Fingerless Gloves & Net Shirts

Gloves are a great accessory. You can find opera length satin gloves at several mall stores and at most formal and costume shops. I have owned litterally dozens of pairs of these. Since the first thing that seems to go on them is the elastic on the fingers, I will often chop the fingers off for fingerless satin gloves. Velvet, lace, and mesh gloves, however are harder to find and usually much more expensive when you can find them.

Making gloves with fingers in them can be a bit tricky because you have to make strong seams on narrow pieces, but finger less gloves are easy to make, and often can be made from the remnants of other projects for instant matching gloves. They can really finish off an outfit nicely for male and female alike.

The easiest way to make these is by using something that is already a tube and making alterations. This is how you make one of those 'fishnet shirts' the easy way. Now some people have come to think these look tacky, but they are an old goth standard, and I wear them myself from time to time, then again I'm pretty old school. Use your own judgment.

Net Shirt

You can use cheap tights for this, but they will fuzz up very quickly. I actually find that the fishnet tihghts at Hot Topic are pretty good for the money, {Note: I don't recommend buying things other than tights, small accessories, and clearace items here as the quality is usually dodgy at best.} If you want fishnet tights, for this or especially for you legs, I highly recommend going to a dance shop and picking up some Danceskin tights. I've had pairs of these last through heavy wearing and regular washing for close to 5 years without sagging, major holes or any fuzzing! They cost more, but they are definately worth it even if you are on a budget.

The thing to remember here is that fishnet stretches, and stretches even more when cut, especially on cheaper tights. Always make your holes much smaller than you think you need. You can always cut more but once you have oversnipped, you've got a ruined pair of tights. Take the fishnet tights and lay them as in {FIG. 1} cut a very small hole, no bigger than an inch across in the crotch as in the picture. (Yes I know it looks perverse, stop giggling.)
Fig. 1

Now pull them on, putting your head through the hole you just made. You may need to make the hole a bit bigger but be very conservative with your cutting. At this point you have to make holes for your fingers. I usually get tights that are small enough to fit my arms snugly so I can just sip a few threads to put my fingers through. If the legs are too long you may have to hack the feet off and finish the edges by turning them under and stitching, or just by letting the rough cut edge do it's thing.

You can also do this with opaque tights, but very sheer or coloured ones can look tacky, especially if they have runs in them. Lace tights can look really good worn as a shirt if they are finished well, and look a bit more classy than fishnet. Again, use your best judgment, be objective and if you are unsure get a second opinion. Remember you are going for an overalleffect, the pieces you are wearing should work together in order to form your look. You want something that holds together as an outfit rather then just some neat stuff thrown together.


In order to make simple fingerless gloves you need to take some measurements. 1) Measure your hand just under your thumb. 2) Measure the widest part of your hand right above your wrist. 3) Measure your wrist. 4) Measure your forearm right before your elbow. 5) Measure your biceps, if they are large 6) Measure your arm at the top of where you want your gloves to stop, right below your arm pit for opera length 7)Measure between each measurement 1-6 8)Measure the length from the base of your middle finger to where you want the gloves to stop.
Fig. 2

These are important, measure twice for accuracy, and write them down. If your arm doesn't vary in thickness much or you have really stretchy fabric, you can make do with fewer measurements. You may want to get a piece of newspaper and trace, for long gloves have a friend trace, your hand and arm. Cut it out and mark the length (measurements 7,8) on the paper as a guide. This will just be a guide, you can't do this and just use it as a pattern because your arm isn't flat (yes, I know you know that... but I just wanted to mention it in case you haven't had your first cup of coffee yet). Divide measurements 1-6 in half, add an inch to the length (measurements 7,8) for hem allowance.

You can make these gloves out of any material, but I suggest you start with something that has a good bit of stretch to it like thick stretch velvet or stretchy lace; otherwise you will need to add an inch to 1-6 for seam allowence and run the risk of not being able to get your hand through the wrist part easily. When laying out the fabric remember you want it to stretch around your arm, so the wrist of the glove will allow your hand through and yet still be fitted. You can use fabric with a two way stretch, but you want the greatest stretch around the arm.

If your fabric only stretches a bit you may want to try cutting it on the bias. The bias of fabric is the diagonal grain and usually has the most stretch. You will need more fabric if you lay it this way rather than just across from selvedge (finished or woven edge) to selvedge or from cut to cut. Study Figure 3 to see what I mean.
Fig. 3

If you are making gloves out of net, (not with tights but with actual net yardage from a fabric store), you may want to cut on the bias anyway depending on how the pattern lays. Once I made a pair of net gloves, not really paying attention to the pattern and when I tried to put them on I had little squares running up my arm instead of diamonds. Needless to say it looked rather odd, and they had to be redone... whoops! If you are making gloves out of velvet or anything with a pile to it, or an obvious pattern (like the net) you want to be sure the grain/pattern will go the same way on both gloves otherwise they may appear to be slightly different colours.

Once you have determined the direction the fabric stretches fold it with the wrong side out and mark the measurements you have taken using tailor's chalk, white eyeliner, or my personal favorite, a chip of soap (for dark fabric). Mark the length first along the fold. Next mark 1-6 (which are now half the original measurement plus an inch). Cut the first glove out using the marked spaces as a guide.
Fig. 4

Usually at this point I baste the glove together to check the fit. Basting is where you make long fairly loose stitches that can be pulled out easily. You will probably have to make a hole for your thumb when you try it on. Just make a small nick in the fabric and widen it till you can put it on properly. If it fits, (ignore the gaps between stitches at this point as long as it isn't obviously so tight that it won't be wearable once properly sewn), I will take the basting out and use it as a pattern for the second glove. Remember that the thumb hole will have to go on the opposite side, unless you are a mutant, of the second glove so lay the first one on top of the fabric with the pretty sides of the fabric together. Mind patterns and nap and you should be just fine.

Once you have them both cut out, stitch together properly, make any necessary adjustments and finish the edges, if desired, by turning the fabric under and hemming with a zigzag stitch. For the hand portion you can either have it going straight across your hand, you can make the hand a little longer and sew between the fingers, or you can make sort of a point with a loop going around your middle finger. Fig. 5