“I found this awesome sweater pattern and my Delf girl would just love it…but it’s made for humans! How do I re-size it?”
Although more and more people are buying and knitting for ball-jointed dolls, there still aren’t very many patterns out there designed for them. Even when BJD patterns do exist, sometimes they’re designed for a chunky mini when yours is slim, or written for a large doll when you really want to knit them for your tiny.
I’ve posted a number of times over at Den Of Angels about how to re-size patterns, and I thought maybe it was time to have a more permanent home for such useful information…here are the posts (mostly mine, but with some additions from other forum members).
How to re-size a human pattern
There are two methods for re-sizing human patterns. I generally prefer the second one, especially for a complicated pattern, but the first is great for anything simple.
Using the same yarn and needles the pattern calls for, divide everything in the pattern by 3 or 4, depending on the size of your doll (3=60cm or 1/3 scale; 4=45cm or 1/4 scale). Remember to divide the number of stitches and also the number of rows! Then follow the pattern. Increases/decreases may take a little trial and error adjustment with this method, so be prepared to rrrrrip it!
Size your needles and yarn down until you can get 3 or 4 times the pattern’s recommended gauge, and follow the pattern as written. This sounds backwards, but as Serafim over at Yarnia explains, “you have to remember that it’s a scale of 1:3 so you need to have 1/3 of the measurements, to make that fit you need to adjust the tension so it fits over 1/3 of the gauge on the pattern
ie if it’s 12cmx12cm and 15st x 12rows, you need 15st and 12 rows over 4cmx4cm, so over the same size it’s three times as much.”
This technique can also be used to adapt children’s patterns for larger tinies, but it will take more measuring on your part, and possibly scarier numbers. To figure out what fraction of scale your tiny is compared to the measurements (i.e. 1/5? 1/6?), divide the pattern’s measurement by your doll’s measurement. Then use that number just as you did the 3 or 4 from 1/3 or 1/4.
KCurry also weighed in:
[For a 60-cm doll,] multiply the gauge by 3. In this case, you follow the pattern completely, but you substitute yarn and needles that will give you three times the gauge. If the pattern calls for a gauge of 5 stitches per inch, you swatch until you have a yarn/needle combination that gives you 15 stitches per inch, and a fabric that is neither too tight nor too loose for your project. You are still left with the decision of which size to follow. You can check this by measuring your doll, For instance, if her hips are 10 inches and your gauge is 15 stitches per inch, you will need 150 stitches to go around her hips without stretching. Choose the pattern size that gives you that (you can also use your gauge and your dolls measurements to create your own patterns).
I re-sized the pattern, but it still won’t fit!
Polyhymnia on DoA wondered how to proceed “if, say, my 1/4 scale doll (Soulkid) has a bust measurement of 7.5 inches and I multiply that by 4 to get the corresponding human measurement, [getting] 30 inches, which is quite a bit smaller than the small sizes of an adult knitting pattern.”
One thing to bear in mind is that 1/4 scale dolls may fit patterns designed for children a little better than those designed for adults – especially when they are not “mature minis” like Unoa or MiniFee. But even if you are using adult patterns, the measurement given may be larger (or smaller) than the chest it’s meant to fit – for example, in this season’s Knitty magazine, I see that Lia, a sweater meant to fit quite closely, starts with a 28-inch circumference in the smallest size, while Mothed, which is meant to be more roomy & drape a little, has a smallest size of 32 inches which would probably fit an actual chest anywhere from 28-30″. Depending on the sweater, I’ve seen them with as much as 10″ of positive ease (positive ease=larger than actual measurement; negative ease=smaller than actual so it clings). So if you have a particular pattern in mind that starts larger than 30″, have a look at how it’s fitted before you worry that it’s the wrong size.
That said, some patterns are just too big for super-skinny BJDs (super skinny humans have the same problem too). In that case, you’ll need to cast on fewer stitches. I’ve written up a walk through of how I do this for a simple-ish sweater, bottom up, without shaping…if anyone’s interested in the process for a sweater with shaping or different construction I can update with that later, but the theory is still basically the same.
- Divide the number of stitches to cast on by the gauge to get the actual measurement of the garment. You should use your doll-scale gauge, not the pattern’s gauge.
For example, my DollsTown mini with a chest that’s 7.25″ around wants the aforementioned Lia. The yarn & needles I’m using give me 10 sts/inch. I take the number of stitches to cast on for the smallest size and divide by my gauge to get the actual measurement of the garment as written: 70sts ÷ 10 sts/inch = 7″
- Figure out the difference between the actual size and the size you want the garment to be, taking into account ease: subtract your desired measurement from the actual one. We’ll call this number “The Difference.”
Because Lia should fit tightly, I want the measurement to be more like 6.5″, giving me 3/4″ of negative ease – I got this number by dividing the pattern’s suggestion (0-3″) by my doll’s scale (4) to get 3/4, but you can go by feel a bit as well. I subtract my measurement from the pattern’s: 7-6.5″=0.5″
- Multiply The Difference by your gauge. This is the number of stitches you must remove in order to make the garment fit your doll. If the sweater is plain, it’s as easy as just casting on fewer stitches, but if there are cables, lace patterns, etc. you may have to subtract a couple more or fewer stitches to make everything work out nicely.
For me, I start by calculating: 0.5″ x 10 sts/inch = 5 sts that I have to make the sweater smaller by. In this case, I am starting with a 5-stitch pattern (P2, K3), so it seems like this will be an easy adjustment…I look ahead in the pattern and notice that I must take this 5-stitch chunk out of the back, or else I’ll un-centre the cable pattern on the front. So if I was using markers to show the front & back of my work, the front would have 35 sts and the back would have 30.
- Remember the adjustment you’ve made! Write it down if you can. As you work through the pattern, remember that any stitch counts written on the page will be different from yours because of the change you made!
When I get to the point of dividing for the armholes & neckline, I must remember that the back of my sweater is 5 sts smaller than the written pattern. I will (changes in bold):
Work 32 sts in pattern, BO 5 sts, work 24 sts in pattern, BO 5 sts, work 14 sts in pattern, k1, turn. Begin working back and forth, leaving remaining stitches to be worked later.
Next up: adjusting increases & decreases, and adapting from Barbie patterns!