Tutorial: How to Make Stretch Gloves for Costumes

tutorial: gloves and half-finger gloves

Cosplay is all about bringing your favorite characters to life, and what better way to nail the details than by crafting your very own gloves? Gloves can add that finishing touch to your costume, setting you apart in a sea of store-bought outfits. From sleek superheroes to Victorian damsels, gloves often play an essential role in a character’s look. Making gloves might seem daunting at first, but with a bit of patience and the right materials, you’ll find it’s a skill within your reach.

If your hands are frequently too small or too big for gloves, it’s a useful skill to learn how to make your own. You might also need to make a very specific design for your next cosplay that you’ll need to make from scratch.

Choosing the right fabric is a solid first step in glove-making for your cosplay. Stretch fabrics are forgiving for beginners, allowing some leeway for any small measuring mishaps.Getting hands-on with your costume not only gives you a custom fit but also a personal connection to your character that buying off the rack just can’t match.

Don’t worry about having to stitch up perfection on your first try. Every cosplay project is a learning curve, and making gloves is no exception. Whether you’re a sewing novice or have a few projects under your belt, each attempt will bring you closer to mastering the art of glove-making. With practical guidance on how to make gloves, you’ll soon be ready to wave hello to your next event with hands clad in your own unique creation.

the stretch fingered and fingerless gloves

Method 1: Make gloves using stretch (knit) fabric 

If this is your first time making gloves for a cosplay costume, I recommend using this method. It is much easier since the stretchiness of the fabric will make up for any inaccuracies in the measurements.

All you need for this method of making gloves is a very stretchy fabric (and basic sewing tools, like a needle, thread, etc.). Spandex or a similar fabric that is 4-way stretch is ideal to use. You can get away with using a 2-way stretch fabric if you have to, but it is a little more difficult and you’ll have to pay close attention to the direction of the stretch when cutting your pieces out of the fabric.

trace your hand
Trace your hand and arm as far down as you want the glove to go.

Step 1: Trace your hand

Place your hand flat onto a piece of paper and trace around your hand and fingers, just like you did back in grade school. Make sure there is enough space between your fingers to add a little extra seam allowance (step 2) but try not to spread your fingers out too much.

Trace your hand and arm as far down as you want the glove to go. So if it will be a wrist-length glove, you only need to trace to your wrist, but trace farther up your arm for over-the-elbow gloves.

I also recommend leaving a little extra buffer space around the narrowest part of your wrist. You’re going to need to fit your hand through this area, and sometimes if the wrist hole is too small the thread will snap when trying to put the glove on.

add a seam allowance
Add a quarter inch seam allowance around the entire pattern.

Step 2: Add a seam allowance

Now it’s time to add some seam allowance to your pattern. This is the space that you will give yourself for sewing so that the thread doesn’t have to stay at the very edge of the fabric.

Use a ruler and measure ¼ inch seam allowance around your entire glove pattern. If you have tiny hands like I do, you may have some difficulty getting even this small seam allowance in between the fingers. I start at ¼ inch at the fingertip, make a point just above the inside of the fingers, and draw a line connecting the two. Then when sewing, I have to make sure to sew closer and closer to the edge of the fabric as I reach the inside point of the fingers.

Once you’ve added the seam allowance, cut out your pattern and pin it to your fabric.

cut the fabric
It’s best if you use 4-way stretch fabric, but if you use 2-way stretch make sure it’s along the width of the glove, not the length.

Step 3: Cut out your glove from your fabric

This is pretty straightforward. Make sure your fabric is folded, then cut out two pieces of your pattern. You are going to sew these together to create your glove.

If you are using a 2-way stretch fabric (instead of a 4 or all-way stretch), you need to be careful about which way you cut out the glove pieces. Most of the stretch of the glove is going to be horizontal across your hand and arm, NOT lengthwise up your arm or fingers. 

When you orient your pattern on the fabric you want to make sure the direction on the stretch reflects this. Test your fabric to see which direction it stretches. Then place your glove perpendicular to that direction.

sew the two sides together
Make sure to use a zig-zag stitch when sewing your glove together.

Step 4: Use a zig-zag stitch to sew your glove together

Now that you have your two fabric pieces, it’s time to sew them together. You can use a sewing machine, or hand sew if you want to. The tight curves on the fingers can be difficult on a machine, so don’t be afraid to go slow.

When sewing a knit fabric, always use a zig-zag stitch. If you don’t there is a high chance that the thread will snap as soon as you try to put the glove on. The zig-zag stitch gives the thread some give so it can stretch along with the fabric. This is important whether you are hand sewing or using a machine.

You also may want to make a mark on the fabric (using chalk or a water-soluble marker) at the inner points of your fingers. This way you know exactly how far you need to stitch.

trim the excess seam
when trimming the seam allowance, make sure to snip as close to the thread as you can.

Step 5: Trim the excess seam

Once your glove is sewn together, make sure it fits, and then trim off any excess seam. The goal is to make the material on the inside of the glove as small as possible so that you don’t end up with big bulges when you wear it.

hem the glove
Knit fabric doesn’t fray so you don’t have to hem it, but it will look a little neater if you do.

Step 6: Hem the wrist opening (optional)

Knit fabric does not fray like woven fabric does, so it’s not completely necessary to hem the end of it. However, if you want your gloves to look extra neat, adding a hem to the wrist opening can help. 

Simply fold the fabric over and stitch it in place to create your hem. You’ll probably need to hand stitch this section since most sewing machines do not have a small enough arm for gloves to fit around. Make sure to use a zig-zag stitch, of course.

Once you are finished, turn your glove right side out and try it on. If you’re happy with the result, don’t forget to get started with the second glove.

cut and hem the fingers
You can simply cut the fingers of the original pattern, or you can hem them for a slightly neater look.

What to change for fingerless (half-finger) gloves

The process for creating fingerless gloves is almost the same. There are very few changes that need to be made.

  • In Step 1: When tracing your hand, make sure to stop the line directly above the first joint of all of your fingers.
  • In Step 4: Make sure to leave the finger holes open when sewing your glove together.
  • In Step 6: You can also choose to hem the individual fingers to create a neater look. You will have to hand sew this area.

Emily Joice

My name is Emily, and I have been cosplaying since my very first convention in 2008. Over the years, I've experimented with all different kinds of cosplay costumes, especially loving the process of creating props and styling wigs. I also delved into cosplay photography, and love exploring how to optimize costumes so they look excellent in photos. Most of the photos you find on this site were taken by me over my years at anime conventions.

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