More Boxy Sweater Tips

I decided to write one post covering my thoughts on sweater sizing and at least one other on other tips. Let’s see where this goes.

Your fabric

I really think the fabric needs to have some drape. If you knit at a gauge that creates a firm fabric, it’s not going to have the drape that makes the silhouette flattering. The yarn you choose can also play a role.

So… it’s more important to get the drape than to get pattern gauge. If your gauge doesn’t match the pattern gauge, you may be able to knit a different size to get your desired fit.. I have two blog posts that can help you figure out what size to fit:

  1. Sweater math
  2. Boxy Sweater Sizing. This covers suggestions for determining where the drop shoulder will hit and your arm circumference at that point

The fit

The more ease you have, the more significant the difference between the center front/back and side bottom edge. Notice how the center hem rises as the sweater ease increases.

Design tweaks

Some ideas:

  • add short row shaping to the back to lower the center and make it more even with the sides (or add more to make it lower in the center)
  • Add a split hem (can combine with short row shaping in the back). Split hem can be same length in front and back or back can be longer
  • Add texture, stripes, color blocking.
  • Insert a overall lace pattern
  • Insert a lace panel (vertical or horizontal)
  • Change the stitch pattern for the bottom and sleeve bands. I love broken rib.
  • If you aren’t sure how long you want it to be (or want it as long as possible but are afraid of running out of yarn), start with a provisional cast on. After you add the neckband and sleeves, knit down to desired size (including bottom band).

There are probably hundreds of pattern designs on Ravelry with a boxy silhouette. In addiition to Joji Locatelli’s Boxy, Worsted Boxy, Little Boxy, VNeck Boxy and Elton (cardigan), I’ve knit Donner, Blueprint, Autumn Square and Light Trails. Because of my obsession with the Boxy silhouette, I’ve created a few bundles in Ravelry. (You have to be able to access Ravelry to see the bundles.)

If you find something you like in one of my bundles, I strongly recommend you add it to your Ravelry favorites or queue. I’m constantly making changes and delete things rather regularly.

Boxy Sweater Sizing

Let’s talk about Boxy sweater ease

I’ve knit eight Boxy sweaters (Joji Locatelli bottom up Boxy sweaters) and several others that have a boxy silhouette. I love wearing them and anticipate making many more. Some I’ve knit exactly as written in the pattern and some I’ve tweaked in one or more ways.

Nine Boxy Sweaters – All designed by Joji Locatelli.
Top row: Elton Cardigan, Worsted Boxy, Little Boxy (DK weight yarn)
Middle row: Worsted Boxy, Boxy (seamed), Boxy
Bottom row: VNeck Boxy, Boxy and (year another) Boxy

First I’m going to focus on selecting a size

You may not want the full amount of ease but don’t go too small. It’s a dropped shoulder design so it needs to be oversized. I think a minimum of 20-25% of your bust circumference is needed. For a 36” bust, that’s 7” to 8.4”. For a 42” bust that’s 8.5”-10.5”. If you are fuller at the waist or hips, you want to make sure there’s some ease there too.

If you reduce the amount of ease, the body will hit higher up on your arm. You may need a deeper arm opening because of this. You’ll probably want to knit your sleeve longer too.

1. to determine where the body hits on your arm, measure the width of your sweater. You can figure this width out from your swatch before you cast on and use that information to decide what size to knit before you cast on.

Measuring width on a top-down Boxy.
Measuring width on a bottom-up Boxy.

2. divide that number by 2. If the width of the sweater is 30”, that’s 15”

3. have someone measure your back width from the bump at the base of your neck down one arm to determine where the drop shoulder will land.

4. Measure your arm circumference at that point. Add 1/2” to 1 1/2” of ease. Divide that number by 2 to calculate the arm depth on your sweater body.

Where the drop shoulder will land.

That’s it for now. I’ll be writing a few other posts covering other tips for Boxy sweaters.