How to sew fingerless dance gloves – free custom pattern

With all the changes 2020 has brought, I needed to take a minute to organize and gather myself and my family, but I am back to the blog now! The next project I’m excited to share with you just in time for Halloween costume season is the stretchy, fingerless glove pattern. A pair of fingerless gloves can add a dramatic touch to a 1920’s era flapper, or a regal medieval princess. This pattern will focus on making a glove out of spandex fabric. By taking 4 measurements, you can make a custom-fit glove pattern too. Now let’s get to it, shall we?

Step 1 – Gather your supplies

For this project you will need:

  • tape measure
  • pattern paper (printer, graph, tracing, whatever type you prefer)
  • french curve ruler
  • pencil
  • tape
  • 1/2 yd (46cm) spandex 2-way stretch fabric with good recovery (stretches along length and width AND snaps back into shape easily)
  • 1/4″ (64mm) knit elastic (optional – 3/8″ (94mm) or 1/2″ (1.27cm) knit elastic for the top edge of glove, and 1/8″ flat or round elastic for finger loop)
  • matching thread
  • sewing machine and or serger

Step 2 – Take your measurements

Here are the measurements you will be taking and a diagram of their locations:

  1. wrist circumference at B: measure wrist between the hand and the wristbone = ______________
  2. forearm circumference at C: measure forearm at elbow bend = ______________
  3. length from A to C: from top of middle knuckle bone to elbow bend = ______________
  4. length from B to C: from wrist bend to elbow bend = ______________

Step 3 – Prepare your pattern paper

Now you will need your list of measurements 1-4, paper, rulers, and pencil. First, determine the size of paper you will need. Look at measurements #2 and #3; this will be your overall length and width. Prepare your pattern paper to be a rectangle shape exactly 1/2″ (1.27cm) longer and wider than these dimensions.

For example, I’ll use my measurements to walk the following steps:

So, for my measurements, I’ll prepare my paper to be exactly 9.375″ (23.8 cm) wide by 11″ (28cm) tall to allow for my pattern plus seam allowance. Next, I’m going to fold the paper in half lengthwise or across the width (measurement #2). The new width of my folded paper will be 1/2 my forearm circumference + 1/2″, so (8.875″ + .5″)/2= 4.6875″ (12cm).

Next, make a small “x” along the folded edge 1/4″ (64mm) down from the top edge of the paper and 1/8″-1/4″ (32-64mm) in from the fold. Make another small “x” right along the fold and 1/4″ (64mm) up from the bottom edge. Keep the folded edge to the right. My paper will now look like this:

Step 4 – Draft your pattern

Next, mark the top “x” with the letter A, and the bottom “x” with the letter C. Measure up from your mark at C the number of inches in measurement #4. So, for example, for my measurements, I will measure up 8″ (20cm) from C, and mark that spot with the letter B.

Next, draw a perpendicular line from the folded edge of the paper, starting at B. Now, take your measurement #1, add .5 inch (1.27cm), and divide that by 2. Mine will be = (5.75″ + .5″)/2 = 3.125″ (8cm). Mark that far over from the folded edge on the line you just drew. Mark this “x” with the letter D. Once you have taken these steps, your paper should now look similar to this:

Next, use a straight edge to connect the bottom left corner of the paper to the mark at D. Now, using your french curve, draw a smooth curve from points D to A (light blue curved line). Add a 1/4″ (64mm) seam allowance to this curve from points D to A (dark blue line).

At this point, your paper should look similar to my example below. Keeping your paper folded, cut along the outside line shown in dark blue.

Now, you can finish drawing in your stitching lines/seam allowance on the inside of your dark blue lines. Next, label the direction of greatest stretch, the fold line, and the name of your pattern. Congratulations! You now have drafted your own custom dance glove pattern!

Some notes on pattern modifications…

Once you have reached this point, you can choose to use the pattern as-is or further customize it. For example, if you would like to use 3/8″ (95mm) or 1/2″ (1.27cm) elastic instead of 1/4″ (64mm), you can add extra seam allowance at the top edge of the glove. For 3/8″ elastic, add 1/8″ seam allowance. For 1/2″ (1.27mm) elastic, add 1/4″ (64mm). You can choose whatever suits you best!

