The Drop-Shoulder Sleeve Top

The Drop-Shoulder Sleeve Top

Sweater knitting is more popular than ever—and we’re just getting started!

There are so many style, shape, and technique options in sweater knitting that we thought it might be nice—through a series of posts—to explore these in detail and help you navigate your way to a sweater you’ll love to knit and wear.

In addition to our perspective, we’ll link to some of our favorite knitting experts and designers for a deeper dive on topics of particular interest to you.

First up: shoulder shaping. The shoulder style on a knitted sweater is often a bellwether of overall fit and silhouette. Knitters have a range of options when choosing a shoulder style: drop, set-in, raglan, saddle, circular yoke, and dolman. Today we’ll focus on drop-shoulder sweaters.


  • Relaxed, loose fit with little/no body shaping (4-10” positive ease).
  • Larger sleeves created by deeper than normal armhole and larger bicep.
  • Average and longer garment lengths are best (vs. cropped).
  • Often (but not always) oversized in appearance.

YARN CONSIDERATIONS—drop-shoulder garments

  • Best with thinner yarns (fingering/sport-weight) to minimize fabric bunching under arms.
  • Best paired with yarns with good drape, including blends with fibers like alpaca, silk, linen, viscose, bamboo, rayon, etc.
  • Gauge can be somewhat looser.
  • Together the yarn and gauge can create a fabric that falls gently on the body to flatter rather than hide what’s beneath.

FIT BENEFITS AND TIPS—drop-shoulder garments

  • The extra fabric created in drop-shoulder designs often look great on bodies with narrow/average shoulders and average/wider hips. If you have broad shoulders and narrow hips, drop-shoulder styles may not be as flattering.
  • Drop-shoulder designs work well for bodies with fuller arms or larger biceps.
  • Drop-shoulder garments have simple, clean lines (fewer seams at the shoulder) and are the perfect style to showcase color blocking, color work, and stitch patterns.


Though I have built my knitting knowledge through contact with a broad range of amazing designers and technique experts, my fundamental understanding of sweater knitting and fit has come from workshops, articles, and books—often written by Amy Herzog of Amy Herzog Designs. Click Here to read her post on drop-shoulder sweaters.