A perfectly fitting machine knitted sweater of your own design

Who hasn’t had a problem with a garment fitting well around the torso, but being too tight under the arms, or with too short sleeves? Bulk produced clothing is often not the right size, because manufacturers use average sizes, as well as design they think people will like, but might not. Making your clothes yourself would be would solve the problem of both size and design, but not everyone has the time, the patience, or the skills to knit your own garments. In an attempt to create better fitting clothes and save resources, some companies come with a way in which you can design and create your own knitted sweater either in a store, or with your own knitting machine at home. 

Knit for You
In an Adidas pop-up store called Knit for You, you could get a perfectly tailored knitted sweater, based on a body scan, with a personalised design. The pop-up store, located in Bikini Berlin, creates all sweaters at the same location, made by huge industrial knitting machines. The customer first enters a dark room, where camouflage patterns are projected onto their chest, which can be changed by hand gestures, thanks to sensors placed in the room. The potential patterns are stored, so the buyer can later choose their favourite from a computer screen.

After the pattern is chosen, the customer enters a body scanner, which measures the perfect size for the knitted sweater, including arm length and shoulder width. When the scan is complete, the buyer can press a print button, sending the personalised sweater to the knitting machines for production.

The garment, made from merino wool, costs 200 euros, and the whole process takes a couple of hours, which is faster than most grandmothers can manage.

The shop reduces the time needed from the design phase to production, which is currently around 12 months for most sneaker companies. Instead, it gives the customers what they want, when they want it, and in the perfect size.

Other advantages of the movement are combatting stress on natural resources as well as making higher quality, more unique products.

Unfortunately, according to the website, the Knit for You store has been closed since 12 March 2017 and it is unclear if there will be another one.

3D printers have become small and affordable enough for many people to have one at home, so why aren’t knitting machines? That is exactly what the founders of the start-up Kniterate thought. In an attempt to democratise fashion, they designed a smaller digital knitting machine that works similar to a 3D printer. You can make your own designs, but also use designs that others have shared.

Even those without experience in design can use the machine, choosing from and customising a wide selection of patterns incorporated within the app by Kniterate, or other design software. The machine is compatible with any kind of yarn, including wool, silk, and acrylic, and the software can calculate the thickness, so you don’t have to waste time making a trail version (as knitters among you will know).

The machine has six yarn carries for the use of different colours or materials, and contains sensors to detect knots or damaged yarn. The needle selection is all controlled via a computer, and the delicate machine is protected from dust by transparent sliding doors. The creator can choose from a variety of stitches, and even import images and text into their creations.

You can find Kniterate’s kickstarter here.

Photos: Adidas Knit for You / Bikini Berlin (via Designboom) / Kniterate (via Designboom)