18 Different Types of Sleeves Design Patterns

18 Different Types of Sleeves Design Patterns April 11, 2018

Different types of sleeves? Yes, sleeves, and not neck designs – mind you! Before you shrug it off and think sleeves are too frivolous a detail to discuss, take a step back and quickly skim through (in your head) your best dresses, and you will agree that they are just the opposite of frivolous. If you ask me, you can get away with a not-so-good-looking neck design, but the sleeves HAVE to be good as they can turn things around radically.

The best part about the sleeve designs is that you can replicate all of them for dresses of any format. While some of them look better with western clothes, others look better with Indian attires. I’ve got it all up my sleeve (pun intended). Read on, and they shall be revealed!

Different Sleeve Lengths

Sleeve length changes with the style, and it should also work in tandem with the design. There are a set of standard sleeve lengths you need to know about. You can tweak them further according to the design you wanna wear.

  • Short sleeves – A little below the cap sleeves and a tad bit shorter than the elbow length. Another version to this is arm length sleeves that stop a few inches above your elbow.
  • 3/4th Sleeves – 3/4th sleeves run down till just below your elbow.
  • Full Sleeves – It is quite self-explanatory; they are full length and fully cover your arms.

All of these have variations and are the basis for the different types of sleeves we are going to discuss shortly.

18 Different Types of Sleeve Designs and Their Names

1. Raglan Sleeves

Raglan sleeves come in all lengths and are a popular choice for bodycon dresses, casual tops, and T-shirts. Unlike the regular sleeves, these are an extension of your shoulder with an inseam that runs from under your arm.

Best Suited For – T-shirts, tops, and bodycon dresses.

2. Kimono Sleeves

2. Kimono Sleeves Pinit

Image: , Instagram

Kimono sleeves are inspired by the Japanese Kimono traditional attire, which looks very similar to your bathrobes. They are wide, long, and loose. This style of sleeves is catching up and is an attractive choice for both western and Indian attires.

Best Suited For – Blouses, tops, and dresses (both long and short).

3. Bishop Sleeves

Remember the old Bishop style dresses and shirts you would see in period dramas? That’s the origin of this style. It has taken many forms to fit the contemporary bill. Bishop sleeves are full length, fitted near the elbow, and then open up as they move down to the wrist. They form a cuff at the end with buttons.

Best Suited For – Western tops and one piece dresses.

4. Off Shoulder Sleeves

4. Off Shoulder Sleeves Pinit

Image: Shutterstock , Instagram

Off shoulder sleeves are not alien to us and have been in vogue for a while now. They are open, bare, and start a little below the shoulder bone. They come in all lengths and sizes; it’s a personal choice.

Best Suited For – Blouses (sarees lehengas), one piece dresses, tops, maxi dresses.

5. Butterfly Sleeves

They are a combination of cap sleeves and puffed sleeves. They arejust small extensions to your shoulder and delicately sit on the garment. Unlike the puffed sleeves, they do not taper. Perfect for deep neck tops or dresses.

Best Suited For – Tops, dresses, kurtis, and blouses.

6. Puffed Sleeves

Puffed up sleeves are short and gathered in a way to make them look like puffs. They go well with traditional sarees, short dresses, shirts, and flowing tops. Avoid them if you are not confident about your arms.

Best Suited For – Traditional attires, short tops, tunics, and shirts.

7. Cap Sleeves

7. Cap Sleeves Pinit

Image: Instagram

As we just discussed, cap sleeves are just caps over your shoulders. They are more like extensions of the collar bones.

Best Suited – Any Western or Indian attire.

8. Angel Sleeves

Imagine the wings of a fairy and how they would look if attached to a dress? Yes, that’s how they look, and that’s the inspiration for this sleeve type too. They look different depending on the length of the sleeves, but you get the drill, don’t you?

Best Suited – Attires with high necks – both Indian and Western.

9. Bracelet Sleeves

9. Bracelet Sleeves Pinit

Imasge: Shutterstock ,

It’s a metaphor to represent sleeves that stop just a little above your wrist, and hence the name. Usually, most of your full sleeved tops have bracelet sleeves because full sleeves technically go below your wrist.

Best Suited – Attires with high necks – both Indian and Western.

10. Cuff Sleeves

10. Cuff Sleeves Pinit


Cuff sleeves, rolled-up sleeves or shirt style – whatever you call it, they are sleeves that come with buttons and an inbuilt fold. What started as a rolled up style for shirts became a big deal and took over the clothing industry.

Best Suited – Kurtis and any Western tops.

11. Bell Sleeves

Bell sleeves come in all lengths, and flare exactly like your bell-bottom pants. They are straight and tapered till the end of the sleeve, and then billow out.

Best Suited – Any Indian or Western attire.

12. Half Sleeves

This one is pretty self-explanatory – they cover a part of your arm, till above your elbow. Some call them quarter sleeves or cap sleeves too. When we talk about half sleeves, it has more to do with the length than the design per se. Hence, there is so much you can do with it, and the variations are a personal choice.

Best Suited – Any Indian or Western attire.

13. Long Sleeves

Long sleeves are long and cover your entire hand up until your wrist. They are tapered, snug, and charming. They have a sleeve pattern that makes your arms look elongated by hiding the flab. Look great with bridal wear, sarees, and kurtis – in fact, just about anything.

Best Suited – Blouses, bridal dresses, one piece dresses, shirts or Western tops.

14. Cape Sleeves

Cape sleeves are an overlay and usually a sheer extension to the bodice of your dress. They look like an extension to your sleeves. Some of them are inbuilt while some of them are an attachment.

Best Suited – Bridal dresses, lehenga blouses, and long gowns.

15. Petal Sleeves

15. Petal Sleeves Pinit

Image: Instagram

A slight variation to your cap sleeves. They are a staple in children’s clothing. They have a flimsy strap just as thin as the petals that extend out of the shoulder straps.

Best Suited – Any Indian or Western attire.

16. Open Sleeves

Open sleeves or cold shoulders have caught up like wildfire over the last few seasons. People who are not comfortable wearing sleeveless dresses can try this sleeve pattern since it is not completely open, yet stylish.

Best Suited For – Blouses, crop tops, lehengas, and any western attires.

17. Slit Sleeves

17. Slit Sleeves Pinit

Image: Instagram

Slit sleeves are usually long or are 3/4th of the length of the arms. They come with a slit in the front, more like open sleeves, and cuff down at the end of the sleeve. A style that goes with almost any kind of outfit.

Best Suited For – Blouses, flowing tops, and one piece dresses.

18. Batwing Sleeves

Have you ever seen a bat and its wings? Yes, this style is a replica of bat wings. The sleeves are loose and come with a deeper armhole. They can sometimes be open like that of a kaftan style or closed to look like an extension of the inseam. Either way, this style is fun and adds to the aesthetics of the outfit.

Best Suited For – Western tops, tunics, and short dresses.

You don’t have to be an expert or pay a designer lakhs to tell you all this stuff. Plus, the next time you go shopping, it is good to be prepared and maybe impress some of your friends too. Hope this helps! Feel free to drop a message in the comment section below with any questions you might have.

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