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45 Different {TYPES OF SLEEVES} that you can add to your clothes

Learn about the different sleeve styles and types. Main kinds of sleeves like set in sleeves, ragalan sleeves and one piece sleeves are further categorized.
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Sleeves are such an important part of clothes as it is one of the first things you see in a garment. They should fit properly and be comfortable to wear as well. Sleeve styles vary greatly with time and fashion.

Fashions of sleeves come and go. One moment a particular sleeve may be in fashion but then they disappear completely for decades to resurface later and become a rage again. I remember wearing loose puff sleeves in my teenage years as it was in fashion; now I cannot imagine wearing them, one because it absolutely kills my body shape and two they are luckily not in fashion. 

The two main categories of sleeves are Set-in sleeves and one-piece sleeves. Then there are Raglan sleeves that join the bodice with a slightly curved seam. The set-in sleeve refers to those sleeves which are joined onto the curved armscye. They join the side seams of the bodice at the underarm. The one-piece sleeves are part of the bodice; Kimono sleeves, Dolman/ Magyar sleeves, and the batwing sleeves belong to this category. 

Checkout this post on drafting different types of sleeves for your dresses and tops and 2 Easy DIY sleeves you can add to your sleeveless tops/ dresses

The different types of sleeves are as follows:

 1. Regular sleeve

There are 2 ways a sleeve is attached – Set in sleeve is a normal sleeve with a high rounded sleeve cap. The sleeve is attached after the bodice and the sleeve is finished. This is a sleeve which is set into the armscye with the sleeve head curved to adjust to the roundness of the shoulder.

The other one is the shirt sleeve. The usual way is to sew this sleeve to the bodice and then the side seams are finished. 

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2. Raglan sleeves

This is a sleeve joined to the bodice with a diagonal seam running from the underarm front and back in to the neckline.

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Checkout the tutorial to draft a raglan sleeved top and the peasant dress pattern tutorial which has gathered raglan sleeves

3. Cap sleeves

This is a sleeve which just about covers the top of the arm. It is a short sleeve. You also call it ap sleeves when the shoulder fabric is extended up and over the shoulder cap without breaking to extend slightly down the arm. The effect is the same in both cases

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You can also checkout the slightly gathered cap sleeves in the lace yoke blouse sewing pattern for details on drafting this

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4. Extended Cap sleeves 

This sleeve is a cap sleeve with a small extension from the shoulder. Checkout this tunic pattern with extended sleeves  . 

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5. Bracelet sleeves (Three fourth sleeve)

This sleeve has a length between elbow and the wrist. The whole idea is that when you wear this sleeve you can see your bracelet. From the elbow it measures about 4 inches. 

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6. Lantern sleeves

This is a long sleeve with two sections. The top portion of this sleeve flares from the sleeve head towards the wrist. The bottom part flares from a fitting wrist to meet the flare from the top. The two parts are joined by a seam which maintains its flared lantern shape. A long lantern sleeve and short lantern sleeve can be made. 

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7. Man’s shirt sleeve with cuff

This sleeve has two pleats at the buttoned cuff and a placket opening.

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8. Leg of mutton sleeves

This is a full gathered sleeve head which tapers to fit towards the wrist giving it the appearance of a leg of mutton. Read more on Leg of Mutton sleeves here.

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9. Juliet Sleeve

This is similar to the leg of mutton sleeve. The difference being that this sleeve has two parts to it. The top part at the sleeve head is very full . This is gathered and joined to a fitted sleeve part in the lower arm.

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10. Bell sleeves

The Sleeve has a full flare at the hem giving it a bell shape.This tutorial for a flared dress pattern has instructions to make bell sleeves. Read more on the 6 different types of bell sleeves here.

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11. Cape sleeve / Circular sleeve

This is a shorter version of the bell sleeve, mostly shorter than elbow – very flared. Flared sleeve ending an inch or so above the elbow is called Capelet sleeves.

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12. Frill Sleeve / Flute sleeves

This sleeve is fitted till the elbow and from there a frill is attached. The frill can be Umbrella frill in which a skirt is cut as we do for umbrella skirts , or Flared frill which has lesser flare or pleated frill.

