Do you have a great idea for a sweater, but don’t know how to make sure it’s going to fit the way you envision it? Well, there is help for you! I like and use my copy of Ann Budd’s book, The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns, but there are other sources for standard sweater sizing, too. And, depending on the fit you want, the amount of ease may differ from the book’s measurements. One really good place to find this information for garments for everyone is at http://www.yarnstandards.com/sizing.html.
Click on the links to find charts for standard sizes for infants, children, men and women (and head measurements, too). This site also has instructions on how to take measurements, along with fit and ease information, tips on reading patterns, and lots of other good stuff.
Another source of standard sizes is The Knitting Architect. This 50-ish page book is now available FREE online! It’s mostly information on sizes, measurements and charting, all good stuff for the beginning designer or the adventurous modifier.
If it’s socks you are planning, and especially if you can’t get the recipient’s foot measurements, have a look at the charts at The Sock Size Research Project. The site author collected information from people who filled out the online form, then sorted it by shoe size to give a range of real-people foot measurements that you can use to plan that surprise pair of hand-knit socks.