How to sew on shoulder seam

This is my first sweater, I have sewn on the shoulder seams using kitchener stitch and well not perfect, not bad. I am trying to sew on the shoulders but it looks messy. Should I use kitchener stitch or mattress stitch? I find it difficult to match up the horizontal line of rows on the body to the horizontal lines of the arms (or that is how it seems).

Any suggestions on how to get the stitches on the body to line up with the stitches on the arms would be appreciated.


Shoulders are often done with 3 needle bind off. It’s a much more stable seam than the others for shoulders.

There is a video here at the bottom of this page.

More info here at the bottom of the page if you like still shots.

Thanks, I will try the 3 needle bind off. I am doing the “Not so Basic Sweater” from Beyond the Basics, by the Yarn Girls. On youtube I found a video of

how to join an arm, however you can’t see what she is doing very well.

My question, the stitches do not line up horizontally as they do on side seams. Under the armpit they are vertical and then as I go toward the shoulder, the body is horizontal and the arm meets the body at a right angle. I have to make my stitch from the top and bottom on the “ladder in between two knit stitches” on the arm. This doesn’t make an invisible join as it does on the side seam.

Is there a better way then suggested on the video.


Thanks, a little tricky but the 3-needle bind-off worked great for the shoulder seam.

I cannot figure out where to insert my needle for doing a mattress stitch for attaching an sleeve to the body of the sweater. I see the “ladder” for the side seams but get lost with the body / sleeve as the stitches do not line up vertically.

Does anyone know of a video or picture reference that could help.

so close to finishing my first sweater!


If someone else is having trouble getting sleeves onto their sweater, here is a good explanation of how to go about it.