Basted Sleeves (Everything You Should Know)

Sewing is a task that relies on measurements and accuracy. Tailors need to sew clothes correctly, and basting can help them achieve that.

Basted sleeves help bring out the shape of the sleeves. This article will explain more.

Basted sleeves have been stitched with temporary thread and awaiting permanent attachment. The designer uses this opportunity to observe how the sleeves hang on the shoulder. Basted sleeves also allow the tailor to make any necessary adjustments. 

Basted Sleeves Meaning

Basted Sleeves

Basting in tailoring is when you stitch using white cotton thread for temporary purposes.

Layers of fabric are stitched to each other to test the garment on a customer. This way, the tailor will see if there could be adjustments to be made.

A basted sleeve is a temporarily stitched sleeve done using a basting thread.

The tailors remove the basting stitches after all adjustments and proceed to make a final permanent stitch.

The actual measurements collected by the tailor aid in stitching this sleeve. The customer can check out the sleeve in the mirror and decide if that’s what they want.

What Are The Three Types Of Sleeves?

There are three main types of sleeves.

  • Set-in sleeves
  • Raglan sleeves
  • Kimono sleeves

#1. Set-in Sleeves

Set-in sleeves attach to the bodice’s armhole. Usually, the sleeve is sewn separately from the bodice; they only join at the end.

This kind of sleeve is good for knitted fabrics. Knits are simple to sew using the flat method. This method gives priority to the bodice’s shoulder seams. 

The sleeve lies atop the armhole, and the two parts are attached. The sleeve cap’s measurements are marginally larger than the opening at the arm where they attach.

Many set-in sleeve designs sit directly upon the shoulder. The cap sleeve should have more volume to fit the shoulder edge’s shape.

The garment will have a nice circled line and provide ease in movement. The size of ease on a sleeve cap differs from pattern to pattern. For coats, the size is typically around ¾” to 2″.

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To determine the sleeve cap ease, compare the armhole and sleeve seam measurements.

After taking the cap sleeve’s sizes, deduct the armhole measurement from it. Whatever you get is the cap sleeve’s ease.

This sleeve requires some expertise because the sewing is within a round shape. Also, the additional sleeve fabric folds to fit the armhole and does not show observable gathers.

#2. Raglan Sleeves

Raglan sleeves join a shirt’s bodice in a sloping line from the neckline down to the underarm.

With this design, you get improved comfort in movement than any other sleeve type. This sleeve design doesn’t have shoulder seams.

Hoodies, long-sleeve tee shirts, sweatshirts, and pullovers use the raglan sleeve design.

In informal shirts, raglan sleeves usually have a different color from the bodice. Color blocking is the name of this technique; you can have an ash shirt with black raglan sleeves.

However, differing colors on a shirt doesn’t mean a shirt has a raglan sleeve. Another mistaken belief about raglan shirts is that they are products of raglan fabric.

Even though most shirts with raglan sleeves are cotton knit products, raglan sleeves are simply the ones with slanting seams.

The biggest merit of raglan sleeves is their extra room around the armpit. This room permits a comfortable and wider area for movement.

Many sports jerseys or wears use the raglan sleeve design because of the movement advantage. 

The pitching seam, from the neckline down to the underarm, adds more fabric around the armpit.

This design permits someone to stretch sideways, down, and up without pulling the sleeve’s fabric. With this style, you need not worry if a shoulder seam properly fits you or not. 

#3. Kimono Sleeve

In this design, sleeves are slashed with the anterior and rear bodice. Kimono sleeves have deeper armhole cuts than set-in sleeves; this sleeve doesn’t have an armhole stitch or shoulder stitch.

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The sleeve starts from the crosswise seam to the bodice’s side seam. Usually, kimono sleeves are for comfort.

The sleeve begins from the shoulder and gets wider as it comes down the arm. The width of the kimono sleeves is about 4 inches.

Tailors can also cut kimono sleeves below the shoulder. At times they are slashed in a perpendicular line which lessens the size of the fabric.

They can also have a horizontal cut to give the sleeve a billowy effect. This horizontal cut also creates a larger look on the shoulders.

Basted Sleeves: Adding Buttons without Button Holes?

You can add buttonholes to the basted sleeves if you have the money. Adding buttonholes makes it difficult to change the sleeve length later.

However, if the sleeve’s design permits functioning cuffs, then you can add functioning cuffs to the sleeves.

Furthermore, you need to consider the lining at the sleeve’s end. You can add buttonholes if the basting stitches are along either end of the underlap and overlap.

The interior sleeve end can have the lining in one constant length. This lining will go through the over-lapping and under-lapping areas of the sleeve vent.

If this is the case, there might be functional issues with creating buttoning cuffs.

There must be an underlap of one inch or above to enable the making of button shanks to accommodate functioning buttons.

Maintain a minimum one-inch length between the external perpendicular cuff end and underlapping the internal perpendicular cuff end. The tailor must then restructure the vent if possible. 

Are Basted Sleeves Important?

The reasons below are why basted sleeves are really important in sewing.

  • Basting brings out better results when working on set-in sleeves. It helps make the sleeveless restricting.
  • Sewing basting stitches helps provide enough gather that will size into the armhole.
  • It highlights any changes that need later implementation.
  • Basting brings out the vision of what the client wants.
  • There are some materials with several layers of fabric, like quilts. Basting helps keep these layers in place as you sew.
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How Do You Baste A Sleeve?

You can use either hand or machine to baste a sleeve.

#1. Hand Basting

It’s more flexible to baste by hand than using a machine. 

  1. The first step is to pin the area of the material you want to sew. 
  2. Thread a needle using one thread and tie its end. Pierce the needle into the fabric’s edge close to the seam.
  3. Ensure you keep the needle away from where the main sewing occurs. Start the stitch just within the seam area. 
  4. Sew running stitches across the whole area. Ensure that the basting stitches are removable by pulling the thread to test. Leave a tail at the end of the stitching.

#2. Machine Basting

Machine basting stitches are within the seam area near the last seam line.

  1. Pin the material’s layers together where you want to sew them. 
  2. Maintain a long stitch on your sewing machine. It should be 4 or 5 stitch settings per inch.
  3. Pick a lightweight thread and sew basting stitches close to the seam. Do no backstitch when starting or finishing, as removing the basting stitches would be hard.

Comparison Between Hand Basting and Machine Basting

Hand Basting Machine Basting 
You can use uneven hand basting to add more support to the fabrics. The stitching is straight and fixed. 
Stitches are loose by default. Having loose stitches requires using low-tension settings. 
There is more control over stitches, but progress is slow. Stitching is quick but can be rigid. 


Basted sleeves are sleeves that are temporarily stitched together. This method shows clients how the final product will look. It also helps tailors adjust the sleeve to fit the client better. 

The three types of sleeves are set-in, raglan, and kimono. Basting is done by machine or by hand.


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