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Welcome back! Last week we started our DIY gloves (which can be a handy replacement for body paint), and today we’ll finish them! If you’re just joining us, we recommend you read Part 1 to properly prep your gloves. Your tights should be positioned on your template, with a baste-stitch keeping them in place, before you move on to this tutorial.
Without further ado, lets get to it!
1. Machine Stitch
Get out your sewing machine, and sew along the baste stitch we did last week. Use thread that matches your tights, and sew at a small stitch (you’ll want to test different stitch lengths and tensions on some scrap tights, first).
It can be really tricky to get around the fingers without pulling on the tights and warping the fabric. We found that it worked best to start at the base of the fingers, and work to the tips. Sew a few stitches in between the fingers, then sew straight up the finger until you reach the tip. Back-stitch to seal it, cut the thread, and start at the next finger base. By having your stitches meet at the top of the fingers, you don’t have to try to do that full 180 degree curve, and it’ll be much easier to control your stitch.
2. Apply Fray Block
We found it’s easiest to apply the Fray Block before removing the gloves from the template. First, make sure to test your Fray Block on a section of the tights that won’t be visible, since you want to make sure it won’t discolor the fabric (if you used it in Part 1 when you cut the neck hole, you should know how it will behave on your tights).
Tie off any threads you can, snip them to manageable lengths, and apply Fray Block along the final seam. Once the Fray Block has dried completely, gently remove your template from your glove. If any of your stitches caught the cardboard, don’t panic; you should be able to gently ease the seams off of it, even if a little cardboard has to be sacrificed.
3. Remove baste stitch and adjust fit
Remove the contrasting baste stitch, using a seam-ripper. Go carefully and be gentle. Sometimes the baste stitch will be stuck in the finished seam, but if you’re careful, you should be able to get it all out. Just make sure you don’t cut your finished seam by accident!
Once the baste stitch is gone, take your fabric scissors, and trim carefully around the edge of your glove, leaving nearly a centimeter of seam allowance wherever possible. Be especially careful between the fingers. There should be a little space between each finger, but you likely won’t have room for more than a straight cut. The fray-block will help hold the fabric in place, but if holes develop in the seams, you can easily fix them with some hand sewing. If you make drastic changes (like significantly shortening the fingers), remember to re-apply Fray Block along the new seams.
Once you’ve made any obvious changes, turn it right-side out, and see how it fits your hand. If you need to adjust it any more, you can flip it inside out again. If the seams along your finger tips are a bit bumpy, don’t worry; they’ll be obscured when we add the nails.
Although we didn’t have a problem with this on our final product, if you find you’ve got excess fabric at the wrists, you can take it in just below the thumb. Put the glove on inside out, and have a friend pin back the excess fabric. Take it off and baste-stitch along the pin line, and then sew that sucker closed with your machine. Add Fray Block, and trim!
4. Apply nails
Put your gloves on right-side out, exactly how you’d wear them. Using a pen or chalk, put a dot at the center of your fingernails.
Now, to actually apply the nails, you’ll want to use a pen or smooth dowel that’s about the same diameter as your fingers. You can use your own hand, but be aware that you do not want to try and peel off a glove that’s been super-glued to your finger (we know this from personal experience). It’s much easier to use a prop.
Insert it in the finger, and put a bit of super glue on the nail. It doesn’t have to be covered; you just want enough to get it to stick to the fabric. Place it on the finger, lining it up with your mark as best as possible, but don’t worry too much; it’s more important that it sits straight and extends a bit over the edge of the glove, than that it exactly matches where your nail is. Your gloves should have enough give for you to wiggle them into place when you wear them.
Now, press the nail to the fabric, using the dowel to tap the fabric in place from the inside. Make sure not to keep the dowel still for too long, or the fabric will stick! You should only have to do this for a few seconds; super glue dries very quickly. Once it seems safely attached, you can remove the dowel, and move on to the next finger.
And that’s it! Try on your new gloves, and enjoy how eerie your arms look. Complete the illusion with some matching tights and body paint (we’ve heard good things about Ben Nye makeup).
Let us know if you end up using these for a costume—drop us a line, or share a picture on our Facebook page (and make sure to mention if you want us to share it with other people, or keep your pictures all to ourselves).
