What's a raglan sweater anyway?

Raglan, top-down sweater? What the heck does it mean?! If you're joining us for the Ramona KAL in 2023, this is the method for both the cardigans and the pullover.

One of the reasons we picked the trio of Ramona patterns is that the raglan, top-down method is a great one for folks who are new to knitting sweaters. It's a  common design in knitwear, so with a raglan you're learning one of the fundamental vocabularies of sweater design.

According to Wikipedia:

A raglan sleeve is a sleeve that extends in one piece fully to the collar, leaving a diagonal seam from underarm to collarbone.

It is named after Lord Raglan, the 1st Baron Raglan, who is said to have worn a coat with this style of sleeve after the loss of his arm in the Battle of Waterloo.

The raglan mid-length sleeve is a popular undergarment (worn under the jersey) for baseball teams in MLB.

A top-down sweater simply means that we cast on at the neck of the sweater and knit down towards the waist, instead of starting at the hem at your waist and knitting up towards the neck. 

We also love a raglan because there's no seams to sew up at the end — cue the angel choir!

Check out Iris's video, above, for a big-picture concept of how a raglan sweater is put together!


  • Just seeing your beautiful warm face on the video makes me smile!

    Irene Hopkins
  • Hi Iris, started this a bit late, but I am on the way with the Ramona Light.
    Wish I could be there in person but I am in here in Virginia.

    Kelley Lewis
  • YES! Graphics, knitting in progress, completed work, it’s all here. So helpful to see and be talked through in a clear friendly way the top down concept.

  • I know I am going to Love this knit along.


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