According to the fashion bibles WhoWhatWear and Vogue Magazine, balloon sleeves, bishop sleeves and all those other big, dramatic sleeves have proven to be trends with staying power. Embrace the romance and the joy of having free arm movement. If you’re looking for your on-trend winter knitting project, here’s 11 balloon sleeve knitting and crochet patterns. One of them is sure to be your perfect fit!
Balloon Sleeve Cardigans
Beata Jezek’s free Le Pouf cardigan pattern has the balloon sleeves you’re looking for. There’s also a cool colour transition built into the design. She recommends Hedgehog Fibres yarn for this project, and if we were choosing we’d go with their Sock Yarn.
Crocheters, we haven’t forgotten about you! KingandEye’s Chunky Balloon Sleeve Bomber is a crocheted cardigan pattern that is so easy and comes together in a flash. It’s simple, stylish and perfect for beginning crocheters looking to add something new to their wardrobe. This calls for a super bulky yarn. While Wool and the Gang’s Alpachino Merino is a bit on the lighter side (one of the only times that phrase has been written!), we think it would work well.
Don the Electrocardi by designer Disco Stitch and even the trudge to take out the recycling will feel like a trip to Studio 54. Her instructions explain how to knit this with many different yarn weights. So if you’re looking for a way to use a chunk of your stash, you’ve found the perfect candidate. If you want to find some yarn to use, we’d recommend Zealana Kauri Worsted for the body, or try Wool and the Gang’s Feeling Good yarn if you are into texture. We’d suggest Wool and the Gang Crazy Sexy Wool for the sleeve main colour. And for the two contrast colour yarns, try a mix of Sublime Superfine Alpaca DK and Wool and the Gang Glitterball Sock Yarn to bring the disco sparkles.
Can you have something tailored and yet oversized at the same time? Surprisingly, you can if it’s the Sophia Cardigan by Kristin Jones! This will lend a 1930s-era flare to any outfit when you wear it. The oversize rib sleeves and collar really set this one apart. She recommends using Wool and the Gang Crazy Sexy Wool to make this cardigan.
PetiteKnit has delivered a pattern, the Balloon Cardigan, that updates the traditional cardigan with little style details to make it perfect for this decade. It’s got a crop that’s a perfect match for a high-waisted jean. And it also has glamorous balloon sleeves that are just big enough. Designed for a lace and fingering yarn held together, this would be lovely in Zealana Air Superfine held double with Urth Yarns Harvest Fingering, or you could substitute a DK weight like Bandit DK. (She’s also created several balloon sleeve sweater patterns, including the Sunday Sweater and the dramatic Balloon Sweater.)
Balloon Sleeve Jackets
The vintage styling of Fabel Knitwear’s Sylphide Jacket pattern is irresistible. If the bishop sleeves weren’t glorious enough, the bluebell pattern on the back adds the kind of detailing and complexity that is sure to attract positive comments! They recommend a 100% merino yarn, and we suggest Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles or Lady Dye Yarns Superwash Fingering. Want to knit a garment with a shorter sleeve? Their Capulet Blouse pattern has a similar vintage vibe and is a lovely three-season sweater.
Balloon Sleeve Sweaters
The Fine Line Sweater pattern by Lily Kate France has a vintage vibe with its fitted body and the structure of the puff at the shoulders. It echoes the last two big eras for balloon sleeves, the 1930s and the 1820s-30s. It’s also size-inclusive to a bustline of 158 cm. So if the boob fairy has truly gifted you, then this may be the right pattern for you! She recommends an 8-ply yarn with silk, so we think Sublime Baby Cashmere/Merino/Silk would be a great choice.
Another size-inclusive pattern is the gorgeous Diaphanous Raglan sweater by Jessie Maed Designs. It also goes up to a bustline of 158 cm. This flattering pattern is light and airy and designed to go with high-waisted pants or skirts. If you fall in love with this one, there’s also a short flutter sleeve option for summer. She recommends holding together a fingering and lace weight yarn to knit this. We’d suggest Anzula’s sparkly Nebula paired with either easy-care Wash My Lace or fluffy Hedgehog Kidsilk Lace for the project. If you’d prefer a dramatic V-neck, try her Bubble V Crop pattern.
Looking for a vintage vibe with lots of drama but less of a shoulder puff? Then Andi Satterlund’s Morticia sweater pattern will add a fun 60s vibe to your wardrobe. Knit it in black to add a little goth flair to your wardrobe, or in a brighter colour for a whole different look. She suggests a merino DK for this sweater, and we’d suggest Lammermoor Naturally.
Sweater Number 1 by My Favourite Things is glamorous, fuzzy and fiercely feminine. She recommends combining mohair and silk lace weight yarns to get the perfect look. We’d suggest the combination of Zealana Air’s possum down, cashmere and mulberry silk alongside Hedgehog Fibers Kidsilk Lace, which blends mohair and silk, to get a similar drape.
Finally, The Mailen Crop by Cecilia Losada has a little bit of everything. It’s got balloon sleeves, it’s cropped, it’s got eyelets and it’s got fabulous colourwork throughout. This pattern also uses two of our favourite yarns, Urth Monokrom Fingering and Urth Harvest Fingering.
Which one of these will you make this winter? Let us know in the comments!