How to Crochet a Sleeve in a Sweater

    by Marianne Hales Harding

    About the Author

    Marianne Hales Harding is a freelance writer based in Southern Utah. She holds a BA in English and an MFA in Playwriting and has been writing professionally for the past 12 years. Her plays have been produced on both coasts and regionally and her play "Squish" has been published by Brooklyn Publishers.


    Sweater sleeves present a challenge to the beginning and intermediate crocheter, but a few simple steps can make the process less frustrating. Sewn-in sleeves -- crocheted sleeves that are attached to the garment by hand-stitched seams -- are standard in many sweater patterns and can be less bulky. Sewn-in sleeves are also easier for beginning crocheters to master. Crocheting a sleeve directly into a sweater, however, can give the seam greater strength and give the finished piece a more unified look.

    Things You'll Need

    • Yarn
    • Crochet hook
    • Scissors

    Press the garment flat with your hands, so that there is a distinct front and back to the garment. Mark the top and the bottom of the armhole with a contrasting piece of yarn. You will discard this later.

    Join your thread to the marked stitch at the bottom of the armhole and chain one. This counts as the first stitch. Work single crochet stitches from the first marked stitch to the second marked stitch. Crochet in the ends of the rows from the body of the garment. Be sure to evenly space your stitches. This may require skipping rows or working two stitches in one row.

    Count the number of stitches worked in the first half of the armhole. Work the same number of single crochet stitches from the second marked stitch back down to the first marked stitch. Join in the first stitch. This completes the base row of the sleeve. You can now discard the contrasting yarn you used to mark stitches.

    If desired, begin motif from garment body now. If a plain sleeve is required, chain three -- counts as first stitch -- and then work a double crochet stitch in each single crochet stitch. Join in the first stitch. Repeat this row until three-quarters of desired sleeve length is reached.

    If a tapered sleeve is required, add a decrease stitch on each row, from three-quarters of desired sleeve length to the last row. Sleeves can also be worked without tapering. In that case, continue the motif or double crochet stitches without decrease stitches until desired length is reached.

    Sleeves can be finished by working single crochet stitches for an entire row, or a cuff can be added by work three rows of single crochet stitches. Fold the cuff over when complete.

    • Working in rounds -- for example, continuing stitches rather than joining in the first stitch of the row and working chains to start the next row -- is preferable when crocheting a plain sleeve. Working in rows is better when crocheting a motif.
    • Don't pack too many stitches into the base row as it makes the stitching too dense and causes the sleeve to stick out unnaturally.