Sweater Fit Questions & Answers: Sleeves (Part 2)

1 March 2023

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The following question was sent in by Gayle F.

Q: How do you customize a sweater when your upper arms are a completely different size from the rest of you? For instance, my upper arms are a size 18, my torso is a size 12. It makes knitting sweaters hard.

Continuing from my last column, which covered drop shoulders and circular yokes, this time we take a deep dive into set-in sleeves. A third part, about raglans, is coming.

Do you have a question about how to make sweaters so that they fit better? Ask here!

Set-in Sleeve

To understand how to modify a set-in sleeve, you need to understand the relationship between the pieces that connect to create one: the armhole and the sleeve cap.

The armhole and sleeve cap are engineered to fit together comfortably around your shoulder joint. The perimeter of the armhole (measured once front and back  of the garment have been joined) and the edge of the sleeve cap must be the same length for the pieces to fit together perfectly.

Dt Sleeves Set In Sleeve And Cap

All images by Kim McBrien Evans.

Copyright © Kim McBrien Evans except as indicated.
Photo of Kim McBrien Evans

About Kim McBrien Evans

Curiosity and exploration are the name of the game for Canadian knitwear designer and indie hand dyer, Kim McBrien Evans. A lifelong love of colour, texture, and pattern prompted Kim to transition from working artist to textile maven. Her knitwear designs are known for their ability to turn an abstract idea into a textile reality while simultaneously fitting and complimenting a wide range of bodies. This design work has lead her to explore how home sewers and knitters can create clothing that fits, while showing professional designers the beauty of inclusive design. Her yarn company, indigodragonfly, is renowned for its vibrant colours, offbeat names, and ever expanding plan for world domination. Her work has appeared in Vogue Knitting, Knitscene, Knit.Wear, Knitting Magazine (UK), A Stash of One’s Own (ed. Clara Parkes), The Sewcialists and Uppercase. She is co-author of Custom Shawls for the Curious and Creative Knitter.

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