Proenza Schouler, SS12, New York.
Sleeve shapes and panelling are a subtle yet directional way that designers are controlling the feel of their collections. The raglan sleeve in particular has enjoyed a renaissance over the past few seasons as both a reference to the couture and the athletic.
Raglan variations have been visible on broad kimono style sleeves as well as on raglan sleeve styles that cut in close over the curve of the shoulder, often using a seam up the outside of the arm to take in the shaping over the sleeve head, where a traditional set-in sleeve would look more square.
For the Proenza Schouler Spring-Summer 2012 collection, the raglan sleeve panel was made more jagged and angular, and this was then carried through into the panels in the torsos of the tailored garments. This angular use of panels was then also reflected in geometric prints, and picked up in angled seams, folds and pocket angles on other garments.
More examples of raglan sleeves can be seen here: Raglan Sleeves at Richard Nicholl».
Below is an overly simplified version of a set-in sleeve pattern being turned into a raglan pattern. This is purely to show how the sections of the front and back patterns become joined onto the top of the sleeve head. The dart section that appears at the top of the raglan is to shape the sleeve over the shoulder – but this line can also be split all the way down to the sleeve hem to split the sleeve into two pieces. This will allow for closer fitting across the curve of the shoulder.
Visualising patterns in a basic way like this can often help you to understand the fundamentals of a pattern change, before following more detailed instructions in a pattern reference book. If you can understand and picture what the end pattern pieces will roughly look like, it will help you to make all the steps in between.
Catwalk Images from Vogue.co.uk». Technical images by The Cutting Class.