knit different sleeves for this sweater? experienced sweater-knitter input?

Hi experienced sweater knitters! :):slight_smile: My gauge was dead on for this sweater, but for some reason I freaked out at the last minute and decided to make the larger size. Which was a terrible mistake, as it now looks like a grape with way too much +ease. It’s a bottom up sweater with front and back panels and then the sleeves set in and the collar completed. Here’s the thing… I have not knitted the sleeves up yet and they are leg-of-mutton style sleeves. I made test sleeves a while back (for the small size) and they were pretty roomy. I am deeply afraid at this point that this style of sleeve in large size will be ginormous at the shoulder. I don’t want to scrap the sweater, but I was thinking of grafting on a straighter sleeve style to this sweater. Does anyone think that that is possible or advisable? – I’ve attached my purple version and a screen shot of the final sweater so you can see the sleeves. Thank you for any input!


Is this a vintage pattern? It looks like a vintage pattern to me, having knitted this sort of sweater back when they were high fashion and the idea was to drown the body.

I have noticed that there are 80s style patterns around now as well but the shaping is different, so the balance is different. If you look at high fashion designs for modern over-sized sweaters, the sleeves are slimmer and the armhole depth much less than vintage designs.

I happen to own this one:…dunbar-sweater.

I would think it is perfectly straightforward to alter the sleeves to be less overwhelming. I have done it myself.

I don’t know if you sew, but sleeves are usually eased into garments, not the other way round. I would be very surprised if slimmer sleeves had any effect on what you have knitted already.

You can also pick up and knit a sleeve in a shaped armhole (using short rows) and knit the sleeves from the armhole down. I haven’t done this for a while (Vogue Knitting 2009) but I have done it and would be happy to walk you through it.

ETA Happy to walk you through any ideas/numbers etc

I would definitely go for top down sleeves, that way it is possible to adjust the fit all the way down. Paula J Ward has some very useful videos on this on YouTube, and of course, the original Barbara G Walker book Knitting from the Top.

@aams AND @5xhappy thank you so much for the incredibly helpful input! Yes it is a vintage design–that Dunbar sweater is lovely btw!–and I am already planning on keeping the neck square and open (I don’t like high collars) – I haven’t decided on what edge I’ll do but it will be minimal because I agree, the sweater is just too much. I don’t know what got into me even starting it, because it has so many elements I normally don’t wear. I think it’s because I was just learning cables and wanted a project with 1 simple cable to practice on.

Yay! I will definitely take on the top-down sleeve. I watched the Paula Ward video (she’s such a good teacher) and it makes clever sense. She said that the minimum # of stitches to pick up around the sleeve is every other stitch (excluding the bound off area under the arm), so do you think I should go straight for that to make the sleeve as small as possible right from the get-go? Then once that cap is complete I can try the thing on and decide where to go from there.

I think this is good for me, I’m usually a by-the-book knitter and crocheter so pattern, schmattern!! :p​​​​​​​

As the armholes in the picture look quite roomy, to eliminate the bulk at the bottom, I would pick up every other stitch at the bottom and lover part of sleeve and pick every as you come closer to the top. That way the sleeve is sleek and there is no underarm bulk. That is how I do it, but everyone has a different approach.


Aha! Ok I see, that looks cute, and the little lift at the top gives it a great shape. I will have a go at it over the weekend and knit just a bit of the cap and then maybe pop back here with a photo so you can tell me what you think? I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to share your wisdom with me!! :slight_smile:

You are welcome. The ‘lift a the top’ you are referring happened by mistake :face_with_hand_over_mouth:. My daughter after the baby lost a lot of weight, so size S was too loose for her, hence the look.

Happy accident! :smiley: :smiley: