by harnessing our gauge, we can purposely make a project larger or smaller.

Calculating Our New Gauge

First, I read through the pattern for the Tranquil Tank Top, and I see that the cast-on amount is the same as the bust stitch count (this makes things easier, as you'll want to base all the calculations on the bust size, which is the main sizing reference point for sweater patterns).

The sweater is made as a front and a back piece, so we know each piece is half of our bust measurement (which is the measurement around our bust/chest).

If you're looking for a bust size of 34 inches, using the Small directions (with a 66 stitch cast-on), let's do the math:

34 inches ÷ 2 pieces = 17 inches per piece (that's the front and back pieces of our sweater)

66 stitches ÷ 17 inches = 3.88 stitches per inch (or approx 15.5 stitches per 4 inches)

That would be the gauge we're looking for.

What Gauge Will YOU Need?

I've gone ahead and done the math so that YOU can simply use the gauge listed below for your project. Be sure and follow the right size directions, since that's what I did my calculations based on.

Desired Bust Size Stitch Gauge Recommended Yarns Which Size Directions to
34 inches (86 cm) 15.5 stitches per 4 inches/10 cm (or 3.8
stitches per inch)
Recycled Cotton, Cotton-Ease, Vanna's Choice S/M
36 inches (91 cm) 14.6 stitches per 4 inches/10 cm (or 3.66
stitches per inch)
Pattern's bust sizes include: 38 inches, 42 inches, and 47 inches
50 inches (127 cm) 13 stitches per 4 inches/10 cm (or 3.25
stitches per inch)
Baby's First, Wool-Ease Chunky, Tweed
52 inches (132 cm) 12.5 stitches per 4 inches/10 cm (or 3.125
stitches per inch)

You'll also see that I've recommended some yarns, which should work up to the gauges below. That's a consideration you may need to make when you upsize or downsize a pattern--find yarns that have a similar recommended gauge to the one you're aiming for. I highly recommend Baby's First as a great yarn to try for this garment--you can see here that I've even used it to resize another garment.

For the smaller sizes, the originally recommended yarns should work, but in all cases always use your judgement when seeing how your swatch works up. Switch yarns if it's not working out. (Is it too holey? Too dense? Is it drapey enough?)

Other Considerations

These calculations will give you the new width, but as you're working, be sure to keep an eye on the length of the pieces and see if you want to make adjustments as well. You may find that you want to add (or subtract) length to the ribbing or even the shoulder strap sections. Just be sure to write down any changes you make to the back, so that you make them for the front as well!

A great trick is to string your fabric onto waste yarn (a smooth cotton/cotton-blend yarn works well) and then take it off your needles and hold it against yourself (or if you're far enough along, pinning the pieces together and trying it on.

I hope that these tips help you--and I hope that those of you who were on the fence about participating in the knit-along due to the size options will use this information to join in!

Join us again on Thursday for Heather's regularly scheduled knit-along blog post. 

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