Today we bring you a tutorial for transforming tights into gloves, as a handy alternative to body paint. Often referred to as “armsocks” in the cosplay community, these gloves can be a real time-saver when you’re trying to depict supernatural skin tones. With your arms and legs easily matching, all you need to paint is your face, neck, and any of your chest or midriff not covered by your costume.
These gloves are not for the faint of heart, and we recommend you practice a few times on old pairs of tights, until you get the hang of things. We made a lot of sample pairs before taking to our final green pair, and it definitely smoothed the process along.
Since this tutorial ended up on the long side, we’ve broken it into two parts. This week, Part 1 will focus on prep; come back next week when we dig out our sewing machine for Part 2!
Fray Block or similar
Finger-sized pen or dowel
When picking your tights, you’re going to want something nylon, so that it won’t unravel when cut. We found that the Opaque Tights and the Color Tights were pretty much perfect (we used the Opaque Tights in lime for our gloves), but we practiced on some Leg Avenue Striped Tights, and they worked fine, too, so most opaque nylon tights should work. You mainly want something with a tube-style foot, otherwise you’re going to have to cut the whole foot off, and that’ll limit the length of your gloves.
1. Make hand template
In order to make gloves that fit your hands, you’ll want to start by making a template. Trace your hand onto a piece of paper, trying to keep your fingers relatively straight. You’re going to want to use this as a base, and trace the shape onto a piece of cardboard. Make sure to keep a little space between your fingers, even if that widens your template a little; you’re going to need enough room between each of your fingers so that you’ll be able to sew a few straight stitches, instead of the seams coming together at a point. This will be crucial later, since you’ll need room to snip the seams (otherwise you won’t be able to move your fingers).
2. Prep fake nails
You won’t need these until the very end, but it’s good to start them first, so you don’t get stalled later. If you need to file the nails down to a specific length, or paint them to match the tights (or to match another design), you want to do this before attaching them. Make sure to give them plenty of time to dry.
3. Make neck-hole
Before you get too far in this project, you want to make sure the tights will be the right length, and the only way to really do this is to try them on! But first, you’ll need a hole for your head. These gloves are meant to be worn over your head; almost like a sheer shrug. Starting at the crotch, use a sharp pair of scissors to cut a few inches up the center seam from the gusset. You won’t need to cut much; it should stretch pretty well. Be sure to apply Fray Block to the new raw edges before you try it on, so that you avoid causing any runs.
Slide the tights on your arms, and then lower them over your head. The cut gusset should be your new neckline, and the waist-band of the tights should sit below your chest. You can adjust the shape of the neckline based on your outfit, but it should naturally create a scoop-neck.
There should be plenty of give in the tights, and you want to be able to move well in these, so you shouldn’t feel constricted. If there’s lots of excess fabric at the ends, you can pin it off and start your gloves lower, but as long as there aren’t any unsightly wrinkles forming, you should be good to go.
4. Insert template
Turn your tights inside out, and cut off the toes. Insert your template gently, with the thumb to the inside of the leg. Be careful not to force the material too much. It should be taut, but you want it to sit smoothly across the template. Leave a little space between the top of the fingers and the raw edge, so you have some wiggle-room when you’re sewing. You’ll trim it down later, but you want some margin for error.
5. Baste-stitch around template
Using a contrasting thread, hand sew a wide baste stitch around the cardboard template. It may be tempting to skip this step, but we found that it not only made it much easier to follow the outline, it also kept the underside of the tights from being pulled or snagged by the sewing machine. Overall, this step will lead to a much cleaner finished product.
And that’s it for today! Move on to Part 2 to finish your gloves!
Since most of us Dreamers are sock fans, it’s probably not much of a surprise that we occasionally struggle with sock storage. It can be tempting to just throw all our socks into a pile and be done with it, but that can make socks hard to find, not to mention take up valuable floor space.
We’ve shared in the past some of the ways we Dreamers store our socks, and today we’re going to talk about organizing your sock drawer (or sock dresser, as the case may be), complete with a quick DIY.
