Types of Sleeves

There are 30 different types of sleeves on dresses, so you're sure to find the perfect one for you.
Different Types of Sleeves
Different Types of Sleeves
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The 30 Different Types of Sleeves: A Complete Guide

Sleeves are an essential part of any garment, and there are many different types of sleeves to choose from for every garment. In this guide, we will look at 30 different types of sleeves so that you can find the perfect one for your needs. We will also discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each type of sleeve so that you can make an informed decision.

There are many different types of sleeves that can be used for various purposes. Some sleeves are designed to protect the wearer, while others are meant to provide support or a snug fit. Sleeves can come in a variety of lengths—short, mid-length, or long. They can also be made from different materials, such as cotton, linen, or silk. And, of course, there are a variety of sleeve styles to choose from, such as bell sleeves, cap sleeves, or flutter sleeves.

With so many options available, it can be hard to know which sleeve is right for you. But don't worry—we're here to help. Let us jump into the topic.

In case you are only interested in blouse sleeves, then you can refer to this blog post:12 Simple Blouse Sleeve Design

3 Main Categories of Sleeves

There are 3 main categories of sleeves in terms of how the sleeves are attached to the bodice.

  • Set-in Sleeve
  • Raglan Sleeves
  • One piece sleeves

Among these 3 types of sleeves, the first two types of sleeves, set-in sleeves and raglan sleeves, are separately attached to the bodice. The last one is a one-piece sleeve, which is sewn from the same fabric piece of the bodice.

All the different styles of sleeves basically fall under these 3 types.

Set-in Sleeve

These types of sleeves are a very common type of sleeve. Here, the sleeve and the bodice are made separately and then sewn to attach together at the armhole. So, you can see that the seam line starts from the shoulder and goes around the armhole.

A set-in sleeve is a type of sleeve that is sewn into a garment. Set-in sleeves are most commonly used in tailored clothing, such as suits, jackets, and coats. The set-in sleeve is distinguishable from other types of sleeves by its smooth, contoured fit.

The set-in sleeve is also known for its durability. Because the sleeve is sewn into the garment, it is less likely to become detached or come loose. This makes the set-in sleeve a good choice for garments that will be worn often or for those that will be subject to a lot of wear and tear.

If you are looking for a sleeve that will give your garment a sleek, professional look, then the set-in sleeve is the perfect choice.

Raglan Sleeve

Raglan sleeves are a type of sleeve that extends from the collar of the garment down to the underarm. This style of sleeve is one continuous piece of fabric, which starts from the collar and gives it a wider underarm area. Raglan sleeves are often used in sports garments, as they allow for a greater range of motion. This is similar to a set-in sleeve as it is not one piece of fabric along with the bodice. But the seamline starts from the collar and goes to the underarm.

Raglan and set in Sleeve Comparison

One piece Sleeve

This is basically an extension of the bodice, and there exists no seamline between the bodice and the sleeve.

30 Different Styles of Sleeves

All the different styles of sleeves basically fall under the 3 types detailed above.

Regular Sleeve

Regular SleeveFirst, let's start with regular sleeves. Regular sleeves are the most common type of sleeve, and they come in a variety of different styles. The most popular style is the crew neck, which is a simple, classic look. Other popular styles include the V-neck, the boat neck, and the turtleneck.

Regular sleeves can be made from a variety of different materials, including cotton, wool, and synthetic fabrics. They can also be lined or unlined.

If you're looking for a classic, timeless look, regular sleeves are a great choice.

You can classify sleeves further in terms of the way it is attached to the bodice. One is called a set-in sleeve. The other is called a normal shirt sleeve.

T-Shirt Sleeve

A T-shirt sleeve is also a set-in sleeve. The seam line is visible from the shoulder to the underarm alongside the armhole. A T-shirt sleeve is always a short sleeve. It is a versatile sleeve that can be worn with a variety of different tops. The t-shirt sleeve can be worn with a tank top, a tee shirt, or a button-down shirt. The T-shirt sleeve can also be worn with a sweater or a cardigan. The t-shirt sleeve is a versatile sleeve that can be dressed up or down.