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Checkout the pattern for boxy top for sewing this kind of sleeves. Read more on cutting a flounce here.

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13. Pagoda sleeve

This is sleeve which is fitted on the upper arm and has tiered frills on the lower part of the arm to the wrist. Usually there are three tiers.

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14. Bishop sleeve

This is a sleeve with a fitted upper part and a flared lower part. The flares are gathered at the wrist by a cuff. More on bishop sleeve here.

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15. Peasant sleeve

This is a gathered raglan sleeve which is gathered at the neck and hem with drawstring or elastic.

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16. Square armhole sleeve

The armhole is designed not curved but angular, mostly square shaped. This is an interesting design element.

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17. Dolman/ Magyar sleeve

This is a one piece sleeve which is an extension of the bodice. There will be no seam between bodice and the sleeve, as it is cut as one. Sometimes a gusset is added to the underarm for ease. Check out the tutorial to make a dolman sleeved top.

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18. Padded shouldered sleeve

In this case the sleeve has a shoulder pad and is made extra wide to accommodate this.

19. Petal sleeve (lapped sleeve); Tulip sleeve

This sleeve is joined at the top two edges overlapping. There will be no underarm seam for this sleeve. The layered panels that form this sleeve make it look like petals; they are usually short or skimpy sleeves.

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20. Marmaluke or Virago sleeve

This is a sleeve which is long and full and is divided into many (usually 5) full sections. The parts are gathered at intersections fitting the arm. A vintage sleeve.

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21. Angel sleeves / Dalmation sleeves

This is a flared sleeve with its ends extending into long points down the sides.

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22. Butterfly sleeve

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This sleeve has a puff at the top and is loose near the hem. It does not have a cuff like the normal puffed sleeves.

23. Bag sleeve/Barrel sleeve

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A long and very full sleeve that is gathered into the cuff at the wrist.

24. Draped sleeves

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Extra fullness is given at the top part of the sleeve whereas the under arm portion of the sleeve remains fitted. A drapey effect is created by the fullness at the top, which is sometimes drawn up with elastic. 

25. Puff sleeves

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A full sleeve which may be long or short which is gathered  at the top and or hem. A puff look is given as a result of the gathers. In earlier times, this sleeve was called a gigot sleeve.

There are many kinds of puff sleeves – gathered at the armhole alone but fitting at the sleeve round, fitting at the armhole but gathered at the sleeve round, both gathered and puffed together; These sleeves are usually gathered at the sleeve round with a sleeve band ( cuff) or elastic ribbon, or elastic enclosed casing, drawstrings You can check out the post for drafting your own puffy sleeves.

26. Drawstring puff sleeve

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This is a puff sleeve which is gathered using a drawstring or a cuff with the gathered hem forming a sort of frill.

27. Epaulet sleeve

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Sleeve with a strap on the shoulder to carry cape. A saddle sleeve is also called epaulet sleeve. 

28. Balloon sleeve

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A very full shirt sleeve which is padded to give the look of a balloon

29. Batwing sleeve

This is a cut in one piece sleeve which narrows to fit towards the wrist.

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30. Circle sleeve / Flutter sleeves

This is a sleeve which looks like a circle when it is cut. This is a sleeve which has lots of flare. Check out the post on sewing a flutter sleeve here

31. Wing Ruffle sleeve

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This is sleeve which is very short but full and is gathered to form ruffles.

32. Kimono sleeves

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This is a long one piece sleeve that is an extension of the bodice and extends to the wrist.

Checkout the post on drafting kimono sleeves or the tutorial to draft pattern and sew a Kimono / yukata for more details

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33. Over sleeve

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This consists of two sleeves one on top of the other in layering effect.

34. Hanging sleeve

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This is a very long sleeve that is open down the seam and hangs down.

35. Elbow patched sleeve

This has a patch on the elbow to protect the garment from wear and tear.

36. Slashed sleeve

This sleeve has slashes on it revealing other fabric underneath, usually of a contrasting colour.

