Sewing in sleeves


I have knitted a long cardigan for a toddler and am just attempting to sew in the sleeves. Although I can find no help online that shows sleeves that look anything like the ones I have before me!

The sleeves I have knitted are completely square at the top and the cast on edge appears much shorter than the armhole that they need to fit!

Here is the sleeve pattern so you can picture what the sleeve looks like!

With 4mm needles cast on 31 sts
Row 1: (K1, P1) to last st, K1
Row 2: (K1, P1) to last st, K1
Cont. in moss st until 10 rows complete. Change to 5mm needles and work in st st as folls:
Row 11: Inc into first st, knit to last st, inc into last st (33 sts)
Row 12: Purl
Work 2 rows in st st.
Inc at each end of next row and every foll 4th row to 47 sts.
Work without further shaping until sleeve measures 20.5cm from cast on edge. Cast off.

Can someone point me in the right direction of some step by step directions to follow? Preferably with pictures?

Many thanks in advance!


So you’re saying that the top of the sleeve is shorter than the armhole?

Tie the outer edges of the sleeves to the edges of the armhole. Then attach the middle of the sleeve to the shoulder of the sweater. As you sew them in, you should be able to compensate for the difference in sizes by skipping some of the stitches on the body of the sweater to ease the fit. Here is a great article on sewing in sleeves. I’d suggest scrolling down to the section on [B]Invisible vertical to horizontal seaming. [/B]It shows how to do mattress stitch to connect the sleeves–a beautiful seam.

The entire sleeve should be not quite square although the very top may be. The cast off edge should be wider than the cast on and it’s the cast [I]off[/I] edge that you should be sewing into the armhole. Is there a corresponding square armhole for the sleeve to fit into?
If the pattern has a schematic, check the dimension at the top of the sleeve, just to see if you are reasonably close to the correct measurement.

Thank you both. Yes the top of the sleeve is shorter than the armhole, by about 5cm either side if I position the sleeve at the centre of the armhole… eekkk… I will try the tying technique and see what happens. That article is great thank you, I will try that seaming technique.

The entire sleeve is not completely square as I have made the increases as per the pattern and the cast off edge is wider than the cast on. It’s just that the cast off edge is one straight line, as you can see from the pattern it just said to continue in st st until sleeve measured 20.5cm and then to cast off, so no shaping at the top at all! Whereas in all the info I’ve found online shows sleeve tops that are shaped… so this has confused me and worried me that I have made a mistake, despite following the pattern as you can see.

The armhole is not square at all? Do you think it should be? I am so disappointed as the rest is looking great and I’m so pleased with my neck shaping… it’s also for a friend’s little girl so I am in a bit of a rush and wanting it to be perfect!

Unfortunately there is no schematic, I suppose the only way is to try the techniques mentioned above and see what happens!

Thanks again for your help. I love knitting but really need to work on my putting together!


The sleeve doesn’t have to be shaped at all. Just binding off across the entire sleeve is often done for drop shoulder and even more tailored sleeves. Even the space at the armhole can vary from sloping to a rectangular cutout to no space at all. Sometimes you’ll just mark the area for the armhole on the straight sides of the sweater.
Good luck with the assembly and remember, knitted fabric is stretchy and forgiving.

Yes, many, many sweaters have sleeves that are just bound off across the top. You didn’t do anything wrong.

Another thing I would suggest would be to pin the sleeve to the armhole with safety pins. It’s easy for the knitted work to “travel” as you seam. You fold the sleeve in place lengthwise to find the center point and mark it. This center point on the sleeve will line up with the shoulder seam. Then you just pin the sleeve on the left and right sides of that center point. The ends of the sleeve will line up with the ends of the armholes. If you find yourself a little short, you can stretch the sleeve a little as you’re seaming, or skip a stitch or two as Ingrid said.