How to Shorten a Knit Sweater: Knit Your Way to the Perfect Fit

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Shrinking a knitted sweater can be useful if it’s too large or stretched out. To shrink a knitted sweater, you’ll need to wash it in hot water and dry it on high heat, checking the size frequently. This will help the fibers to tighten up and create a smaller and more snug fit.

Are you tired of your long sweater dragging on the floor? Have you been looking for a way to give your old sweaters a new look?

If so, look no further! This article will show you how to shorten a knit sweater by unraveling it up to the desired length and reknitting the ribbing or binding off the bottom.

It’s an easy process that’ll have you looking stylish in no time. So, let’s get started!

Gather Supplies

Gather the items necessary to customize your garment and make it uniquely yours. You’ll need a pair of sharp scissors, yarn, and a weaving technique to achieve the look you want for your shortened sweater. Consider what type of yarn to use for the new ribbing or bind off; heavier yarns are ideal for durable hems, while thinner ones work best when trying to maintain the same weight throughout your project. Select colors that will match or contrast with the main body, depending on how bold you want it to be. There are many options in terms of fiber content too, so don’t limit yourself if there’s something specific that you’re looking for!

Once you have all of your supplies ready, determine how much fabric needs to be removed from your sweater. This is especially important if you plan on reknitting the ribbing afterwards – having an accurate measurement is key! Measure twice and cut once as they say!

If you’re binding off instead, use a ruler or gauge swatch to help get an exact length before cutting away any excess material.

Now that everything is prepped and ready it’s time to start unraveling from the bottom up until reaching your desired length. This can take some time so go slow and steady – no one likes accidentally snipping off more than they meant! Remember not to pull too hard either – this can cause damage which won’t be reversible.

Once done unravelling all that remains is tidying up any loose ends by weaving them back into the existing stitches before moving onto adding in fresh new ones at either side of where you stopped unwinding.

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Time now move onto creating those new edges with whatever technique was chosen earlier! Be sure to follow pattern instructions carefully if applicable – such as casting on or increasing/decreasing stitch counts – as this step will dictate how smooth or bulky those finished edges turn out in addition to providing stability for years ahead.

With practice comes perfection but don’t forget about having fun along the way too!

Unravel Sweater Up to Desired Length

Carefully remove the yarn from your garment until it reaches the desired size, like when Ashley had to take off two inches from her sweater to make it fit better.

To ensure that your garment is unraveling evenly and with minimal damage to the fabric, use a weaving tension tool while you’re unraveling. This will help keep track of how much yarn you have removed and prevent any pattern adjustments that would need to be made later on.

It’s important not to rush through this step as it’s integral for having a successful result at the end. When removing the yarn, make sure each stitch is completely taken out before moving onto another one. This will help maintain an even length throughout your new design.

Additionally, pulling too hard can cause damage or stretch the material which can ruin your project altogether. Once you’ve reached the desired length, take a moment to re-examine your work and check for any loose ends that may need tying off or snipping away with scissors.

It’s also important to note how much yarn has been used so far to determine if there is enough left for reknitting or binding off once you get close to completing this process.

Once everything looks good, cut any excess yarn and set aside all materials needed for finishing up – knitting needles, scissors, and extra yarn as needed – so they are ready when it’s time for completion of your project.

Cut Yarn

Once you’ve reached the desired size, it’s time to snip away the excess yarn and prepare for the finishing touches. Before cutting, make sure to count your stitches and take note of your measuring gauge. This is important for when you reknit the ribbing or bind off the bottom as you will need to know what measurements to use in order for everything to fit correctly.

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If you are using circular needles, slide out all of the stitches from one needle onto a second needle so that there is an even number of stitches on each side. If not, then simply arrange them into two piles so that they are easy to work with. Once your stitches are ready, cut the yarn at least 8 inches away from where your stitches begin. You may want to tie a knot in this extra piece of yarn if there is enough length left over after cutting it just in case any unraveling occurs while working with it later on.

Process Example
Count Stitches 18 sts left over after unraveling
Measure Gauge 4 rows = 1 inch (2 cm)
Slide Out Needles/Piles Evenly distributed across two needles/piles
Cut Yarn 8 inches away from beginning of stitch pattern

Now that your knit sweater has been trimmed down, its ready for some additional work before being finished off completely!

Reknit Ribbing or Bind Off Bottom

Investigating the theory that knitting can be a metaphor for life, it’s time to either reknit the ribbing or bind off the bottom of your project.

To do this, you’ll need a pair of knitting needles and some yarn in colors suitable for your project. Choose stitch patterns that will create an interesting texture and contrast with the main body of the sweater. This is also a great chance to practice any fancy stitches you’ve been wanting to try out!

With patience and focus, use your needles and yarn to work up new ribbing or bind off the bottom according to pattern instructions. Remember: even if things don’t turn out perfectly on your first attempt, it’s okay!

Redoing sections provides an opportunity to refine your skills and make corrections if needed. When all is said and done, you’ll have a beautiful sweater that fits just right—time to move onto trying it on!

Try On Sweater

Now that you’ve taken the time to create a beautiful sweater, it’s time to see how it fits! Slip your arms into the sleeves and observe how the fabric drapes around you.

Try on methods vary among knitters. Some prefer to measure the length of their sweater against themselves while others may choose to stand in front of a mirror for a better view. No matter which try on method you choose, make sure it is comfortable and allows you to accurately measure the length of your masterpiece.

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If necessary, adjust any stitches or ribbing as needed before moving onto the next step. When measuring your new sweater’s length, consider where it will fall when worn. If your intention was for the sweater to reach mid-thigh, be sure that is where it ends up when wearing it.

This also applies if you made plans for a cropped or hip-length look as well; make sure those measurements are accurate too! Keep in mind that some yarns have more stretch than others, so don’t be surprised if there are subtle differences between what you had intended and what actually comes out in terms of fit and length.

Once everything looks right and fits comfortably, take note of where exactly your garment lands on you – this will be important later when deciding whether or not further shortening is necessary. Make sure all seams line up correctly with no bunching at any particular area either; this can throw off the entire look of your finished product if not addressed early on!

With all these details accounted for, now’s a good time to show off your new look!

Show Off Your New Look!

With your perfect fit and impressive design, it’s time to flaunt your new look!

Accessorize with jewelry, scarves, hats, and other accessories to take your sweater up a notch. Mix and match colors and textures for an eye-catching ensemble that is sure to make a statement.

Whether you’re headed to work or meeting up with friends, you can show off your new creation in style. Embrace the compliments as you strut around town in confidence, knowing that no one else will have the same piece as yours—it’s truly one of a kind!


You’ve done it! You’ve transformed your sweater into a style all your own.

As you slip it on, you feel the symbolic weight of your journey in this process – from unraveling to reknitting, cutting and binding off.

This is more than just a simple alteration – it’s a representation of how with time and effort, we can create something beautiful out of something mundane.

So go ahead and show off your new look. You deserve it!

Katherine Pearce
Katherine Pearce
Katherine Pearce is a knitting enthusiast and the founder of With a deep passion for the craft, Katherine aims to make knitting accessible to everyone, regardless of their skill level. Through, she provides online tutorials and resources to help others discover the joys of knitting and develop their skills.

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