Should I trust the pattern? Sleeve length.

Hi all! I’m new to the forum and this is my first post. I’ve been knitting for 16 years (off an on).
I’m knitting a 1960s (circa) cardigan for my man for Christmas (pattern link: The first knitted I’ve made for him. Tension is correct horizontally but 4 sts vertically (pattern guage is 4 1/2 sts), which I figured I could work with. I’ve completed the back, fronts, and one sleeve. My question is, I’m nervous the sleeve is going to be too short, even though it’s the same length the pattern specifies (22"). It includes a 4" ribbed cuffed which gets turned back in half, knocking two inches off the sleeve length. Though it looks like the sleeves are full length in the photo, don’t the sleeves look rather short compared to the body on my version? Do you think I should trust the pattern and roll with it? Thanks so much for your input and time!
Cheers !

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Welcome to KH. That’s a nice looking sweater. Could you lay out a garment with sleeves of the correct length then lay your knitted pieces on top of it to compare? I think the sleeve looks short too.


I agree the sleeves appear a little short.
A “regular” size from my experience of looking at patterns (no expert though) is a full length sleeve is the same as the width of the sweater ie a 44" chest is 22" across front and would have 22" sleeve.
Your pattern sleeve length does not appear to allow for the fold back of the cuff, I would imagine a 24" sleeve would be more suitable if you want the 2" fold back, just as you have said.
I have looked at a modern modified drop sleeve sweater to check and this was the case.

Measuring a sweater which you know to be the correct size or laying your knitting on top is also a good way to check as GG said.

If it was me I’d undo the cast on and add another 2" straight without shaping.

Lovely knitting by the way and a smart looking cardigan. He’s a lucky guy to be getting this gift.

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I agree with the others that it looks short.
I think the sleeve length in the pattern specifies measuring at the seam, ie armpit to cuff. You’ve measured along the outside of the sleeve which, in this pattern, also includes some of the shoulder width.
Also, did you block your swatch? I often find that I have to knit longer sleeves if the gauge alters after being washed.
Another thing to bear in mind is arm width. The pattern is fitted through the sleeve and if it has to stretch around the arm at all, you will also lose a bit of length!


Great idea, why didn’t I think of that! I did and it looks like I will have to add 2". Ah well, thankfully it’s a chunky knit so won’t take too much time. Thanks for your reply :).

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I did as GG suggested and compared the pieces against one of his jackets, it does look like I will have to frog it and reknit, adding 2", which I’ll add as you suggested. It’s just strange how they specified in the garment measurements that sleeve seam INCLUDING turn back cuff is 22", so can’t be a typo. Ah well won’t be too much to reknit since it’s chunky. Thanks so much for your input, glad I got some advice instead of charging ahead :).


Probably for the same reason I don’t think of simple, practical things for myself. How much will you have to frog? The sweater will be great when it’s done.

I ripped back to the ribbing and will add 2" straight in the pattern before increasing. Thank you! I hope he’ll like it, he loves retro fashion :).


I agree it is odd that the pattern clearly says the measurement includes the turn back on the cuff. Good job you noticed the length needed attention before seaming and finishing up.

I think I gave you a bad answer though for which I apologise. I had intended to say I would undo the BIND OFF and add the extra 2" at the underarm. This would have meant less frogging and reknitting. I see I made a mistake in my post and put cast on rather than bind off. Sorry.
For what it’s worth, the way you are adding the extra, after the cuff, is probably a better finish and more professional. Worth the effort for such a lovely knit.


Excellent catch. The inset part of the modified drop isn’t included in the measuring but still needs knitting.


I think adding the extra right after the cuff will make the sleeve too tight above the wrist. It would have been best to add at the top of the sleeve…the part worked straight would fit nicely into the jog at the underarm. Next best, since you’ve already frogged it, would be to start the increase after the cuff, but space the increases out more, to allow for the extra length.

Didn’t think of that, but you’re totally right. Frogging for the second time (but only a couple inches :slight_smile: ).