How To Sew Set In Sleeves In Cabled Knitting?

How to knit seamless set-in sleeves from the top down

I occasionally use a technique to knit sleeves that look set-in that I first learned about in the book Custom Knits in 2008, and it’s a method that many modern patterns use. Sleeves from the armhole out with no seaming. But by shaping a sleeve cap with short rows, you really mimic the look of set-in sleeves.


Knitting needles of the same size as the body, but in whatever method you prefer to work in a small diameter (double-pointed needles, one long circular for magic loop, two circulars, etc.). Locking stitch markers or safety pins

Things to know

How to knit in the round (for the majority of the sleeve) and flat (for the sleeve cap). How to pick up stitches along an edge as you knit – and how to do it in different ways depending on the thickness of the armhole.

First thing’s first: determine width of sleeve at upper arm

Calculate the width of your sleeve around your upper arm, then divide it in half for the front/back of the armhole. If you get an odd number (1, 3, 5, etc), you’ll have to round up in the second step.

Mark the top and bottom of your armhole

To mark the center bottom and top of the armhole, I use locking stitch markers, but you could also use safety pins or a loose knot with a strand of contrasting yarn. I put mine about an inch in from the open edge so they don’t get in the way.

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Pick up stitches along armhole

Pick up the number of stitches you determined you’ll need around the entire armhole, using your top marker as a guide for the halfway point. Optional: If you’re knitting a pattern stitch, go ahead and insert a marker as you pass the locking marker.

Mark the end of the armhole shaping stitches

Once you’ve picked up all of the stitches, look at the bottom of the armhole and mark the end of these stitches with a locking marker. This is where you’ll stop working the short rows on both the front and back.

Mark the top of the sleeve

Begin by marking the center top of both sleeves, then dividing the number of stitches on each side by three and rounding up or down to the nearest whole number if necessary.

Start working short rows

Starting at the bottom of the armhole and working your way up to the marker just past where you marked the top of the shoulder will feel strange at first, but it will become second nature once you get used to it.
If you’re using the magic loop method, you’ll want to use a marker to mark the start of the round; if you’re using a pattern stitch, you’ll have to figure out how many stitches you picked up. I’ll refer to the markers by number as we go.

Continue working the sleeve in the round

If you’re knitting a full sleeve, you’ll need to figure out when to decrease the length of the sleeve. The only thing left to do with the cap is to pick up the wrap and work it with the stitch in the first full round.

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Knitting a top-down sleeve with a stitch pattern

When you get to the wrapped stitch on the right side, you won’t always be knitting the stitch and the wrap together; if you make a mistake, it won’t be noticeable because all the wrapped stitches are so close to the faux seam line you’re creating.

How do you knit a seamless set in sleeves from the top down?

Purl them together as one, then slip your right-hand needle into the wrap from the back and lift it onto the left-hand needle.

How do you attach sleeves to a sleeveless dress?

  1. Use a shirt from your closet as a pattern.
  2. Lay your pattern piece along the folded edge of your fabric and cut around it, adding a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
  3. Open the sleeve up and fold the bottom edge over twice and hem.

What is the difference between raglan sleeves and set in sleeves?

While offering less flexibility and ease of movement than the raglan sleeve, a set-in sleeve gives a more professional, formal look. The biggest benefits of a set-in sleeve are: Offers a tailored look suitable for formal events.

How do you reduce stitches in a raglan sleeve?

Raglan Lines and Other Tapered Shapings with Beautiful Mirrored Decreases

  1. Purl the next stitch.
  2. Insert the left needle into the slipped stitch from left to right, and pass this stitch over the knit stitch and off the right needle.

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