37. Strapped or banded sleeve

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There will be a narrow strip of fabric along the hem of the sleeves.

38. Tailored sleeve

This is a two piece sleeve with seams down the front and back and not underarm like the normal sleeves. This is done so that it could be shaped. A suit sleeve is also similar. 

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39. Off-shoulder sleeve

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40. Mahoitres Sleeve

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A vintage sleeve. This sleeve is padded and is shaped like a bag.

41. Gibson Girl Sleeve

This is a sleeve which is full at the shoulder to the elbow and very fitted from the elbow to the wrist. Similar to the above sleeve.

42. Poet  Sleeve 

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This sleeve is full from the shoulder to the cuff and then features a ruffle at the hem.

43. Melon Sleeve

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This sleeve is rounded at the shoulder to the elbow ending in a cuff or band

44. Gauntlet Sleeve (Pointed)

In this sleeve, the fabric extends to the back of hand usually in a V shape

45. Cold-shouldered sleeve

This is an off-shoulder style sleeve. The sleeve hangs on to the bodice from the sides rather than from the top of the armscye leaving a hole exposing the shoulders.

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Check out the tutorial to sew cold shouldered sleeve here.

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Author: Sarina Tariq
Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.
24 thoughts on “45 Different {TYPES OF SLEEVES} that you can add to your clothes”
  1. Deepak
    Commendable m’am. Keep it up. Reply
  2. Bryansmect
    I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more. Reply
  3. Anonymous
    Very informative article. Thank you so much for its clarity and sharing. Reply
  4. Anonymous
    Am so glad that I have bumped into this platform and I must say I really like it. Than you so much, because now I know the names of the different types of sleeves and how they’re sewn. I have discovered a new way of keeping busy with my sewing machine as I improve and perfect my own skill. Reply
  5. Candy
    Thank you for this article. I’m learning to sew, and I love doing it. I found the article helpful. I’ll look through more Reply
  6. Kim
    Is there a specific name for detached sleeves other than just detached sleeves? Reply
  7. Barbara from NY
    What an informative article, thank you. The recent blouse style were statement sleeves and I have a number of blouses that I love. I know I can easily remove the separate ‘bell’ piece. how can I use the length of that separate piece and remove the ‘statement’ from it? Reply
  8. Anna Darman
    What is the name of the sleeve that is fitted until pasted the elbow then balloons out to the wrist? Reply
  9. Missy
    I’m reading a book called Christmas in Texas and it mentions a “Beauregard sleeve”. I’m having trouble finding a definition and wondered if anyone has heard of it. Here it is used in context. The year was 1862 and Texas was deep in The Civil War if that helps: “Texas women, scornful of wearing lace or silk imported from the North, proudly wore homespun with Beauregard sleeves to the Christmas dances.” Reply
    • Sarina Tariq
      I am afraid I do not know. I have read a book with Beauregard as the name of a person. Not as a sleeve.
  10. veronica Payne
    hi looking for floating sleeves that used are on motor racing suits do you do them? Reply
  11. Harini
    I want patterns Reply
  12. Josiah Deborah
    I gained a lot Reply
  13. Gina
    Best Sewing-Related website for STRAIGHTFORWARD, READILY AVAILABLE, useful information! Reply
  14. Ruth
    Terrific list — comprehensive and easy to understand. Thank you! Reply
  15. Samuel Kikelomo
    Thank you so much, I’ve gained a lot of knowledge. Reply
  16. Chebet naomy
    Thanks so much have gain alot of knowledge Reply
  17. Harsha Mohanty
    Very useful facts ,I know that get wide range of knowledge about sleeves Reply
  18. akansha
    thank you this is very helpful for me in my sleeves project Reply
  19. Rouyda Ahmad

    Which one I should choose if I have full arms but not at the top
    By the shoulder or down by the elbow
    Only in the middle where we measure usually to make the
    Sleeve pattern ?

    Reply
  20. Emily
    Thank you so much!! Reply
  21. emily
    SO much appreciation for this!! <3 Reply
  22. Judith Orya
    I love this site. Reply
    • Sarina
      Me too ; ) thank you Judith
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