How can I get a custom sweater pattern developed?
April 28, 2008 5:47 PM   Subscribe

I'm asking this one on behalf of my wife: "How can I get a custom pattern developed/made for a sweater that I want someone to knit for me?"
posted by braveterry to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (7 answers total)
 
She could probably find someone through Etsy, or on a community like Ravelry (potentially dicey). Or she could try contacting freelance knitwear designers (some do comission work), or go into a yarn store and see if anyone there does commission design.

Is it for a sweater with very specific/unusual design elements she's envisioned? Or is it just that she wants to have something custom-fitted? If it's the latter, I bet she could find a pattern she likes in a magazine or book, and then work with a handknitter experienced enough to tailor it appropriately.
posted by peachfuzz at 5:59 PM on April 28, 2008


You (meaning your wife :P) may know some or all of this already, so bear with me. First, a caveat:

Knitting a sweater will take a LOT of time and effort. Hopefully the person who is knitting this for you is a very good friend or relative. If not, please make sure that your business relationship is clearly outlined and very respectful of the knitter's time and effort. Even with a fast knitter at minimum hourly wage, that's a crapload of money. At the very least, you should spring for the yarn out of pocket at the beginning, and you'll have to buy it all at once to make sure your knitter has enough of the same dyelot.

Okay. Now that we've gotten that over with...

I would suggest sketching out what you want beforehand, making note of the places where you think there might be issues. How long do you want the sleeves to be? Where do you want the sweater to end on your hips/waist? How do you want the neckline to look? If you want a cardigan, how do you want it to close? If you want a pattern of some sort (lace? colors? a knit-in motif?), note where you want it (edging? sleeves only?) and what you want it to look like. What about shaping: do you want it boxy, or do you want it to skim the body, or do you want it very tight with "negative ease" (finished size is smaller than your actual measurements, so it stretches). What kind of gauge (yarn thickness) do you want? What kind of fiber will you want (wool? washable wool? cotton or another plant fiber?) Do you have big boobs that will need to be knit around so things don't drape in icky ways? What kind of shoulder construction do you want? Think of as many of these things as you can before you go in to ask questions.

The best place to go for help with this is your Local Yarn Store, or LYS. Note that this does not mean Jo-Ann, Michael's, or a place that primarily sells acrylic/Lion brand yarn. You're looking for a place that sells brands like Cascade 220 or Brown Sheep. If you are starting from scratch on this, make sure to pull a LYS employee aside when they are not busy; no Saturday afternoon for this one.

Most LYSs will also sell patterns and books, including stitch dictionaries. One of the easiest things to do is to go through their binder of existing sweater patterns and either find something that you like as-is or pick and choose. "I like the shape of this one. I like the edging on this one. I like the way this would look if it were a cardigan and had wooden buttons." Or just ask the LYS employee if they know of a pattern like what you're looking for.

If you are looking for something very specific, there are many books that can help you. Ann Budd's Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns is the Bible. Looking in there will help you see what different types of sleeves and necklines look like. If you want an allover pattern, like lace or cables or color, the Vogue Stitchionary books or the Barbara Walker treasuries can help you pick one.

Still there? Whew!

Anyways... there you have it. Your LYS employee can guide you through this. If you have any other questions, send me a message.
posted by Madamina at 6:13 PM on April 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


She might want to try the Sweater Wizard software.
posted by gnat at 7:17 PM on April 28, 2008


Who is going to be doing the knitting? If she's paying someone, many sample knitters can probably do basic design work, depending on how complicated what she wants is. Does she want just a basic sweater shape with specific colorwork or specific stitch patterns? Does she want a special shape to the sweater? Is she looking for a relatively normal shape but fitted to her specifically?
posted by jacquilynne at 8:21 PM on April 28, 2008


One of my local yarn stores - Art Fibers in San Francisco - has a computer that you can use to design your own sweater and it prints out a pattern with your design and your measurements. Its free if you buy your yarn there. I would check with high end yarn stores in your area to see if they have something similar.
posted by Wolfie at 9:29 PM on April 28, 2008


well, Madamina said everything that i was going to, and more!

if you're going to pay someone to knit you a sweater, it's gonna be a lot of money (cost of yarn, plus labor, which is going to be a lot).

fyi.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:56 AM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thanks everyone! My wife specifically asked me to thank peachfuzz for pointing out Ravelry. It was a resource she had never seen before. She also said that Madamina's response was very helpful. It pointed out many things she wasn't aware of.

Again, thanks! It's great to be able to use the internet to score points with my wife. :-)
posted by braveterry at 7:44 PM on April 29, 2008


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