Tutorial: Arm Warmers from Old Pants

Click photos for larger view.

First off, let me say that there are a lot of Goth blogging ladies out there with amazing seamstress skills… I am not one of them! This tutorial is for the rest of us. 🙂

I lightened all of the photos up a bit so you can hopefully see what is going on.

Final Product, Short Version

I had this old pair of stretchy pants that were a bit too snug for my current tastes. Plus I had splashed a bit of bleach on them long ago while cleaning the bathroom, and I was tired of trying to color in the bleach spot with Sharpies. However, I totally love the pinstripe-ish textured fabric, so I thought these would make nice, almost corporate arm warmers. NOTE: The pants must be made of stretchy fabric for this to work!

Pants with Legs Cut Off

First, I measured the length of my arm from mid-bicep to just below the wrist. I cut both legs off of the pants at that length. The plan is to use the existing hem as the top part of the glove, so I only have to finish the bottom edge.

Pinned and Ready to Sew

Next, I measured around my bicep and around the wrist, then pinned the pant legs (inside out) at those widths, leaving a little bit of wiggle room. I added a couple of extra pins along the diagonal line between the two end pins. You can use a fabric marking pencil and a ruler to create a perfect line, if you wish.

Edges Trimmed; Ready to Finish

Next, I sewed a straight stitch down the pin line. Then I trimmed the excess, leaving about 1/2”. I like to bevel the edges a bit so the corners don’t show when I’m all done.

With Edges Finished Using Zigzag;
Glove on Right is Turned Right-Side Out

Finally, I ran a zigzag stitch down the raw edge, then another zigzag around the raw wrist edge. If you want to make them extra clean, you can do a folded hem around the wrist, but I find this difficult to achieve with such a tiny opening.

The final product: a free pair of arm warmers that are almost nice enough to wear even to the office. They can be worn long, or fold the wrist part under a couple of inches to make them shorter.

You could even make the rest of the pants into shorts, of so inclined!

Final Product, Long Version


  1. I made a pair of arm warmers from a thick pair of tights last winter :DYours look way better than my 5-minute DIY warmers XDHuggies<3

  2. Wow…those are great! Definitely an ingenious idea! Very nice.XO Carriewww.carriefabulous.com

  3. I'm done this before with socks, but instead of arm warmer (completely) just something to cover the wrist or upper arm. The length and color of your nails are to die for!

  4. THAT'LL teach you to wear black clothes while cleaning the bathroom. That's why I always do it nekkid!

  5. Thank you, great tutorial! I might try this after we've moved.

  6. Wow. These look fantastic. Perfect fit. And I am glad to know I am not the only person to use a Sharpie to fix clothing.

  7. CookingChinchillas, that's a great idea! And I think 5 minutes is the perfect length DIY project for me. :-DCarrye, thanks! I just couldn't throw those ruined pants away since I loved the fabric so much.BettyZade, lol! Good idea, except splashing bleach on nekkid skin could get dangerous… ;)Tenebris, I've seen some tutorials for arm warmers made from socks. They look really neat, and there are so many possibilities! However, what I like about the pants is the fabric is a bit more crisp; the socks would be great for a softer, more romantic look while the pants fabric lends itself well to a sleek, almost business look.Sal, you could celebrate the completion of the big move by transforming your "moving pants" into elegant arm warmers! :)SiouxsieL, thanks! I think Sharpie is the best for bleach-splattered blacks!! I've tried fabric dye, fabric paint, etc but the Industrial Strength Sharpie seems to do the trick better. It fades after a couple of washes, but it's super quick to retouch.

  8. I also "fix" clothing using black fabric markers and black sharpies 😀

  9. Love the idea but I'll probably be wearing an old pair of blue jeans… *lol*But I own a certain pair of black slacks that has gotten a little tight at the waist… It must have shrunk in the dryer, I'm sure of it!^^

  10. I love arm warmers. great job. -xo

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