I am familiar with standard measurements like bust, cup, and hip/waist measurements but are there any other standard measurements that should be taken into account when crocheting custom swimwear? I want to ensure that the fit is absolutely perfect for those who make a custom order.
I have number of thoughts on this coming from a design and sewing background…not a crochet person though…but have worked with stretch fabrics and knits.
The standard measurements that you have mentioned above all relate to girth. And in commercial patterns, there are formulas which account for girth and height when grading a pattern down to a smaller size or up to a larger size based on statistical averages…but bodies are anything but standard which is why they have lengthening and shortening lines on these patterns. It is also to be noted that after a certain size, the vertical adjustments in the grading formula are not as large, or they would be designing clothes for exceptionally tall women. The measurements that you need to consider should be based on distances between your girth measurements. So from bust to waist, from waist to hip, from bust to shoulder/neck base, crotch circumference which includes possible back and front variations (some bums are bigger than tummies and vice versa). There are diagonal measurements from centre front waist to bust point and a whole slew of others to consider.
The following images suggest on a draft for a woven garment a number of measurements to take into consideration:
From experience with two-way stretch patterns, it is of note that a wider, shorter body may fit the same pattern size as a taller, skinnier body because of the vertical and horizontal stretch… this is the reason pantyhose are marketed with height and weight sizing which occasionally does not actually work…
So the next thing to contemplate is how much stretch your crochet stitches have across and down as this is also going to affect fit and who it will fit.
It may be necessary to have certain stitches in areas for coverage that do not stretch and a different type or arrangement (lacier, net-like) in some of the other areas to allow for some give to help with fitting a wider range of clients.
A long while back, I was able to get my hands of a clear fine stretch “yarn” (came on a spool) that could be added in on a knitting machine at the ribbing to help with recovery of the ribbing. It may be necessary to either include this in some areas to allow more stretch in certain areas to also fit a wider range of client. This fibre might not stand up to chlorine in pools though…which leads to another consideration…the end use of the garment.
As one of the stars in Laverne and Shirley once asked about a pocket hankie… ”Is it for showin’ or for blowin’?” Will the swimwear be worn for show and not go near water or will they be used for actually swimming? The yarn used will need to have certain qualities if worn to be wet, in salt or in chlorine. Some fibres behave differently when wet and some dyes will be affected by chemicals found in the ocean or in the pool. These factors will also affect fit when dry and when wet. You may need to source your yarn and really get to know its qualities and just work with one type only so that you are not dealing with a multitude of variables.
Random thought: Lycra can be sliced into narrow widths (how narrow is too narrow?), stretched a little, and will curl along the length and could be used as yarn…? Might solve some fitting problems…