Tuesday Tip: How to Measure Cross Back

Tuesday Tip copyThe cross back (or shoulder to shoulder measurement) is the most important measurement in a set in sleeve sweater and the hardest to get right.

On my Ravelry group we are getting ready to start the Corcoran Knit Along (starting June 20th, 2016). * The KAL will be filled with video tutorials and how tos (exclusive to the KAL participants) including one on how to read a schematic and choose the right size.

  • EDIT – The KAL / Sweater classes are still available for sale on Ravelry and the videos and message boards never expire.

Choosing the right size is the most vital step to a happy sweater. A few weeks ago we looked at how to measure armhole depth, now it’s time to look at . . .

How to Measure Cross Back

One of the best things to do to get a great fitting sweater is to measure a sweater that fits you well. Here I am measuring shoulder seam to shoulder seam for the small.

How to measure cross back

Tape measure is placed shoulder seam to shoulder seam

Here is the small of the Corcoran 2.0 and you can see the cross back measures 13″.

This is a finished garment measurement that is your body measurement + ease. There is not that much ease needed on a tailored fit set in sleeve garment, AND there’s not as much difference between sizes as you think.

The shoulder bone to shoulder bone measurement is a skeletal measurement (as opposed to a flesh measurement like upper arm). Yes we have flesh going over our shoulders, but it still has less of a leap between sizes than other measurements.

So . . . BEFORE you can measure seam to seam you have to make sure that sweater actually fits you.

  1. Try it on and look in the mirror
  2. Hunch your shoulders forward a bit while feeling for your shoulder bone
  3. Straighten back up and see is that shoulder seam on or just outside your shoulder bone (or is is dropping far beneath your shoulder bone).
  4. If the seam IS near your bone, take off and measure as above, if not, put a safety pin right by each shoulder bone, take off the sweater and measure between the pins.

How to take your body cross back (really front) – shoulder bone to shoulder bone

How to measure cross back

Holding tape measure away from body, shoulder bone to shoulder bone

  1. If you can’t find your shoulder bones easily (mine are huge), hunch your shoulders over slightly and feel around until you can find the prominent bone at the top of your shoulder.
  2. Hold the tape measure in front of your body (trying not to curve too much) from shoulder bone to shoulder bone. My cross back measures is a bit under 12 1/2″ (I wear the 13″ finished cross back).
  3. Have a friend help if you can’t do this on your own.

Another way to have a friend help, AND avoid the curve is to use knitting needles.

How to measure cross back

Holding a knitting needle on top of each shoulder bone

  1. Hold a knitting needle right on top of each shoulder bone.
  2. Have a friend check to make sure the needles are going straight (not bending in towards each other or away from each other).
  3. Have a friend measure right between the needles (this will avoid the curve).
How to measure cross back

I didn’t have a friend over, so I held the tape measure myself 🙂

For more sweater fun, you can still make a great sweater and learn a ton in my sweater classes. To read all the message boards and get sweater help, join my Ravelry group:

Corcoran 2.0
Tortola KAL

For more knitting fun, make sure to “like” my new knitting Facebook Page!


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