I’ve only got time for a quick little post today. (It’s sunny! SoI have to take this opportunity to do yard work without sinking up to my knees into mud. Seattle is just the best.)
So, this is a tip that sounds totally obvious, and when I heard it, I totally kicked myself for not coming up with it myself:
When you’re picking the size for a new sweater, find a sweater or shirt in your closet that fits well, and is a similar style (in other words, if you are making a baggy sweater, go find a baggy sweater in your closet, if you’re making a tight-fitting sweater, find a tight-fitting sweater in your closet).
Lay the sweater flat and measure across the chest, just under the armpits. Multiply that measurement by 2. This is the finished chest/bust circumference.
Then, look at your pattern, and pick the size that has the closest finished bust circumference to your finished sweater.
Why is this better than measuring your body? Frankly, it’s easier to measure something flat on the floor, than something all bumpy and three-dimensional, like your body. There’s less math. You don’t have to worry about calculating ease for a sweater if you already have a finished garment with the perfect amount of ease. And, it’s a great way to be sneaky about knitting a sweater for someone else. Your kid/husband/friend/neighbor/dude-you-just-met-on-the-street will know something’s up if you ask to measure their chest, but if you sneak off to a quiet corner of the house with one of their sweaters, you can measure away to your heart’s content!