Designing V Necks

I’m in the process of designing and making a man’s v neck jumper and suddenly realised having chopped and changed a few patterns, worked out sizings and tension etc that I had no idea how to go about designing a V neck…….. so I googled it and found some advice but in all honesty it was a clear as mud, so I resorted to an online pattern generator. The good bit was that I could then see that my stitch count, lengths and shoulder shaping were along the right lines, but I still didn’t quite get how to work out the V neck!

Example of Man’s Commando Sweater

I’ve chosen a straight style for the shoulders as this looks better for this type of jumper than a raglan, plus I can sew the fabric patches over a straight shoulder better.

I knew the back of neck would measure just over 8 ins and I obviously wanted it to look balanced, not show more flesh than needed as the jumper is for work and accommodate a man’s head…..

By looking around at various sweaters and also using the pattern generator I came up with a 5in V…….. and there the fun began!

As soon as I started number crunching for the pattern I realised that 5ins would not work unless I wanted a very wide open V that showed lots of chest – great for us ladies I agree but not so good for a man in the work place! So this is what I did:

1. How Do I Want the V To Look?


Length of back – depth of V

But the number of stitches remaining for the shoulder shaping needs to  equal the number of stitches used for the back shoulder shaping (26).

So…….I realised my V would need to be a bit deeper as I needed to decrease 23 sts, which would need me to work 46 rows, as I want to decrease in alternate rows. A 5 inch V would only allow me to decrease 15sts.

And that was the start of the more complicated maths!

By using my tension swatch as a guide, 46 rows worked out to measure 6.1ins. There is also some decreasing at the neck edge in the shoulder shaping. If I took this out it would be impossible to match the shoulders, so I also needed to add an extra inch to work the shoulder shaping, meaning my V would be 7.1ins deep

So my start point will be 27.5ins – 7.1ins = 20.4ins

This will be past my armhole shaping so I don’t have to worry about shaping that at the same time 🙂

2. How Will I decrease for the V

So to shape the V I needed to know how many rows there are to 6.1ins

I did this by using the rows per inch calculated from the tension swatch

Mine is 30 rows for 4 ins on 4mm needles, so I have 7.5 rows per inch

Rows per inch  x length required

7.5 x 6.1=45.75 rows, which I’ll round up to 46 rows,

So I would decrease on the first and every alt odd row until I had worked 6.1ins

3. Placing the V

To place the V I  needed to find the midpoint of the row – I have 98 sts remaining after the armhole shaping, so midpoint is 49 sts – half the number on the needle.

I want to start the shaping as soon as I divide for the neck, so I’ll  knit 46sts, work 2 tog, K 1 and turn

I keep on with the shaping until the front measures 9.5ins from the armhole shaping – roughly 46 rows

I can then use the same shoulder shapings as I did for the back and voila! the neckline is finished….. once I’ve worked the left side of course!

4. Finishing the V

When I come to knit the neckline I’ve decided to work 1.5 inches in single rib

To get the centre stitch highlighted I’ll use circular needles, start picking up at the back, make sure I have an odd number of sts  – ensuring its a K stitch and use a stitch marker to identify it.

I’ll then dec 1 st either side of the centre stitch, using a combination of K2tog and SSK decreases.

Once its finished I’ll show you the photos!

Coming Soon………..

As a side note I’m currently working on my pattern collection  and sizing up some ladies and kids knits. Being a curvaceous lady myself is there any interest out there in having some patterns made in larger sizes or having some written in such a way you can adapt them to your own size if you have a guide to help you? I’d love some feedback please!


4 thoughts on “Designing V Necks

  1. Fantastic thank you!! I really appreciate it :-). Its not, I have a jumper dress to resize – it was designed for a size 8 young lady and its hard to do the maths but I’ll keep going! Knits to Fit and Flatter is quite a useful book for resizing advice 🙂

  2. Pingback: KCBWDAY1 The House Cup | bitsandbobscrafts

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