How to Measure the Bottom Sweep of a Sweater

by Christina Schnell ; Updated September 28, 2017

Extend the bottom sweep of flexible knits, like cotton.

Hemera Technologies/ Images

The dimensions of your sweater determine its fit and style. While the dimensions of your favorite cable-cord number appear stagnant, sweater materials change with manipulation and stretching. The bottom sweep refers to the bottom-most edge or hemline. Typically, this edge hits at, or below, the hip. Some sweater styles gather the bottom sweep to create a snug fit, while others hang straight, similar to a tunic.

Step 1

Spread the sweater on a flat surface and smooth out any wrinkles.

Step 2

Place the measuring tape just below the left end of the bottom sweep. Secure the position with one hand.

Step 3

Pull the measuring tape along the bottom sweep so the tape lies directly below, but not on top of, the bottom sweep hemline. Hold the measuring tape at the edge of the right side and record the measurement. This is the "relaxed bottom sweep."

Step 4

Place one thumb at each end of the bottom sweep and extend the width as far as possible. Ask an assistant to perform steps two and three to measure the "extended bottom sweep."


  • Measure your sweater before and after washing. Accurately recording these measurements before the yarn shrinks can affect tailoring decisions.


  • Extend the bottom sweep only as far as its natural limits. Stretching the material farther could rip a thread.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images

About the Author

Christina Bednarz Schnell began writing full-time in 2010. Her areas of expertise include child development and behavior, medical conditions and pet health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations.