Big and Tall Sweater (4XLT)

I am looking for suggestions or a pattern to knit myself a sweater. As the subject suggests, the sweater needs to be sized 4XLT. I have searched Ravelry and other sites but I come up with nada. I am not skilled enough to take a pattern and rewrite it to adjust for size. I'd love a hoodie. Does anyone have any suggestions? I can't be the first to have this problem, can I?

aah's picture

May I suggest Elizabeth Zimmermann's "Tomten-jacket". You'll find the pattern in her book "knitting Workshop" page 102.
I knitted it for my husband in size 3xl a few years ago, and it was a great succes. By the way, I made one for myself too, a little smaller. Google the net for pictures. You can knit it in any yarn you like, just make a swatch and adjust the number of stitches accordingly.
Best regards from a beautiful autumn Denmark

New York Built's picture

Hey Cory!

I have had a similar situation, and after a long search, I almost gave up...until I realized that behind every pattern is the person who has the information how to make that all menes. Just like Aage says, some print resources are there to make a garment by a basic formula, laid out for all to see. However, two strategies are also available. First one: find a design that you like or admire and contact the designer. Ravelry makes that easy. ASK the designer if he or she has ever graded the pattern to 4XL tall...and could share or sell that pattern to you.

Designers are by nature experimenters, problem solvers and information hoarders. A solution to your so-called "problem" may already be prepared, just on the shelf, so to speak, ready to go. Or, they might be ready to adjust the pattern for you to your size and zip it off, electronically, into your eager hands. Also, they might know of a colleague who makes what you want for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday, but is only known in certain regions of Oregon or wherever big, tall men congregate and these patterns are consumed like popcorn. Rumor among ethno-demographers is that The Netherlands is where the tallest and largest men in the world per capita now reside. Luckily for you, they wear hoodies there, perforce, because of the climate and English is spoken widely.

The second strategy attacks the heart of the true problem...your lack of skills. Not must learn skills from others. I am a big man...big shoulders, thick 52-inch chest, large upper arms that are shorter than most, soccer-player thighs and calves. My waist is far smaller than the industry assumes...a wispy 34 inches instead of their committee decision I should be 50 inches, LOL.

Patterns by their rules, on my body...Just. Look. Ridiculous. Period. ::Deep, Sad Sigh::

Learn to adjust. Yeah. It's not too hard. Just requires a guiding hand. I recommend How To Use, Adapt, and Design Knitting Patterns, by Sam Elliot and Sidney Bryan.

Great stuff. Yeah, the pictures of a young woman fill the book for examples. But, be creative and substitute in your mind's eye an American professional football player, say, the Rams' Terrel Brown as the example and go at it.

Every person I encounter teaches me more about myself. Without whom not.

ronhuber's picture

Check out that has a lot of programmes for different sweaters where you plug in the gauge you are knitting with the measurements you want.

CLABBERS's picture

Hi Cory,
I also use Knitting Fool calculator with a top-down raglan sweater. I really like making a raglan style because it pretty much knits itself and there oodles of variations once you figure out the math that goes with it. A top-down sweater can be tried on as you work through it so there aren't so many surprises. The only surprise I had was how the wool behaved when I blocked it. I am still working through that.

Where in SE Wisconsin are you? I am in NW Chicago burbs and I get up to the border of IL/WI on I-294. It would be fun to get together sometime. I can show you some of my sweaters.

Here is the calculator link. If you want, and need some help, email me and I'll see what I can do to help you.


CRobertK's picture

I am about half way between Madison and Milwaukee in a small city named Lake Mills, and I attend grad school on Whitewater. I'd love to meet up some time! I get down your direction now and then too!

-- Why live and let live when we can live and help live?

davidUK's picture

Well, I'm very slight and often have the same problem the other way. My most useful book is Elizabeth Zimmerman's knitting without tears. There are brilliant easy to follow instructions for sweaters...I love the saddle shouldered sweater .... But they're all easy to follow and based on gauge, percentages and how big you want you sweater. GOOD LUCK

Potter's picture

Wow. I think this place is the very best for getting concise and helpful explanations.

CRobertK's picture

Thank you to everyone for the assistance! I love the Knitting Fool calculator with a top-down raglan sweater suggestion. I think that's the route I am going to go for my first sweater.

I can't believe its been three years now that I have been a MWK member. Somewhere along the way, life got busy and I stepped away from the computer and incidentally MWK. I don't know how I survived! You guys are awesome! I love you all! Well I'm back and I'm staying! Perhaps you Al can help me keep my sanity through the next three years of grad school!

-- Why live and let live when we can live and help live?

New York Built's picture

Change is inevitable, and I have had to learn to embrace it...not to do so is disastrous to mind, body and spirit. I wish you well in your studies and success in all you do to excel in your new life chapter!

Another great resource is .

I have yet to be disappointed with her direction, diagrams, expertise and solutions to hand knitting problems and elegant alternatives to poor or lacking written pattern instructions. Her methods for 'fixing" someone else's pattern to become your personal bespoke pattern or give you the smarts to create your own are stellar.

In addition, she is one of the best resources for male knitters online, in my humble opinion. Why? Because she never assumes the audience is exclusively female...her suggestions for men knitting their own or a loved one's object are outstanding and free of cisexual bias.

You will undoubtedly recognise her as having BOTH information and wisdom. Rare, indeed.

Every person I encounter teaches me more about myself. Without whom not.

Bill's picture

WHO is the great resource?

New York Built's picture

Techknitter...LOL. The Men Who Knit site would not let me modify the hyperlink. Oh, well!

Every person I encounter teaches me more about myself. Without whom not.

Bill's picture

I don't read her too often...but she's an amazing resource...

I found a nice, basic men's sweater on Ravelry. Has some short rows on one side so I loved it. Still easy. Not big enough, so I forlornly asked the designer if she could make it in a size 4XL. Just a short time later, BEHOLD!!!!! A size 4XL men's sweater. I love her to this day.

Better late than never, after all.

Also, one time I read an article about blocking sweaters for boobs (in the area of boobs making sweater fronts shorter). I recall something about balloons and quilt batting. So I thought, well there are such things as men with larger bellies, so..... block for bellies? It could be a thing, people! Then the fronts of men's sweaters wouldn't be shorter, either.

I love your site!