Why Didn’t I Make One Sooner?!
I walk the dog everyday and I’ve been suffering from needlessly from cold hands syndrome. Yes, I could wear gloves but they prevent me from texting and selecting podcasts on my phone. And I feel like I need to take the gloves off while picking up after the dog, just in case. It wasn’t until I was making the thumb hole cuff for the reading blanket tutorial that it hit me. I needed a sleeve with a thumb hole. It reminds me of a leg warmer but an arm version, hence, arm warmers. I thought it was going to be easy but my first attempt was a disaster. Good news for you I’ve made the mistakes so you don’t have to. The instructions look more complicated than it really is.
Cutting Your Pattern
- You’ll need approximately 24″ x 24″ of rib knit .
- Fold your fabric in half with the greatest amount of stretch going along the folded edge.
- Place your hand on the fabric with the folded edge at your finger. Determine how tall you want the sleeve to cover your finger and how far up your arm you want it. I like the sleeve to cover most of my fingers. I fold it down when I need more finger mobility. Cut the fabric to size.
- Fold the fabric over your arm and chalk your arm. Pin along your chalk line leaving the thumb area unpinned.
- Try on the arm warmer and adjust the pattern as needed. This try on is important since all knits behaves differently and everyone likes a different amount of ease.
- Trim your pattern with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Notice how I cut a curve at the thumb hole. This curve gives you more thumb mobility.
- Trace the pattern onto a piece of paper to keep for future use and to cut your second arm warmer.
Sewing the Arm Warmers
- Instead of pins make a clip at the top and bottom of the thumb hole.
- Open up the fabric and fold right sides together so that you have a long and skinny piece. Sew the middle section from notch to notch.
- Open up the ends to a “X” shape.
- Grab the two top flaps and put them right sides together.
- Sew from the end of the last stitch to the next clip. I marked the end of the last stitch with blue chalk to make it easier to see.
- Check the underside to make sure the fabric didn’t shift and you have sewn to the end of the previous stitch.
- Repeat with the other two flaps. Again checking that your stitching meets the end of the previous stitch on both sides.
- Open up the piece into an upside down “V” shape. Sew up one side with a 1/4″ seam allowance and the other with a 3/8″ seam allowance. The two different seam allowances is to adjust for the turn of the cloth. The layer inside needs to be smaller (larger seam allowance) so that it lays smooth.
- Sew from the end of the previous stitch to the hem.
- Baste the seam allowance open. I use a glue stick. When I turned the sleeve inside out it was really difficult to keep the seam allowance open which created weird lumps and bumps in the seam. Pressing it open seemed like a dangerous undertaking.
- Turn the arm warmer inside out with the layer with the larger seam allowance as the inner layer. Don’t worry, just turn it and look at the seam allowance. If you have the layers wrong, flip it inside out.
- You’ll notice that the inner layer will be longer than the outer layer. It’s that turn of the cloth thing again. Trim the hem even to each other.
Sew the Hem
The next couple of steps are difficult to describe. The end goal is to sew the hem right side together leaving an opening to turn the arm warmer inside out. Here we go.
- Fold over the hem seam allowance. It doesn’t matter how much seam allowance.
- Grab the seam allowance from the inside.
- Turn the seam allowance inside out. Zig zag the hem all the way around leaving a 2″ opening. When you get to the point in the sewing where the bulk of the arm warm preventing you from sewing further you’ll have to stuff the material in. I know this is confusing. You will understand when you get to this step.
- Turn the arm warmer inside out.
- Hand stitch the opening close. I’m not sure of the name of the stitch I used. It’s like a ladder stitch where you’re stitching the edge of folds. I make almost like a back stitch in order to give the stitch some stretch so the thread doesn’t break when putting the arm warmer on and taking it off.
You have arm warmer with thumb hole. I hope you enjoy these as much as I have. I’ve been wearing everywhere, not just walking the dog. The grey goes with everything but I would love some colorful pairs.
Happy Arm Warmer Sewing,