Leg-of-Mutton Sleeve

The leg-of-mutton sleeve is a popular style of sleeve from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The name comes from its resemblance to a sheep's leg, and it's said that this piece wasn't designed with just fashion in mind - but also was meant to cover the fact that less refined women ate mutton when they couldn't afford other meat options.

Juliet Sleeve

Juliet Sleeves are very similar in design to the leg of the mutton sleeve, with the main difference being that It has two parts. One part of the sleeve will extend longer at the top, while the other is short. The upper sleeve area is very full and gathered to a fitted part in the lower arm. This style of sleeve is named after Juliet Capulet from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, as it is said that her dress had this type of sleeve.

Balloon Sleeve

A balloon sleeve is a type of sleeve that is fitted at the shoulder and upper arm and then flows out at the elbow, giving it a balloon-like shape. This style of sleeve is often seen in dresses and blouses and can be both casual and formal.

Slit Sleeve

A slit sleeve is a type of sleeve that has a slit along the length of the sleeve, typically from the shoulder to the wrist. This type of sleeve is often seen in formal wear, such as gowns and jackets.

Cap Sleeve

A cap sleeve is a garment that covers the upper arm and shoulder but not the entire arm. It is a very short sleeve. It is usually a part of a dress or blouse. This is an example of a piece sleeve as well, where the same piece of clothing is used to make the sleeve with the bodice. The cap sleeve is a very flattering style for many women because it shows off the shoulders and upper arms without being too revealing.

Lantern Sleeve

A lantern sleeve is a kind of sleeve that is very wide at the bottom and becomes gradually narrower towards the top. It is one of the most unique and interesting sleeve shapes, and it can definitely make a statement. It is often seen in very elegant and formal dresses.

Cape Sleeve

Cape sleeves basically hang from the shoulder. There is no extension at the underarms.

Cape sleeves are a popular choice for formal wear, as they can give a dress or gown a regal and elegant look. Cape Sleeves are a type of garment worn by both men and women in parts of North India and Pakistan. The sleeves are long and wide and reach down to the ground. They are usually made of a light cotton fabric and are used to protect the wearer from the sun and heat.

Puff Sleeve

Puff sleeves are a type of sleeve that sometimes, but not necessarily, gathers at both shoulders and all around the cuff. Sometimes, they are puffed up, and other times, they aren't! This can vary from piece to piece.

This type of sleeve is often seen in dresses and blouses and can add a touch of femininity to any outfit. While puff sleeves can be a bit tricky to style, they are definitely a unique and eye-catching detail that is worth considering for your next garment.

A traditional puff sleeve gown is like a sheer cone that covers a woman’s arms and creates skirts full of volume. Puff sleeves are also referred to as elastic sleeves because they stretch over your arms but leave some room to move. Puff sleeves can be made out of fabric with many different materials, such as satin, taffeta, organza, sailcloth lace, and tulle!

If you would like to explore different puff sleeve designs in saree blouses you are most welcome to visit our below-mentioned blog post.

Puff Sleeve Blouse Designs
Click to Explore

Dolman Sleeve or Batwing Sleeve

A Dolman sleeve or batwing sleeve is a type of sleeve that is wide at the shoulder and tapers to a narrow cuff. This type of sleeve is often found on sweaters and other tops. Dolman sleeves are named after a 19th-century French actress, Mme. Dolman. The batwing sleeve is so named because it resembles the shape of a bat's wing. This type of sleeve is often used to create a flowing, loose silhouette. It can also be used to add visual interest to a garment. 

Dolman sleeves are easy to sew and can be adapted to many different styles of clothing. If you're looking to add a Dolman sleeve to a garment, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, you'll need to choose a fabric that has some drape to it. A lightweight knit fabric will work well. You'll also need to select a pattern that has a Dolman sleeve. Next, you'll need to cut the fabric and assemble the garment according to the pattern instructions. When you're ready to sew the sleeve, you'll need to gather the fabric at the shoulder seam.

