When is a top both sleeved and sleeveless? When it is part of the knitwear collection by Raf Simons for Calvin Klein this winter.
Several tops in the 205W9NYC collection featured these distinctive detachable sleeves, a couple in bright contrast colours and another continuing in a single, streamlined black.
How to wear? This concept offers a lot of opportunity for customising the pieces in your wardrobe- the original top can be worn without a sleeve, with a full sleeve (although it is unclear from descriptions whether it can be fully attached), with the sleeve pulled up or down the arm to create a shorter sleeve or slouchy cuff. Added to another outfit, the sleeves can be worn more like a leg warmer, adding extra warmth and an extra pop of colour or interesting texture.
Knit-inspiration: Detachable sleeves can be knitted in the round just like a standard wrist cuff or arm warmer, but with a bit of an extension so that it can reach all the way to the top of the arm, if desired.
How to knit? Unlike the shorter arm warmers, shaping will be necessary to account for the increase in arm circumference, so it may be handy to check out the measurements and increase pattern of a sleeve from a sweater pattern. (Or for a less exact but simpler method, just regularly try on the sleeve and see how it looks, adding a couple of increases at either end of the round when you want to add a bit more fabric!)
There are endless options for customising a simple vanilla tube sleeve- adding ribbing, stripes, a stranded colourwork design like Fair Isle, lace, cables. Varying weight and type of yarn can make a huge difference, too- from a delicate 4-ply/fingering weight, fluffy mohair to a snuggly, chunky weight, smooth merino.
The sleeve could also be extended down the hand to form a thumb hole or even a fingerless mitt, (-wrapping round the thumb and reaching to the knuckles) for extra cosy sleeves.
This could be a perfect relaxing or on-the-go project- lots of simple knitting round and round- just like socks but minus the tricky heels or fiddly toes!
Some arm warmer pattern ideas:
Top, left to right: simple Georgia Sleeves by Celeste Glassel, slip-stitch Dotlets by Jana Huck, textured ridges along 158-6 Chloe Wrist Warmers by DROPS Design. Bottom, left to right: elegant, lace Armstulpe/wrist warmers Ottavia by Birgit Freyer, armour-like, textured Lidar by Jana Huck, and slouchy, ribbed super soft wristworms by LondonLeo.