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Sleeves and cuffs – the complete illustrated fashion guide to garment (shirt, blouse, dress, robe) sleeves and cuffs

Batwing sleeve
Batwing sleeve

Everything you ever wanted to know about skirt, blouse, dress, and robe sleeves and cuffs.

Sleeve lengths

Sleeves come in various lengths as illustrated below.

Sleeve lengths
Sleeve lengths

Sleeveless

Sleeveless of course, has no sleeves leaving the entire shoulder exposed.

Drop shoulder sleeve

With a drop shoulder sleeve, the sleeve is attached to an armhole shaped to extend wider than the natural shoulder.

Cap sleeve

A cap sleeve has an extension to the front and back of the garment to cover the top of the arm.

Short sleeve

A short sleeve ends about half the distance between the elbow and underarm.

Elbow length sleeve

Elbow length sleeves are any type of sleeve that ends at the elbow.

Bracelet sleeve

Bracelet length sleeves are a three-quarter length cuffless sleeve to show a bracelet.

Long sleeve

A long sleeve is tapered to the wrist so it can be pushed up to stay in place. Sometimes referred to as a push-up sleeve.

Angel sleeve

An angel sleeve is any long, flowing sleeve. It may even extend longer than the arm.

Set-in sleeves

Balloon sleeve

Balloon sleeve
Balloon sleeve
Balloon sleeve
Balloon sleeve

A balloon sleeve is a long, full sleeve with gathers at the armhole and at the lower edge. They fit tight around the upper arm and grow wider from the elbow to the wrist. They are usually made of crisp fabric.

Barrel sleeve

Barrel sleeve
Barrel sleeve

A barrel sleeve is a straight, long set-in or shirt sleeve which is smooth at the armhole with minimal fullness at the cuff.

Bell sleeve

Bell sleeve
Bell sleeve

Bell sleeve

A bell sleeve is a set-in sleeve that is smooth at the armhole and flared at the hem edge. A bell sleeve can end anywhere from the elbow to the wrist.

Bishop sleeve

Bishop sleeve
Bishop sleeve

Bishop sleeve

Bishop sleeve
Bishop sleeve

A bishop sleeve is a long, full set-in sleeve with fullness held at the wrist by a cuff. A bishop sleeve may be gathered at the cap as well as at the wrist. It is essentially a relatively full bell sleeve that is gathered or pleated into both the armhole and the bottom.

Butterfly sleeve

Butterfly sleeve
Butterfly sleeve

A butterfly sleeve is a set-in sleeve that is smooth at the armhole and widely flared at the hem edge. They may be elbow length or longer. It is essentially a puffed sleeve but does not taper off nor does it end in a cuff. They are typically paired with low cut gowns.

Button-tab sleeve

Button-tab sleeve
Button-tab sleeve

A button-tab sleeve is a long, roll-up sleeve with a button-tab sewn above the elbow. The sleeve is rolled up and fastened by the tab with a buttonhole and button. They may be either set-in or shirt sleeve.

Circular cap sleeve

Circular cap sleeve
Circular cap sleeve
Circular cap sleeve
Circular cap sleeve

A circular cap sleeve is a short, flaring sleeve that extends out from a smooth cap at the armhole.

Fitted sleeve

Fitted sleeve
Fitted sleeve

A fitted sleeve is a full-length narrow set-in sleeve. It may be either one piece with darting at the elbow or two-piece with vertical seams down the front and back of the arm. They are also referred to as suit sleeves.

Juliet sleeve

Juliet sleeve
Juliet sleeve
Juliet sleeve
Juliet sleeve

A Juliet sleeve is a long sleeve with a puffed upper section seamed to a fitted lower section.

Lantern sleeve

Lantern sleeve
Lantern sleeve

The lantern sleeve is a full, gathered sleeve attached to a drop-shouldered garment; it can be either a long or short sleeve look. It’s seen on everything from jackets to dresses. The lantern sleeve is smooth at the armhole and wrist. Works best on narrow shoulders/slim upper body types

Leg-o’-mutton sleeve

Leg-o'-mutton sleeve
Leg-o’-mutton sleeve
Leg-o'-mutton sleeve
Leg-o’-mutton sleeve

A Leg-o’-mutton sleeve is a sleeve with full gathered or pleated top tapering to narrow at the wrist. They are also referred to as leg-of-mutton or gigot sleeves.

Melon sleeve

Melon sleeve
Melon sleeve

A melon sleeve is a sleeve made in lengthwise sections that are wider in the middle of the sleeve to create a melon shape in the middle of the sleeve. They are typically made of stiffened fabric.

