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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Make Your Own Armwarmers or Fingerless Gloves

I recently decided that it would be fun to have a pair of fingerless gloves. So, being me, I decided to make a pair.

If I had all the time in the world, I would have knitted them. It being the busy holiday season, I don't have that kind of time. I needed a quick project that I could finish in less than an hour. And that's exactly what I got!

Now, I'm not exactly a trendy sort of gal -- I tend to be either in front of the curve or far behind it. So I was surprised to find out that my recent desire for fingerless gloves is spot-on with current trends.

I didn't want them so I could stay cozy while texting (in fact, to show you just how un-cool I am: I have yet to ever even send a text message!) and neither was I trying to be hip in a Twilight-inspired way. In fact, I didn't even know they had such potential until a few days ago -- and it was my 62 year old mother who enlightened me. So that's saying something. I was telling her about my project, and she asked, "Oh, you mean fingerless gloves like in Twilight?"

Um, yeah.

I haven't read, seen, or otherwise informed myself about anything Twilight-related. Quite deliberately, I might add. But having already made and loved my little pair of fingerless gloves, I wasn't going to abandon the idea just because all the other cool kids were doing it. (Besides, I doubt if anything vampirish would really go for the holiday kitsch look that I was rockin' with my warm-armed self.)

Instead, I figured I'd spread the word about just how easy it is to make your own pair of arm warmers or fingerless gloves! All you need is a pair of knee socks, some thread, and a little know-how with your sewing machine.

I bought my knee socks at the dollar store, in the holiday section. They actually had quite a selection of fairly cute Christmas designs. I decided to use a matching thread color, since I had a holiday red on hand from other projects, but you could use a contrasting color for some pop around the edges. Up to you!

1. Decide how long your armwarmers will be: pull one of the socks up your arms however high up you'd like the armwarmer to go, then judge where they should stop. Armwarmers should stop about at your wrist. If you want them to be fingerless gloves, they will need to reach down towards your knuckles. If your design has stripes or other horizontal elements to the pattern, you can choose a length that will allow you to use the pattern to help get a straight cut.

I decided to cut mine pretty close down by the ankle of the socks to make a pair of longer fingerless gloves that would reach to the elbow. Cut carefully in a straight line using fabric scissors.

2. Set your sewing machine for a small zig-zag stitch -- if your machine is fancier than mine, you might have an automatic satin stitch. (Then again, if you have a fancier machine than mine you probably know a lot more than me about sewing and don't need this tutorial!)

3. Stitch all around the raw edge where you cut the sock.

It will curl, so you will probably want to help keep things in place and smoothed out with your left hand. Let the machine take the fabric -- don't force it through -- but use your hand to keep it as flat as possible while the zig-zag stitch wraps around the raw edge to finish it off.
The edge gets a ruffled look, like this:

If you're seeing too much fray or sock fabric along the ruffled edge, you can always go around it again with your zig-zag stitch. I actually went around mine twice.

Repeat for the other sock.

If you just want arm warmers, you're done! The ruffled edge is the one that will be by your hand, and the top of the sock (which would have been by your knee) will be up by your elbow.

4. To make into a pair of fingerless gloves, pull on the arm warmer and decide how big the thumb opening should be. Mark with a pin, take off the glove, and tack the edges together to create a thumb opening. Easy-peasy!

Here's how the finished fingerless glove turned out:

If you didn't cut the socks down too far, you can even salvage the foot part to make a little pair of anklets. Just finish off the raw edge with the zig-zag stitch! (In fact, the pics above of the sock on the machine are from when I was doing the sock part, as you can tell since it's red thread on green fabric. The technique is exactly the same.)

Now don't worry, I don't have any plans to wear the socks and the gloves at the same time. (Though I'm sure that would take care of any concerns I might have about being too trendy!)

Happy sewing -- and happy holidays!


amber.threads said...

How innovative! Nice tute!

Jen (Mama's Magic Studio) said...

thanks so much! glad you liked the tutorial!