To knit sleeve designs, we have numerous approaches available, including simple and easy procedures as well as complicated techniques to guide an individual. Most likely, people are scared by developing the sleeve form using the set-in sleeve approach, which is a fascinating technique that improves the appearance of the product. It is a conventional shape for knitting sleeves, yet it is rather creative to work on this approach. Understandably, older techniques like set in the sleeve may be knitted flat and tend to seem three-dimensional when correctly finished.

With the assistance of precise calculations, one may get a classic appearance in the set-in sleeve method, which is rather difficult for novices in knitting. Set-in sleeves can be difficult since if the computation is not precise, one might easily wind up with the erroneous pattern of sleeves. Making the sleeve cap too short will result in insufficient armholes to fit in sleeves, thus it is preferable to have broad armholes to allow for the convenience of fitting in sleeves.

To obtain an accurate estimate, a spreadsheet or sizing chart must be created to grade the set-in sleeves approach. With the use of this article, one may create precise spreadsheet formulae that will assist them in obtaining a flat set-in sleeve pattern for your goods.

Size Chart:

Set-in sleeves are my ultimate favorite sleeves to wear, and while I haven’t designed many of them (only my Fragment t-shirt), they are my very favorite sleeves to wear. If you get the fit perfect, they fit pretty beautifully around the shoulder and are comfortable.

I believe some people avoid creating them because they are normally done flat, which is a less popular form of knitting at the time. There are, however, ways to knit a set-in sleeve from the top down (like I did in my Trust Me sweater design), which I may explain in a future blog post if you’d like.

I’ll teach you how to design them flat for the sake of this blog article, presuming you’re knitting from the bottom up.

To be clear, I always calculate my dimensions in centimeters before converting them to inches. My centimeters are all rounded to the closest 0.5, and my inches are all rounded to the nearest 0.25. Throughout this blog article, I’ll be using my size 5 (XL) as an example. Don’t forget to drag the formulae across all sizes!


I’ll start by showing you how to form the armhole into which you’ll eventually put in your sleeves. At the armholes, you are effectively transitioning from the bust width of the garment to the cross back breadth (aka your shoulder tip-to-tip width). The armhole curve is worked at the bottom of the armhole, followed by the straight work of the rest of the armhole.


If you haven’t previously, use your size chart to enter the following body dimensions into your spreadsheet:

  • Bust circumference • Cross back width (shoulder tip to tip)
  • Circumference of the upper arm • Depth of the armhole

We’ll now use those body measures to compute our completed garment measurements, which we’ll enter into the spreadsheet.

Bust Width

Because my garment sample has 5cm/2″ of positive ease around the bust, we’ll use the following calculation to get the bust width in cm. Because my clothing has positive ease, we add the ease to the bust circumference before halving it; however, if you have negative ease, you will deduct the ease from the bust circumference.


Spreadsheet formula: =MROUND((bust circumference in cm+ease in cm)/2,0.5)

The formula above computes the bust width and rounds it to the nearest multiple of 0.5 cm. Replace the cell references for bust circumference in cm and ease in cm with the relevant values. In my size 5 (XL) cell, for example, it states =MROUND((J5+5)/2,0.5), which translates to =MROUND((114+5)/2,0.5). This results in a completed bust width of 59.5 cm.

Now, using the spreadsheet method below, we will convert our bust width in cms to inches (rounded to the next multiple of 0.25″). =MROUND(CONVERT(bust width in centimeters, “cm”, “in”),0.25)

Replace bust width in cm with the appropriate cell reference, for example, for size 5 (XL),

I used =MROUND(CONVERT(J14, “cm”, “in”),0.25) for a bust width of 23.5″.

Put the formulas above in the cells for your first size, then drag them across all of the sizes to calculate the bust width in cm and inches for all sizes. All of the arithmetic will be done automatically by the spreadsheet.

Width of the Cross Back (Shoulder Tip to Tip)

Add no ease to your shoulder dimensions. The part where the sleeve cap meets the shoulder seam on a set-in sleeve sweater should sit squarely on the point of the shoulder. If it goes beyond that point, the sweater will seem ill-fitting or perhaps like a drop-shoulder!

This completed garment measurement should match the cross back on the sizing chart.

Upper Arm Width

Because my garment sample has 2.5 cm/1″ of positive ease at the upper arm, we’ll use the following calculation to determine the end garment measurement in cm, rounded to the nearest multiple of 0.5.


The formula for a spreadsheet: =MROUND(upper arm circumference in centimeters + ease in centimeters, 0.5)

Replace upper arm circumference in cm and ease in cm with the proper cell references for that size, thus in my size 5 (XL) cell, it says =MROUND(J7+2.5,0.5), which is equivalent to =MROUND(33+2.5,0.5). This results in a completed upper arm breadth of 35.5 cm.

You may convert this measurement to inches using the same approach I demonstrated for breast width. Then, drag the formulae across all sizes, and the spreadsheet will evaluate them for you automatically.

Armhole Depth

I’m giving my garment 4cm/1.5″ of positive ease at the armhole, therefore I’ll use the following calculation to get the armhole depth of my final garment in cm, rounded to the nearest multiple of 0.5.


Spreadsheet formula: =MROUND(armhole depth in cm+ease in cm,0.5)

Replace the armhole depth in cm and ease in cm with the appropriate cell references. For example, for size 5 (XL) I used =MROUND(J8+4,0.5) which means =MROUND(21.5+4,0.5) to give me an armhole depth of 25.5 cm.

Convert your armhole depth from centimeters to inches using the technique I demonstrated for bust width and drag it across all sizes to evaluate them.

Row and Stitch Gauge

Fill up the spreadsheet using your stitch and row gauge per cm. My example gauge is 22 stitches per 10 cm x 30 rows per 10 cm, therefore I know mine is 2.2 stitches and 3 rows per 1 cm.