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Should I opt for a Raglan Sleeve or a Set-In Sleeve?

There are 2 main types of sleeve used on upper body garments: Set-In and Raglan. You'll find both styles on garments such as T-Shirts, Polos and Sweat Shirts.

You may be wondering what the difference is between Raglan and Set-In, and trying to decide which one is right for you. Below we explain to help you make the right choices for your Workwear or company uniform.

What is a Raglan Sleeve? The Raglan Design

Raglan Sleeve Sweatshirt
A Raglan Sleeved Sweatshirt

What are Raglan sleeves? A Raglan sleeve is created with a continuous piece of fabric, extending from the collar of the garment to the underarm - often found on casual clothing and sportswear, like t-shirts, sweatshirts or sports jackets.

You might recognise this style as a "Baseball" shirt with a contrasting coloured sleeve - but it's not all about colour choice.

This style of sleeve creates a wider underarm area, especially convenient for over-garments such as sweatshirts or jackets, as it allows additional space for other layers underneath. Many work jackets are designed this way, making it is easier to lift your arms as required. This extra movement also makes the garment extremely comfortable to wear.

Some benefits of raglan sleeved garment are:

  • Freedom of movement, due to extra space created by the shape of the sleeve
  • No shoulder seam
  • A wider underarm fitting
  • A slightly more casual look

There is an interesting history surrounding the Raglan sleeve - Named after Field Marshal FitzRoy James Henry Somerset, 1st Baron Raglan. After he lost his arm at the battle of Waterloo, he commissioned a new coat design with fuller sleeves to accommodate his missing limb.

An example of a Raglan Sleeve would be the Russell Adult Classic Sweatshirt (pictured above).

What is a Drop Sleeve? The Set-In Design

Drop Sleeve T-Shirt
A Set-In Sleeve or Drop Sleeved T-Shirt

A ‘Set-In’ sleeve has a seam at the shoulder which continues around the complete construction of the arm. It is also quite well known as a "Drop Sleeve" style - both terms are interchangeable.

This style of sleeve gives a professional, formal and potentially more natural shape with a tailored look, suitable for formal events and more formal workwear uniform such as shirts or blouses.

But it's not all formal styling, most Polos come in a drop sleeve style and you can find T-Shirts and Sweatshirts with a set-in/drop sleeve cut too. An example of a drop/set-in sleeved T-Shirt would be our popular Gildan Heavy Cotton Printable Tee (pictured above)

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