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Sewing sleeves into knitted jumper

(29 Posts)
MamaCaz Wed 10-Jan-18 09:21:20

I'm assembling a drop-shoulder (I think that's the right term!) jumper that I've just finished knitting for my GS. I can't decide whether it is best to sew in the sleeves before or after the side seams are sewn, so I thought I would ask you talented ladies what you would do smile.

Also, the body has about 8 stitches cast off each side where the underarm will be (all on one row, not gradual). I presume that I have ease the right-angle of these cast-offs into a curve/straight line as I join in the straight top of the sleeves?

Iam64 Wed 10-Jan-18 09:35:02

MamaCaz - put a sentence into google asking how to sew a jumper together and you will be directed to various sites where knitters demonstrate exactly that.

Bathsheba Wed 10-Jan-18 09:56:37

No, don't ease the right angle into a straight line. The 8 cast off stitches (about an inch?) should be sewn along the sides of the sleeve. The straight top of the sleeve is sewn along the rest of the front and back edge. In other words, if you stitch the shoulder seams and then lay the front and back down flat, the sleeve should be insterted into the armhole shape, with the right angled corner of the sleeve fitting into the right angled corner of the front/back. I hope that makes sense!

Bathsheba Wed 10-Jan-18 09:57:30

inserted, not insterted !!

MamaCaz Wed 10-Jan-18 10:22:11

Thank you Bathshaba. Yes, that makes a lot of sense.

Iam64. Google is usually great, and I tried it before posting, but couldn't find anything that really helped me. Some sites show the sleeves being sewn in before side seams are joined, and others after. Also, probably because I couldn't think of the right key words to use, I couldn't find an answer to my second question. Of course, now I know what to do, I am sure to find lots of tutorials showing exactly what I wanted! grin

Jalima1108 Wed 10-Jan-18 10:41:11

I do it as Bathsheba suggests.
Join shoulders, lay them out flat, I use loose knitting safety pins to join the two pieces occasionally, then I mattress stitch the sleeves in, you can ease the sleeve in then and not be left with a bit at the end.

Then sew up the underarm seams and the side seams.

Fennel Wed 10-Jan-18 11:31:56

That's how I would do it too (though I'm a sewer rather than a knitter.)
If the top of the sleeve is longer than the armhole, run a gathering thread in the parts you want shorter, either the top of the shoulder, or underarm.

Nonnie Wed 10-Jan-18 11:39:46

Another one who would sew in the sleeve top before sewing up the side seams. No idea why, it is just what I have always done. Seem seasier.

Nonnie Wed 10-Jan-18 11:40:03

or even seems easier!

Bathsheba Wed 10-Jan-18 12:06:56

Or perhaps the seam is easier Nonnie? grin

Jalima1108 Wed 10-Jan-18 12:33:04

If you mattress stitch it in then you can 'ease' it in, instead of gathering it first (which you could do of course) then you can pick up two stitches on the sleeve head to one on the body of the sweater every so often - evenly spaced - and keep checking.

MamaCaz Wed 10-Jan-18 12:52:05

Well, the sleeves are now in and it's looking good. I used mattress stitch as most of you suggested - I only learned that stitch last year and love it.

Just the side and sleeve seams to sew up now. I will probably use back stitch for that, as I find it fiddly at this stage to keep those right sides lined up and accessible for mattress stitch especially on the sleeve seams.

Anyway, lunch first.

Thanks again, everyone,

Jalima1108 Wed 10-Jan-18 12:54:10


I like mattress stitch but not for sewing up the inner arms of sleeves. The side seams are quite easy to do in mattress stitch as they are generally straighter.

Yes, lunch-time

MamaCaz Wed 10-Jan-18 16:17:38

Finished smile

Fennel Wed 10-Jan-18 17:45:56

I'd never heard of mattress stitch, but just watched a video showing how to do it - looks good!
I must tell my friend who does a lot of knitting.

Jalima1108 Wed 10-Jan-18 17:48:46

It makes a very neat seam on the outside , well, in fact, the garment can look seamless if done carefully. And it is easier to match up the ribs because you are working on the right sides of the garment.

MargaretX Wed 10-Jan-18 18:04:21

Sew the sleeves into the shoulder and press with an iron using a damp cloth between jumper (wrong side)and iron. that way the sleeve will sit well. Actually if you have cast of 8 sts on the sides you should have cast off 8 sts on both sides of the sleeve as well.
Can't help that now but next time......

mrsmopp Wed 10-Jan-18 21:03:07

Type in 'How to seam set in sleeves' into YouTube for a demo video clip. Worth a look?

Bathsheba Wed 10-Jan-18 21:09:31

mrsmopp she has finished sewing the jumper up now - she mentioned that upthread...

mrsmopp Wed 10-Jan-18 22:47:13

Oops, never mind. It might help someone else.

Nelliemoser Wed 10-Jan-18 22:57:51

One of my knitting group friends does amazing things like three needle bind offs which give a very neat finish.
I would love to be able to do that . One day I will practice it.
Setting in sleves is harder in knitting that in sewing.

I have never mastered that. I do now use mattress stitch.
One thing about being in a knitting group you can get to learn a lot of skills from more experienced knitters.

Does anyone have a pattern for a cowl neck sweater?

Jalima1108 Wed 10-Jan-18 23:07:12

I have done three needle bindoffs on the shoulders of a tiny jumper - it was very good, enjoyable and gave a neat finish. However, I read that on a garment which may get a lot of wear (eg for a man!) it may not be tough enough. I would have to look it up if I did it again though.

Have you looked on Ravelry, Allfreeknitting or other sites for free patterns Nelliemoser?

Bathsheba Fri 12-Jan-18 18:34:26

I did three needle bindoffs on the soles of baby's bootees once. It really did give a lovely neat finish. Definitely not too much wear on these wink

Jalima1108 Fri 12-Jan-18 20:52:17

I was trying to remember when I did that and it was on a cardigan for DGD which just had straight shoulders, rather than casting some off, knitting then casting off the rest iyswim.

Fennel Sat 13-Jan-18 19:34:19

After this discussion, I think I'll have to take up knitting again. (I do know 1plain 1 purl etc.)