How To Shorten A Readymade Knit Sweater Sleeve

Learn how to shorten a readymade knit sweater sleeve with these simple instructions. Sleeves that are too long can make you look like you're wearing your father's clothing. But professional alterations can be costly and time consuming. Hem sweater sleeves at home with these do-it-yourself tips.

  1. Measure. Put the sweater on and look in a mirror with hands down by yours sides. With a straight pin in one hand, stick it in the exact place where you would like the sleeve the opposite sleeve to end. Repeat on the other sleeve. Remove sweater.
  2. Secure. Turn the sleeve up evenly to the point of the pin mark. If more than a half inch or so needs to go, use pinking shears (jagged-edge scissors) to cut the excess off, leaving a half inch for the seam. Press with a warm iron for a sharp line at the new hem and to hold it in place.
  3. Sew.  Use matching thread and a needle to attach the new hem to the sleeve. Work on the wrong side (inside) and grab only as much fabric (a thread or two) from the sleeve as necessary to attach it to the hem. Work back and forth from sleeve to hem all the way around.  Knot.  Alternatively, a cable knit sweater can be run through a sewing machine. Keep the thread close to the edge of the hem.

Sleeves look best when they fall between the lowest part of the wrist and the base of the outer thumb joint. Too short is no better than too long. While this can be done at home with average skills, don't be foolish. Sewing for the first time on a $500 cashmere sweater would not be wise. Choose a large knit sweater and something you won't be heartbroken over if all does not go well. Don't practice on your favorite sweater or the one your woman gave you. You're on your own with that one.

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