Knitwear Design

Measuring Sleeves

  • April 30, 2024
"My Sleeves are always too long" Consider some basic geometry when measuring sleeve length.

I always measure sleeves from the underarm to the wrist. Plus I recommend you measure something you wear to determine your sleeve length for your knitting.

Consider this:

A shaped sleeve is shaped with an angle. The measurement of the "A" line in this drawing (15.3") is longer than the "B" line (14.6"). It's just geometry.

If you measure the sleeve seam of your sweater and use that measurement, you sleeves will be longer than you expect.

Lessons learned:

  • Measure straight down and don't follow the angle
  • Account for any hem, ribbing or cuff you may be planning
    • An V
    • May 3, 2024

    Thanks, a great idea :)

    • Yanna O
    • April 30, 2024

    I usually knit a sleeve with one dot titer tension than the body. You use weights, and it affects the length of the sleeve.

    • Ann C
    • April 30, 2024

    @Linda F you bring up a good point. I'll contact you privately so we can discuss further. I'll also add this to list for Saturday's Office Hours to get other opinions.

    • Linda F
    • April 30, 2024

    @Sue J Thank you, that's true! I guess my problem is that with drop shoulders, the underarm quite often sits lower, and increases sleeve length. Hmmm something more for me to think about. Thank you!!!

    • Sue J
    • April 30, 2024

    @linda F. RE: Drop Shoulders Since you are measuring from the underarm, the measurement would be the same for any style of sleeve. You can also measure like in tailoring from the center back neck, over the shoulder and down the arm, but for sweaters, I've always found measuring from the underarm more accurate (and easier) ??

    • Linda F
    • April 30, 2024

    Great tip! I often have trouble figuring the sleeve length for a drop shoulder. Any tips on that?

    • Deanna F
    • April 30, 2024

    um, wow - that explains a lot! Thank you

Add your comments
comments are added at