Petal sleeve

Petal sleeve
Petal sleeve
Petal sleeve
Petal sleeve

A petal sleeve is a sleeve with a two-piece overlap at the top of the outer arm to form a petal-like opening. They are also called lapped sleeves.

Puffed sleeve

Puffed sleeve
Puffed sleeve

A puffed sleeve is a short full sleeve with gathers at the armhole, lower edge, or both. They are also sometimes called puff sleeves.

Roll-up sleeve

Roll-up sleeve
Roll-up sleeve

A roll-up sleeve is a straight short or elbow length sleeve designed to be rolled or folded up to form a cut. They may be either set-in or shirt sleeve.

Set-in sleeve

Set-in sleeve
Set-in sleeve

A set-in sleeve has a high rounded sleeve cap. The sleeve underarm seam and the blouse side seam are constructed first so the sleeve is set into the armhole. Set-in sleeves may be any length.

Shirt sleeve

Shirt sleeve
Shirt sleeve

A shirt sleeve is a sleeve with a barely rounded wide sleeve cap, attached to the armhole before the underarm seam and side seam are sewn as a continuous seam. Shirt sleeves may be any length. Long shirt sleeves are usually cuffed. May also be called tailored shirt sleeves.

Kimono sleeves

Kimono sleeves are usually cut in one with the front and back of the garment.

Batwing sleeve

Batwing sleeve
Batwing sleeve
Batwing sleeve
Batwing sleeve

A batwing sleeve is along sleeve with a deep armhole almost to the waist and extending to a narrow wrist. They may be cut on one with the garment or may be a separate sleeve.

Cape sleeve

Cape sleeve
Cape sleeve

A cape sleeve may be either a semicircular extension of the front and back or a circular or semicircular piece sewn over the top of the should to give a cape-like effect.

Dolman sleeve

Dolman sleeve
Dolman sleeve
Dolman sleeve
Dolman sleeve

A dolman sleeve may be cut in one with the front and back of the garment or may be attached to the front and back with a vertical seam. Their shape is usually curved under the arm. The dolman sleeve is usually long and fitted at the wrist.

Kimono sleeve

Kimono sleeve
Kimono sleeve

A Kimono sleeve may be cut in one with the front and back of the garment or may be attached to the front and back with a vertical seam. The shape is usually angular under the arm in contrast to the curve of a dolman sleeve. Kimono sleeves are also called mandarin sleeves.

Raglan sleeves

Peasant sleeve

Peasant sleeve
Peasant sleeve

A peasant sleeve is a wide raglan sleeve with gathers at the neckline and lower edge. The gathers may be controlled by a drawstring or elastic. The peasant sleeve may be short or long.

Raglan sleeve

Raglan sleeve
Raglan sleeve
Raglan sleeve
Raglan sleeve

A raglan sleeve is joined by a diagonal seam that extends from the underarm to the neckline. They may have a dart to shape the shoulder or may have an additional seam along the outside of the arm.

Saddle sleeve

Saddle sleeve
Saddle sleeve
Saddle sleeve
Saddle sleeve

A saddle sleeve is a variation of the raglan in which the shoulder portion is horizontal across the chest then diagonal under the arm. They are also called epaulet sleeves.

Open shoulder sleeves (Cold shoulder sleeves)

An open or cold shoulder sleeve is a sleeve that leaves part of the shoulder exposed through a cutout, slot, or slit.

Open shoulder sleeves (Cold shoulder sleeves)

Cuffs

Band cuff

Band cuff
Band cuff

A band cuff has no vertical opening. It slips on over the hand.

Barrel cuff

Barrel cuff
Barrel cuff

A barrel cuff is a band of fabric stitched to the sleeve. They are usually closed with one or two buttons. They are sometimes referred to as single cuffs. A classic design.

French cuff

French cuff
French cuff

A French cuff is a wide cuff which turns back and is fastened with a cuff link through all layers. It’s the go-to choice for tuxedo shirts.

Gauntlet cuff

Gauntlet cuff
Gauntlet cuff

A gauntlet cuff is a wide, turned-back cuff that flares wide at the arm and tapers toward the wrist. They are also called cavalier cuffs.

Knit cuff

Knit cuff
Knit cuff

A knit cuff is a rib knitted fabric which fits closely but is stretchy enough to slip of the hand.

Roll-up cuff

Roll-up cuff
Roll-up cuff

A roll-up cuff is usually a straight sleeve which is folded up to form a cuff.

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