Be Happy ☺ Get Extra 5% OFF ☺ Coupon Code : HAPPY5

Press ESC to close

Blog T Shirt Plus AustraliaBlog T Shirt Plus Australia
customer support
Talk to a real person 1300 986 000
Chat with a real person Live chat now

A Comprehensive Guide to Raglan and Set-in Sleeves

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

When it comes to fashion and clothing design, every detail matters, and one aspect that plays a crucial role in the overall look, fit, and comfort of a garment is the style of sleeve used. Sleeves have transformed from the sheer fabric covering the arm to become a significant design element that can alter the aesthetics of an outfit.

While there are numerous types of sleeves, the two that are universally present across various garments are the raglan sleeve and the set-in sleeve. Each sleeve style boasts unique characteristics that make them distinct, yet both provide style and comfort in their unique ways.

Seeking a deeper understanding of raglan and set-in sleeves? At T Shirt Plus, we provide all the insights you need, from sleeve fit sewing methods. Discover the differences, advantages, disadvantages, and style tips for both sleeve types. Start exploring now and become an expert in sleeve styling!

Raglan Sleeves

“Raglan” refers to the shirt’s design, not its fabric. These shirts have sleeves that extend to the collar and neckline rather than ending at the shoulder. Moreover, the sleeves of raglan t-shirts are typically a distinct color from the garment’s body.

In contrast, the more common set-in sleeve originates from a shoulder crease. Raglan sleeves have a looser underarm fit than set-in sleeves and offer a greater range of motion, making short- and long-sleeve raglan tees popular in sportswear, especially baseball shirts.

Initially, a raglan t-shirt was a white blouse with red, blue, or black sleeves of three-quarter length. Thankfully, designers and T-shirt manufacturers are becoming more creative, providing consumers more options.

Pros and Cons of Raglan Sleeves

Among the advantages and characteristics of raglan-sleeved custom sportswear and apparel are the following:

  • The design and construction of the raglan sleeve create additional space for mobility.
  • No shoulder sleeves exist.
  • The fitting is bigger at the underarms.
  • Slightly more relaxed style
  • Allows outerwear such as sweatshirts and jackets to accommodate additional layers underneath.

The raglan sleeve is best suited for informal and casual events and is not appropriate for formal occasions. If you will be attending a more formal sporting event, a garment with set-in sleeves may be more appropriate.

Casual and Sporty

The raglan sleeve design finds its roots in history, named after FitzRoy Somerset, Lord Raglan. He lost an arm during the Battle of Waterloo, and his tailor devised this unique sleeve style to allow for greater mobility.

Today, the raglan sleeve is known for the seam that extends from the underarm to the collarbone, which provides an extended range of movement and fits comfortably, ideal for casual wear, sportswear, and children’s clothing.

In terms of aesthetics, raglan sleeves offer a distinctive, casual look. Because of their continuous seam line, they allow designers to play with different color blocks and patterns, creating an array of fashionable clothing.

But do raglan sleeves make shoulders look wider? While this is subjective and varies depending on the individual’s body type and the garment’s fit, raglan sleeves create a broader shoulder illusion due to the extended seam line.

Set-in Sleeves

Contrasting the casual look of raglan sleeves is the more tailored, classic set-in sleeve. This sleeve style is sewn into the armhole or the armscye of the garment, creating a clear shoulder line. The fit is more defined, which gives it an edge when it comes to formal wear, office wear, or any outfit requiring a more refined look.

The set-in sleeve also provides a canvas for various other sleeve styles, such as the puff sleeve, bell sleeve, or cap sleeve, to name a few. While sewing a set-in sleeve involves careful armhole measurements and meticulous pinning, particularly to manage the ‘sleeve cap ease’ (the sleeve is slightly bigger than the armhole to allow for comfortable movement).

What to choose between Raglan or Set-In sleeves?

Set-In and Raglan are the two most common styles of sleeves used on upper-body garments. Both designs can be found on clothing such as T-Shirts, Polos, Sweat Shirts, and even jackets.

You may need clarification on the distinction between Raglan and Set-In and decide which style is best for you. The following information will assist you in selecting the appropriate work attire or company uniform.

What is the distinction between raglan and set-in sleeves?

  • The differences are not invisible, but if the garment does not feature contrasting colors, you may not even notice them.
  • Raglan provides freedom of movement to the wearer at an additional cost, whereas Set-in is quicker and less expensive.
  • Raglan is typically sporting and casual, whereas Set-in has a slightly more formal appearance.
  • Women may find Raglan sleeves more flattering because no shoulder crease accentuates the silhouette.
  • Raglan garments are broader in the underarm region than Set-in garments, which may benefit those with significant upper arms.

So, how do these two sleeve types compare?

The primary difference lies in their style and construction. With their distinctive diagonal seam, Raglan sleeves offer a sporty, relaxed look and are easier to sew without requiring precise fitting. This makes them a favourite in fast-fashion and sportswear, where production speed and comfort are key.

On the other hand, set-in sleeves lend a more formal, fitted look, enhancing the body’s contour. They are preferred for tailored clothing like blazers, blouses, and formal dresses, where a clear definition of the shoulder line is desired.

However, they require more time and skill to sew, mainly to avoid puckering at the top of the sleeve, which can happen if the ‘sleeve cap ease’ isn’t distributed evenly. 

Tackling the Challenges

Each sleeve type comes with its share of challenges. For raglan sleeves, the main disadvantage is the lack of a defined shoulder line, which can affect the garment’s overall silhouette and make it look less formal. However, this can also be advantageous for casual and athletic wear garments, where comfort and ease of movement are prioritised over structured fit.

Set-in sleeves pose different challenges, mostly related to the sewing process. Because the sleeve needs to fit perfectly into the armhole, there’s a risk of puckering or wrinkling if the ‘sleeve cap ease’ isn’t managed correctly. However, with careful sewing and attention to detail, a well-executed set-in sleeve adds significant value to the garment’s fit and aesthetic.

Adapting to Fashion Trends

Fashion is ever-evolving, and sleeve styles are no exception. Currently, raglan sleeves are witnessing a resurgence in casual and sportswear, while set-in sleeves remain a staple in formal and business attire. The beauty of fashion lies in its cyclical nature, and each style gets its turn in the spotlight.

The Final Word

Whether your preference lies with the sporty, casual raglan sleeve or the formal, classic set-in sleeve, it all boils down to the garment’s intended use, personal comfort, and your unique style. Understanding the nuances of different types of sleeves, their fit, and the style quotient, they provide can help you make informed choices, whether designing a garment, sewing one, or simply buying one off the rack.

Fashion is a form of self-expression. Embrace your style, understand your comfort, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different sleeve styles.

Are you ready to explore the world of sleeves with raglan or set-in styles? Embark on your fashion journey with Tshirtplus today. 

Related Links:

Like & Follow us on Social Media


Olivia is a seasoned blogger and printing enthusiast with a flair for fashion. With over three years of experience in fashion, she brings a unique blend of creative insights and industry knowledge to her readers. Passionate about the art of printing and the latest fashion trends. Her engaging writing style and expert guidance make her a go-to source for anyone looking to explore the dynamic world of fashion printing.

This error message is only visible to WordPress admins

Error: No feed with the ID 1 found.

Please go to the Instagram Feed settings page to create a feed.


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)