How To – Knitted Grading Rules

What is grading? Ok some of you who pattern cut might know what grading is but the likelihood is that you probably don’t or won’t have come across this.

You know when you pick up you knitting pattern and it tells you how many stitches for a size 10 and then how many for a 12? Well there is usually more for the size 12. If you look along the sizes, there should be a standard jump between each size, for example a +4 sts per size might be 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, so each size increases 4 sts for every size. This +4 is called a grading rule…

This guide will take away any confusion you may have about grading knitting patterns. We all have different body sizes, so the rules presented here should help you in making garments smaller or bigger for your preference.

Grading and sizing are very specific to each retailer or designer and each retailer has to start with what’s called a fit model. This person, the fit model, is the fit standard for their base size in all garments and products, then their grading rules are applied on top, scaling the fit model so to speak.

However we all know that there is no standard size and that each size, as you move up or down, is not a carbon copy just scaled. If you are thinking of using grading rules for your own products or pattern making, it’s important to note that these can really only been given as a rough guide and you’ll have to decide for yourself what is most appropriate for your customers or clients. However, most grading rules only vary slightly in fit so use the guide below to help you (+/-)

Now before we get into the rules themselves, it’s important to note that these are for the ‘average’ person. For petite clothes you will need to reduce any of the length measurements and of course where they are measured from, if this is determined by length, like the waist and hips for example. Also it is generally agreed by clothing manufacturers that over a certain size, the body starts to change shape a little bit so the grading rules then start to increase per jump. For example if on the average size the cuff rule was 0.5cm, for plus size this might be a 0.8cm per size. Depending on how large or small you want to go, this increase in jump usually happens every 5-6 sizes. It is also agreed and a reason a lot of retailers only make up to a size 16 UK is that at size 18 the first increase jump occurs.

The important thing to remember if you are considering making up grading rules for a product, customer or service is that you can’t please everyone. We are all made in different shapes and sizes so you can only really use a middle ground.

  • These are general measurements and measurement points that are used for the UK fashion industry.
  • Woven garment and knitted/jersey garment sizes are in fact different when they are made due to the stretch and type of fabric construction. So you shouldn’t compare these to a woven size chart.
  • The top numbers below are ‘on the flat’. This is the measurement taken when the garment is laid flat and measured at specific points. They are half of the total garment.
  • The measurements below are all SKIN TIGHT, so you may want to add some additional cms (or ‘give’) for clothes.
  • There are many points on the body to measure so we’ve included the main ones. Smaller ones are usually between 0.3-0.5cm and larger ones usually 1-2.5cm. Measurements of length, like trousers or sleeves, rarely change.