In this case you can't use a regular stitch holder. Thread a strand of yarn through the stitches with a tapestry needle--a contrasting color works best, I think. This way, the sleeve stitches will be able to bend when you connect the front and back.
So you'll work across the back, put the other sleeve stitches on hold and the next stitch that will be available to knit will be the first stitch of the front.
You're basically joining the body at the underarm and working the rest of the way down, going back to finish the sleeves later.
"Trust the pattern!"
Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana.
Hop aboard while we follow the cloud-covered van of knitting harmony, man!! Woooo!! --Hedgehog
IngridKH on Ravelry