Bell Sleeve

A bell sleeve is a type of sleeve that is wide at the bottom and becomes narrower towards the top. It is named after its resemblance to a bell. Bell sleeves are often found on dresses and tops. They can be made of various materials, such as cotton, linen, or silk.


Butterfly Sleeve

When it comes to fashion, there is nothing quite as eye-catching as a butterfly sleeve. These types of sleeves are often seen on dresses and blouses, and it is characterized by their dramatic, flared shape. If you are looking to make a statement with your clothing, then butterfly sleeves are a great option. The sleeve is designed to look like a butterfly's wing and is usually fitted at the shoulder before flaring out at the elbow.


Flutter Sleeve

Flutter sleeves are types of sleeves that are attached to the bodice of a garment and hang loose from the shoulder. The flutter sleeve is a very popular style for dresses and blouses.

Bishop Sleeve

The Bishop sleeve is a type of raglan sleeve named after its inventor, Bishop Robert Stokes. The distinguishing feature of the Bishop sleeve is the use of a single piece of fabric for both the front and back of the sleeve, with a seam running down the outside of the arm. This construction method eliminates the need for a separate sleeve lining and results in a lighter and more comfortable garment.

Kimono Sleeve

A kimono sleeve is a type of sleeve often used in East Asian dress, particularly in Japan, China, and Korea. It is a wide, voluminous sleeve that hangs down from the shoulder to the wrist. The kimono sleeve is also sometimes used in Western dress, particularly in the form of the kimono robe. This is also an example of a one-piece sleeve. The same garment is used with the bodice.

Bracelet Sleeve

A bracelet sleeve is a type of sleeve that covers the wrist and part of the forearm. It is usually made of a band of fabric or other material and is often decorated with lace, embroidery, or beads.

Bracelet sleeves were popular in the Middle Ages and were often worn by noblewomen. They were also worn by some men, particularly those who were involved in the Crusades. In the modern era, bracelet sleeves are sometimes worn as part of a costume or as part of a fashion statement.

Frill Sleeve

A frill sleeve is a type of sleeve that is gathered at the shoulder and extends down to the elbow or wrist or sometimes shorter to the upper arm only in a series of ruffles. This sleeve style is often seen in dresses and blouses and is a popular choice for special occasions.

Pagoda Sleeve

A pagoda sleeve is a type of sleeve used in East Asian clothing, typically featuring multiple layers of fabric that taper down to the wrist. The style is often found in traditional Chinese garments, such as the cheongsam, as well as in Japanese kimonos and Korean hanboks. The pagoda sleeve is named after the tiered roofs of East Asian temples, which it is said to resemble.

Peasant Sleeve

A peasant sleeve is a type of sleeve that was commonly seen in Europe during the Middle Ages. The sleeve is wide at the wrist and gradually becomes narrower as it goes up the arm. Peasant sleeves were often made of wool or linen and were often seen as being very plain and simple.

Petal Sleeve

A petal sleeve is a type of sleeve that is fitted at the shoulder and then flows out into a series of petals. It is a very flattering sleeve style for many different body types.

Mameluke Sleeve

A mameluke sleeve is a type of sleeve that was popular in Europe during the 13th and 14th centuries. It is named after the Mamluk Sultanate, which was located in what is now Egypt. The Mamluks were known for their skill in horsemanship and warfare, and they often wore robes with long, flowing sleeves. The mameluke sleeve is characterized by its wide, bell-shaped silhouette. It is puffed and gathered in a bell shape multiple times, starting from shoulder to wrist. It is often made of a lightweight fabric, such as silk, and is decorated with embroidery or other embellishments. The mameluke sleeve was introduced to Europe by Crusaders who had visited the Mamluk Sultanate. It quickly became a popular fashion trend, particularly among the nobility. The mameluke sleeve fell out of fashion in the 15th century, but it has been revived by designers such as Dolce & Gabbana and Ralph Lauren in recent years.

