Anatomy of a Sweater

a woman wearing a crochet sweater stands in a field

If you are new to garment making it can be a little overwhelming dealing with all the new terminology that you come across. To help you out here is a little break down of the different parts of a sweater as we describe them in crochet and knitting patterns and also in dressmaking.

graphic labelling different parts of a sweater

1. Neckband

Or sometimes neckline. This describes the finished or unfinished head opening of the sweater. This will be where a collar or hood may be added. Sometimes neckbands are worked as part of the sweater and sometimes they are picked up and worked afterwards. We normally call it neckline if there is no differentiation between the fabric of the rest of the sweater.

The contrast neckband on the Charn Sweater from Everyday Wearables shows a neckband that has been picked up from around the neckline

2. Shoulder

The part of the garment that sits on top of your shoulder but we mean not just the actual shoulder joint but the whole area from your neck to your shoulder joint.

If a pattern is talking about left or right shoulder that is "as worn" not as you look at it so you have to imagine it on you and its the part that will sit on your left or right shoulder.

3. Yoke

This is the whole area from the underarm to the shoulder and may, depending on the design incorporate part of the top of the sleeves.

You can see this more clearly in the Maple Falls Top as it has patterning over the yoke area and without sleeves you can see how the yoke extends over the shoulder. This is known as a circular yoke but I will cover the different types of yoke in another tutorial.

4. Underarm. 

The bit of fabric that fits under your armpit. While you'd barely think about this section in a ready to wear sweater, it comes up a lot when making the garment because in a lot of sweater designs as it needs to be shaped for fit and also its where the sleeve meets the body so needs to be joined in some way or where the space is left for the arm opening.

5. Body

This section describes everything from the armpit down normally although sometimes its usage includes the yoke section too. If the sweater you are making is made in pieces you will work the Front and the Back to make the Body so you may not see this term used at all.

6. Sleeve

The bit that goes over your arm. Most people will know this part because its also in common usage more than some of the other parts but I include it for completeness.

7. Cuff

The end of the sleeve that is often ribbed, elasticated or differently patterned to close the sleeve. Depending on sleeve length this could be at the bicep, forearm or wrist. Even when there is no finishing or different pattern we still refer to the cuff as the bottom of the sleeve, the furthest part from the shoulder to help us talk about where we are starting or finishing the making.

The Cold Snap Cardigan features a ribbed turned up cuff and a long ribbed hem that conceals a pocket.

8. Hem

The bottom of the body that is often ribbed, elasticated or differently patterned. Hems are often patterned this way to give a little weight to stop them rolling on fabrics that are prone to doing this or it may be elasticated to pull it in. This could be at the waist or hip or below depending on the body length. 

Now I've demystified the basics for you, you might like to learn how to measure yourself for your first garment Or perhaps have a go at one of our selection of garments.


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