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.
It’s also pretty common in cosplay for characters to wear fingerless gloves (or half-finger), or even gloves with only a couple half fingers. By understanding how to put gloves together, you can easily adjust the pattern to fit your cosplay needs.
There are two main ways to make gloves using sewing techniques (you can also knit gloves, but I won’t be going over that here). The first uses stretch fabric, and that is the easier method by far. If you are new to sewing for cosplay, I recommend starting with method 1, even if you think a non-stretch fabric will look cooler.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Method 2: Make gloves using non-stretch (woven) fabric
Making gloves from non-stretch fabric is much more difficult because you need to take the thickness of your hand and fingers into account. The fabric is not going to be able to stretch around your hand.
It took me three tries to get this pattern correct. I recommend testing this with a cheap fabric (such as muslin) before making your final gloves. In the final section, I’ll explain how to make the fingerless gloves with woven fabric, which is actually a little easier than making the full glove.
In addition to your woven fabric, you will also need velcro for this tutorial. You can also use other types of attachments, such as a zipper or snaps.
Step 1: Make your pattern pieces
Making your glove pattern is the most important step in this tutorial. If you get this part wrong, the glove will not fit right. I’ve included numbered illustrations to help you get this part right, so be sure to follow along as best you can.
- Trace your hand
- Add an extra ¼ inch to the outside edges of the pointer and pinky fingers.
- We’re adding extra pieces (gussets) to the inner fingers, so only the outer two fingers need extra padding to fit.
- Draw a curve from the inner joint of the thumb to the center of the wrist
- Add an extra ¼ inch around the sides of the thumb.
- The front thumb piece (palm side of the hand) will connect to the front of the glove along the curved line. The back thumb piece will connect to the glove along the straight line on the side of the glove.
- Add another ¼ inch to the bottom section of the outer wrist.
- This part will not be sewn together so that you can still get the glove over your hand.
- Trace the front and back glove pieces and the front and back thumb pieces to a separate sheet.
- Flip over the back glove and thumb pieces.
- If you don’t these will be backward when you cut them out of the fabric.
- Measure the inner length of the space between your fingers, and the width of your fingers.
- Create 3 rectangles with tapered ends using your measurements in the previous step.
- These are the gussets that go in-between the fingers.
- Measure your wrist and add 2 inches.
- Create a rectangle using this length to create your wrist piece. You can use whatever width you want for the wrist band.
- Add a ¼ inch seam allowance to all of your pieces.
- You should end with a front and a back glove piece, a front and a back thumb piece, three gussets for between the fingers, and one wrist band.
Step 2: Cut your pattern pieces from the fabric
To reiterate, once you have finished your pattern you should have:
- A front glove piece
- A back glove piece
- A front thumb piece
- A back thumb piece
- 3 gussets for between the fingers
- A wrist piece
When cutting your front and back glove pieces, make sure to cut them all the way down to the point between your fingers. If you cut it too short, the glove fingers will not be long enough for your hand.
You only need one of each piece, so you can cut out the pattern pieces from a single layer of fabric. However, if you cut it from a folded layer of fabric you’ll have the pieces for both the left and the right gloves.
Step 3: Sew the outside pinky seam
Put the front and back glove pieces right sides together and sew the pinky seam. Do NOT sew together the tab we created on the outer wrist. If you do, you won’t be able to get the glove over your hand later, so we’ll hem this section in step 6.
Step 4: Sew in the gussets between the fingers
Now you want to take your three gussets and sew them between the fingers. Make sure to put the correct piece in the correct spot. For example, the gusset piece between my pinky and index finger is an inch shorter than the one between my index and middle finger, so the glove won’t work if I mix up these pieces.
Sewing this part is tricky, so if you’re not great with a sewing machine yet, I recommend hand sewing the gussets.
Step 5: Sew the thumb pieces to the glove
Start by sewing the front thumb piece to the front of the glove, and the back thumb piece to the back of the glove. Then pin the thumbs together and sew along the edge of the thumb and up the pointer finger.
With this, the basic glove is finished, and all that’s left is attaching the wrist piece. It’s a good idea to try your glove on at this point to make sure everything fits correctly.
Step 6: Sew the tab on the outer side of the glove
Now that the most difficult part is finished, let’s go back to the tabs on the pinky side of the glove. Fold these over and hem them. You want the edge of the hemmed piece to line up with the outer edge of the glove.
Step 7: Trim the excess seams and turn your glove right side out
So that the seams aren’t too bulky on the inside, it’s a good idea to trim them as close to the seam as you can without snipping the thread. Do this all along the fingers and thumb.
When you’re done, turn the glove right side out and make sure everything fits properly.
Step 8: Hem the length of the wrist piece and the two short edges
Now move to that rectangle that you cut out for your wrist. Fold over and hem the two short edges and one of the long edges of the fabric piece.
Step 9: Attach the wrist piece to the glove
Pin the unhemmed side of the wrist piece to the rest of your glove. Start with the wrist piece lined up with the edge of the outer wrist on the front side of the glove (the palm side). Then sew all the way around to the outer edge of the wrist on the back.
There will be an extra couple of inches that we added to the pattern in step 1 part 10. You’ll want to hem the rest of this so that you have a nice and neat extra tab of fabric on the wrist section.
Step 10: Add velcro
Now all you have to do is add velcro to the top of the wrist and bottom of the wrist tab and your glove will be finished. Now all you have to do is repeat the process with the second glove.
What to change for fingerless (half-finger) gloves
Fingerless gloves are slightly easier than full-fingered gloves because it doesn’t matter as much if you get the length of the fingers wrong. However, you still need to make sure the fabric fits around the width of the fingers.
There are two changes to keep in mind when creating the pattern in step one:
- The length of the fingers. You want to cut off the glove pattern at your knuckles. Then add a ¼ to ½ an inch of extra length to the fingers because you will need to hem them later on.
- In Step 1 part 8, instead of measuring your fingers for the gussets, measure the lines of your pattern. Measure from the edge of the pinky to the edge of the index, then the edge of the index to the middle, and middle to pointer. You do not need to taper the ends of the gusset pieces.
When putting the glove together, continue to follow the directions exactly as they are for full-fingered gloves until Step 5. Just be sure to keep the tips of the fingers open, of course.
After Step 5, you’ll need to fold over the top of each finger and hem them. Since woven fabrics fray, this step is necessary for keeping your gloves from falling apart.
After hemming the fingers you can continue with Step 6 and attach the wrist piece to your glove.