What Is Ease?

All designers add "ease" to their patterns. But what does this mean? How does it effect the fit of the finished garment? And, as a knitter, how much control do I have in determining the ease of the sweater that I am knitting?

Let's take each one of these separately:

What is Ease?

We can define it as "how true to the measurement is the fit of the garment". Negative ease means that the finished garment will measure LESS THAN the measurement given. For instance, if your head measures 22", you will want to knit a hat with an inch or so of "negative ease", say 20", so that it will fit tghtly. Possitive ease means that inches are added to the stated measurements so that the garment will fit comfortably. If your bust measures 36", and you were to knit a sweater with no ease, the sweater would be tight, fitting exactly to your size. 

Ease Defined by Designers

Most designers will add some ease to a sweater pattern for comfort or style. Typically, a close fitting sweater will add 1.5" for a comfortable fit. As "styles" become more casual, the amount of ease has increased. Often, a standard ease could be as much as 3-5" for a very loose fit.

But let's get real: If a pattern has the following sizes: 32(36, 40, 44), and ease is defined as 3", that means that a size 32 might actually measure 37", if the 3" of ease also applies to the largest size in the 32(36, 40, 44) size range. If you are a size 34, is your ease is effectively 1"?  You could knit the next size larger. Then, a woman with a size 34 bust would knit a sweater measuring 39" (36+3", or 5" of ease)!  See the problem? A standard pattern cannot yield a consistent fit unless the designer gives 8-10 sizes instead of 4.

A KnitFit custom pattern allows you to control ease (to a point).  You will be able to select:

  • No Ease - true to entered measurements
  • Standard Ease - defined by the designer
  • Casual Ease 

If a designer intends a pattern to have 3" of ease, that will be the Standard ease listed in the description. Check the pattern description for the amount of ease for "Casual". It will be determined by the designer and/or the KnitFit design staff.




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