A raglan sleeve is often used when making items of clothing such as sweatshirts, certain types of jerseys, and other sportswear. The construction is different from that of typical shirt sleeves, because it has a seam that goes from the underarm straight to the neckline. A raglan sleeve is only one piece, instead of several pieces sewn together and attached to the shell of the garment. This style makes shirts easy to move around in and very comfortable. There is no shoulder seam in a garment with this type of sleeve.
Shirts made with the raglan sleeve design tend to be more casual. T-shirts with short or three-quarter length sleeves are often made this way. In many cases, the sleeve is made from fabric of a different color than the rest of the shirt, creating a sporty look. For even more visual interest, each raglan sleeve may be a different color, while still another color is used for the front and back pieces of the shirt.
Maternity clothes can also benefit from raglan sleeves. This sleeve design works well with the loose, free flowing styles of tops and dresses for expectant mothers. The raglan design also works well for plus size clothing.
The raglan sleeve is popular because it is a simpler design to sew than the standard sleeve. Some people who sew their own clothes prefer it to the typical sleeve design because it requires less stitching and is less time consuming. It is also a preferred style for knitting and crocheting sweaters, due to its simplicity and the relatively short time it takes to complete.
Many types of jackets and coats have raglan sleeves due to the fact that they provides more room. This style is common in letterman jackets, for example. This sleeve is wider in the underarm area than other sleeve designs, and the rest of the sleeve fits loosely as well; both of these features allow for freer movement of the arms. The additional space also allows a person to wear bulky sweaters or layered clothing comfortably under a jacket with raglan sleeves.