If you’re going for a complete overhaul of your sock collection, it’s probably easiest to tackle them all at once, so you can start fresh. This will also give you a chance to go through and remove socks that need mending, socks that have outworn their usefulness (literally), and socks that could go on to a better home with a friend or a local thrift store. Seasonal socks can also be moved to longer-term storage, until their season rolls around again.
This is also a good chance to indulge in that tempting sock pile.
Once you’ve determined who will stay and who will go, it’s time to start folding. Our goal here is to 1) make them as compact as possible, 2) make it easy to see everything in your drawer, and 3) maintain the quality of your socks as long as possible. To this end, you want to make your socks into a nice folded square; one that is flat, and can be stood up next to its brethren in your drawer, making your morning grab for a sock that much quicker.
There are a few different techniques to folding socks. Perhaps the most common (and certainly the quickest) is to fold the top cuff of one sock over the other, to keep them connected. This may save time, but it doesn’t fulfill any of our folding goals: it takes up lots of space, will quickly lead to a chaotic drawer, and will stress the elastic band of the sock doing the binding. All in all, not an ideal technique.
These Holiday Striped Crews are having a stressful day.
Let’s face it. Snags happen. Socks can be particularly prone to this fiasco. They can catch on boot zippers, or stick on splintery furniture. They can get clawed by kittens, or entrapped by bike chains. Fortunately we in the sock business have found a useful tool to counteract this textile tragedy.
This genius little device may not look like much, but has the power to rescue your favorite stockings from certain ruin. The tiny hook can grab hold of that pesky loose thread and bring it through to the inside, restoring your socks to respectability. It is very inexpensive and can be found in the sewing tools aisle of your local craft or fabric store. Here is a step-by-step guide for how to use this handy helper to remove a snag.
Step 1: Place the sock over your hand so that you have access to the inside of the sock. Locate the snag.
Step 2: Move the snag repair tool inside the sock and find the back side of the snag.
Step 3: Insert the tool through the back side of the fabric so that it pokes through the front of the sock right next to the snag.
Step 4: Place the snag inside of the hook and close the latch.
Step 5: Pull the tool back through the inside of the sock, bringing the snag with you.
Step 6: Enjoy your restored sock! Yep. It’s that easy.
Did you know, May 17th is National Packrat day? I’m sure you do know “packrat” is a term for folks who hold on to maybe more stuff than they’ve space, or who are avid users of what I call “organised piles” (which is a thing I do, and those piles are library-catalogued, test me).
What does this have to do with socks? Well, I’m pretty sure some of you saw the word “packrat” and guiltily thought of your sock stash. That’s what it has to do with socks. So!
First off: no guilt, you love what you love. Second, let’s use this silly fake holiday to figure out how to make your stash more like a dragon’s hoard, rather than a cute rodent’s mega-nest. Organising, mending/crafting and sharing are ways to manage your socks. And you gotta organise to figure what the next step is, so let’s jump to it.
On the face of it, “organising” sounds kind of insurmountable. I mean, if I was organised, I’d be able to find those cute anklets I love for spring, right? The thing to remember is that you’re organising for your lifestyle, not a magazine spread. If two heaps of socks in separate laundry baskets is what works best for you, then go for it (that was my choice of organisation for years!).
A Sock Dispatch from last summer talks about some of the ways Dreamers organise their socks, which are varied as the Dreamers themselves!
“Those are still really organised!” Oh dude, don’t stress. We definitely tidied before taking pictures (and tight crops of sock storage means you don’t see any yet-to-be-sorted socks just outside of the frame)!
Let’s focus on how different Dreamers sort their socks. Everybody rocks socks in different ways, with their own individual emphasis on what they want socks for. So look at what influences your sock choices most? Here are four of the more common sock sorting themes, but there are lots more!
Do you want warmer socks separate from lightweight ones?
Do you have trouser socks for work and dreamy slipper socks for home?
Do you want to keep running/yoga/biking/aerial socks and leggings separate from “regular” styles?
Do you want to keep things sorted by colour and pattern first?
So, set aside a chunk of time (or a couple small chunks of time) and let’s make some glorious, organised heaps of socks. Your main sock stacks are going to be whatever sorting system works best for you (by weather, activity, fashion, etc). Then, make three more piles, and be honest: socks to mend, socks to give away, socks that are no longer socks.