Hanging Sleeve

A hanging sleeve is a type of garment that is often worn by men. It is a long sleeve that hangs down past the wrist. The sleeve can be made of different materials, such as cloth or leather. The hanging sleeve is usually worn with a shirt that has a collar.

Elbow Patched Sleeve

A recent trend on the fashion scene is the elbow-patched sleeve. This style of sleeve is typically found on sweaters and blazers and is simply a patch of fabric sewn onto the elbow of the sleeve. While the patch can be sewn onto the sleeve of any garment, it is most commonly seen on sweaters and blazers.

The elbow patch is usually made from a different fabric than the garment itself. This contrast in fabrics adds visual interest to the garment and can make it more stylish. The patch can also be used to cover up a hole or tear in the fabric of the sleeve.

While the elbow patch is primarily a fashion statement, it can also be functional. The patch can provide extra warmth on a cold day or can be used to hold up the sleeve of a garment that is too big.

Whether you are looking to make a fashion statement or need a functional patch, the elbow patch is a great option.

Off-shoulder Sleeve

An off-shoulder sleeve is a type of sleeve that is cut off the shoulder. This can be done in a number of ways, but the most common is to have a horizontal line that runs across the front of the shoulder, just below the neckline. This type of sleeve is often seen on dresses and tops and is a popular choice for summer wear.

Please note that by off-shoulder sleeve, we generally mean a two-sided off-shoulder sleeve. As described before, here we have a horizontal line that runs across the front of the shoulder, just below the neckline. So, for two sides of the shoulder sleeve, as the name suggests, both of the shoulders are cut off. But one-side off-shoulder sleeves are also popular. The video below is a step-by-step guide to cutting and sewing an off-shoulder sleeve dress.


Cold-shoulder Sleeve

A cold shoulder sleeve is a garment that has been designed to expose the shoulder area. The name cold shoulder sleeve is derived from the fact that the garment leaves the shoulder area exposed to the cold. The cold shoulder sleeve has been used in many different garments, including dresses, shirts, and even sweaters. The cold shoulder sleeve is a popular choice for many people because it is a stylish and unique way to show off the shoulders.


Draped Sleeve

A draped sleeve is a type of sleeve that is attached to the bodice at the shoulder and hangs down over the arm. It is usually made of a light, flowing fabric and is often found in dresses and tops.

Fleece Sleeve

Fleece sleeves are designed to provide warmth and insulation. They're often made from synthetic materials like polyester or acrylic, which trap heat and help the wearer stay warm. Many fleece sleeves also have a zippered closure at the cuff, which can be used to seal in warmth.

Smocked Sleeve

Smocked Sleeve
Smocked Sleeve

As the name suggests, if fabric manipulation smocking designs are made on the sleeve, it can be called a smocked sleeve. There are two types of Fabric Smocking. Regular fabric smocking is nothing but fabric gathered with decorative embroidery stitches. There is another type of smocking called Canadian smocking, which is much different than regular smocking. Refer to the following blog post to learn about fabric manipulation smocking and its methods in detailFabric Manipulation Smocking

Origami Sleeve

Origami sleeves are a distinctive and sophisticated sleeve design, characterized by meticulous fabric folding techniques that create geometric shapes and structured lines. Inspired by the ancient art of paper folding, origami sleeves infuse a touch of elegance and modernity into dresses. Known for their versatility, these sleeves can be found in various types of garments, from blouses to evening gowns, elevating the overall aesthetic and making a bold fashion statement. The careful folds and unique creases of origami sleeves showcase a fusion of art and fashion, transforming the ordinary into a canvas of creativity. For more details read our blog postOrigami Sleeve.

Final Thoughts

Sleeves are an important part of any garment, and there are many different types to choose from. In this guide, we have looked at 30 different types of sleeves so that you can find the perfect one for your needs. We have also discussed the benefits and drawbacks of each type of sleeve so that you can make an informed decision. If sewing is your passion, or you want to make beautiful dresses at home, or you want to open your own sewing business, you can go through our basic to advanced sewing course syllabus.

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