Do you prefer a dramatic extra-long glove or a short and sassy version? No problem! You can also lengthen or shorten the glove according to your needs. To shorten, trim the glove to the length you like, leaving enough seam allowance at the top edge to match the width of your top elastic. To make it longer, you can measure the length of glove you like and extend the length of the pattern accordingly. You can measure the arm where the glove will end when worn, and match the pattern to this measurement.

Yay! You are now ready to cut your beautiful custom pattern out of your stretchy fabric! Give yourself a pat on the back. You have made it halfway through the process already!

Step 5 – Cut your fabric and elastic

Next, lay your pattern out on your fabric, placing the direction of greatest stretch going across the glove. You can choose to cut it out on the fold or in a single layer of fabric. Once you have determined your pattern layout, cut two gloves in total.

After cutting out the fabric, it is time to cut the elastic. To cut the 1/4″ (64mm) elastic for the wrist/back of hand areas, measure the curve 1/4″ (64mm)in from the cutting line on your pattern from point D to point A, including seam allowance at both ends. Cut four pieces of elastic this length. For my example, using my measurements, this ends up measuring 5.75″ (14.6cm).

For the elastic at the top of the glove, a good rule of thumb is to cut the elastic at about 80% of your forearm circumference, or measurement #2 from your list of measurements taken above. This is a general rule, though, so for the best fit, you’ll want to try it out before sewing it onto the fabric. Elasticity can vary greatly between types and widths of elastic, so take the time to experiment before cutting.

Step 6 – Sew on the elastic

Next, line up a piece of 1/4″ (64mm) elastic to the edge of the fabric at the curve between points D and A. Sew onto the wrong side of the fabric with a zig-zag stitch. I find the best results on my machine using a size 90/14 universal or stretch needle, with a stitch length of 2.5, and a width of 3. Do not stretch the elastic or the fabric as you sew; pin at the ends and keep the fabric and elastic lined up in between.

Start your seam with a piece of scrap paper underneath and tear off after sewing.

I find it helpful to start my stitches with a piece of paper underneath the first few stitches (~1/4″) (64mm) when I start my stitching; this can help prevent the fabric from getting sucked down into the feed dogs and causing a big mess. Repeat for all four wrist edges. Once you have sewn the elastic to the edge, you are ready to sew it again. Fold the elastic and fabric in towards the wrong side and sew with a zig-zag stitch, staying towards the raw edge of the seam allowance.

Elastic sewn onto wrist/hand portion of glove.

After sewing on the wrist elastic, you can sew the upper elastic. First, mark the midway point on the glove’s top edge and the middle point of the elastic. Match these points up and pin the elastic onto the wrong side of the glove. Next, you can pin the elastic and fabric at the ends.

Finally, sew the elastic on, stretching the elastic until it is the same length as the fabric while sewing together. Once the elastic is sewn to the edge, fold the elastic and fabric in towards the wrong side and zig-zag again, keeping towards the raw edge of the seam allowance.

Step 7 – Sew the side seams

For the side seams, it helps to have some stretch in your seam. You can either sew this seam with a serger or use a standard sewing machine. You can create a seam with stretch on the sewing machine by using a zig-zag stitch with a width of 1 and a stitch length of 2. Again, be sure not to stretch the fabric as you stitch.

Step 8 – Sew on the finger loop elastic

At this point, if you are making the glove for yourself, you can try it on and see how long you need the elastic loop to be. If you are making the gloves for someone else, you can cut the elastic to 3″ (7.6cm), and hand-stitch one end to the underside of the finger point end of the glove. Once you have a fitting, you will be able to mark the length that works. If you only have 1/4″ (64mm) elastic, you can use that. Another option is to use 1/8″ (32mm) flat or round elastic for a daintier look and a little more comfort in-between the fingers!

Ta-da! The finished glove!

Wear them in good health!

I hope you found this pattern to be a fun and easy sewing project! Making these custom gloves is a great way to practice sewing with stretchy knits. Since it takes so little fabric, it is also a fun way to bust some scraps from your stash. Costumes are one of my favorite things to sew, and I hope these add to your costume-sewing fun. Please share your photos in the comments!

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