Once you’ve got your stash sorted, put away everything but those last three stacks. Boxes, baskets, one of those intense custom closet systems from Overboard , whatever works for you. However you are putting them away, try to do so with good intentions. Keep delicate stockings in separate bags so they don’t get snagged, make a home for wayward onsies to stay until their friends return.
Sometimes, setting up simple expectations (I will pair everything before putting it away!) can help in building habits that better your day (if everything is paired, I can have matching socks even if I have to get ready in ten minutes!).
Look at that! You organised the HECK out of those socks. That’s the hardest part, you’re awesome!! I hope you re-discovered an old favourite. Now, we’ll deal with those three problem piles.
Mending & Crafting
Let’s look at the “socks to mend” pile. It doesn’t take too much crafty skill to do basic mending and fitting, especially when you know that most of your awkward stitches will be nicely hidden in a shoe! If you have socks you love but don’t wear because of holes or an imperfect fit, make yourself a little sock hospital of a mending basket (or bag, or box!) that you can dip into when you have a moment to restore a sock to health and regular rotation!
We’ve talked about mending a lot before on the Sock Journal, so I’ll just give you some links to resources for being a sock doctor!
• Got holes? Darn it! •
• Stockings too long? Simple sewing solution! •
• Too big a foot? This Tumblr user has a great fix! •
• A smidge too snug? Blocking may be your friend! •
• Foot just no good ? Maybe they’d be better as arm warmers! •
• Just not working as tights? Bet they’d be fabulous gartered stockings! •
I’m saying this as a person with a mending basket that never seems to empty, but mending is perfect for those times when your brain is just not up to crafts but you need something to do with your hands while you watch TV or listen to podcasts. Setting small goals (I will mend one thing a month!) or getting friends in on it (group mending nights!) helps a lot in getting those socks fixed and back on your feet.
But what if there is not still a sock enough to mend, but you still don’t want to throw ‘em away? Well, what can you make with them? We’ve got mad loads of crafting and DIY posts in a range of skill levels for you to check out in our DIY category!
And even if you don’t have a crafting or mending bone in your body, you may know somebody who does! Socks are great for doll clothes and their thickly knit material is easy to handle for small ones just learning to sew. Essentially, you can make your own Crafty Bundles (though the socks we use for Crafty Bundles have never been worn and are just defects and things like that).
If, after later inspection, some socks are just not fixable or useable in any way, set them into the “socks that are no longer socks” pile and we’ll get to them in a moment.
What? Give people your old socks?! Give me a second—I’m not talking about, like, your ratty, shoe-stained ones. I mean, you bought a pair and they don’t fit the way you like, or you just never wear them or that was the pair that taught you that you were allergic to wool.
Because of the sock saturation most Dreamers have, we end up with a lot of styles we just can’t give the life they deserve. So, just like with clothing swaps, we often bring in old styles during regular closet clean-outs and let other folks have at it. If you’re somebody who does clothing swaps on the regular, then try introducing socks into the mix of sweaters that sweet-talked their way into your closet.
If those socks still can’t get love, then take them to your local clothing donation center. Some smaller towns have giant mailbox-looking bins, some places have charity shops, check and see if they take socks!
No matter how you’re sharing and swapping socks, keep these this in mind: make sure the socks are only gently used. If something is just ratty and threadbare, it’s not a nice thing to give to someone else and your better bet is probably recycling.
Socks that are no longer socks
Fiber recycling is sort of hard to track down. It’s going to vary a lot on what your local options are and if charity and thrift shops around you also take fiber recycling donations. Luckily, Zkano takes socks for recycling through the mail!
There’s more info at this link, but here’s a little of what they say:
Old fibers can be reworked and reused. The most worn out cotton fibers can be composted. Here’s where we come in. . . It’s little steps that make a big difference as we move towards a sustainable lifestyle. Our family is proud that you’re taking a few of those steps in Zkano Socks.
Look at that! Organising, fixing, sharing and repurposing. It’s something possible with simple steps that can be broken down as small as your time needs. Don’t let your socks wear you out!
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