Help the youngin' with her sweater dress!

Hello! My name is Caitie, and I may be only fifteen, but I’m rather adventurous with my knitting and I would say that most of the time it pays off. Well - except for maybe now.

Several weeks ago I decided to make a sweater dress. My inspiration was the “Lace Dress” in the Knit.1 winter 2007 issue. However, this pattern wasn’t quite what I wanted, considering that it is really complicated crochet, and although I can and will crochet, I’m nowhere near figuring out a pattern like that. Also, I wanted some short sleeves on the thing, and that one is sleeveless.

Anyway, I drew this pattern out in my head: a knee-length, empire-waisted dress with a square neck and short (preferably puffy) sleeves. I made the body in the round so construction wise all I had to do was sew the straps to the back and then attach the sleeves.

The body turned out beautifully! I’ve tried it on and it fits exactly how I wanted it to. The only problem? The sleeves.

I’ve had this problem before, but this time it is even worse! If I hold my arms straight out from my body, the sleeves fit just fine. But when I hold them down, there is an indcredible amount of bulk under my arms that sticks out everywhere and really detracts from the “look” of the dress.

The sleeves aren’t really from a pattern, and I have a feeling that is why I’m having such problems with them. I would imagine that the problems lies in one of these two things:

-I’ve just made the sleeves funny and I need to find a real pattern.
-I’ve attached the sleeves funny and I need someone to tell me a better way.

Anyway, I would really appreciate some help on this one. Usually I can figure these little things out on my own, but I just have a feeling that this project will turn out a lot better if I bring in some experts.

Have you considered picking up the stitches around the sleeve opening and knitting the sleeves down? This will assure that the sleeve is the same size as the armhole.

You could also do the above and then do some short rows across the top of the sleeve to get a bit of puffiness there that doesn’t go around under the arm.

Another option is to go to and see if there is a sweater or shirt with sleeves that you like and use the ideas from that pattern.

I have looked around those patterns a bit, but I really like your idea. I do have a few questions:

From which side should I pick up the stiches? I’m assuming that one way will give me a more finished-looking edge.

Also, I haven’t done much short rowing, is there a chance that you could explain how I would go about that or give me a reference to a place that would help me? I’ve done socks, so I’ve turned a heel, but I have a feeling this will be somewhat different.


You pick up the stitches with the right side facing. Start at the underarm and work your way around the sleeve opening. That’s the easy part.

As for the short rows, I wish I could tell you to do X,Y, and Z to get a perfect sleeve top, but I wouldn’t want to mess it up. If I were doing it, I’d have to experiment, to be honest. That’s why ‘cheating’ off other patterns is helpful. Someone else has already done the work. :teehee:

Awesome, thanks again. I have a feeling this will work!