Thursday, November 11, 2010
simple gifts: (pencil pleated) wrist warmers
First and foremost: thanks so much for cheering me on in my attempt at letting go of fears. When I didn't get to publish this post yesterday(various obstacles), I had another day to squirm and adjust my comfort level. Maybe it was just what I needed. But now I'm super happy to share today's tutorial... it's the first of this year's edition of my Simple Gift Series. Some of you may remember these from the previous two seasons. Check out past projects here. The holidays are really sneaking up on us now, but no worries. I'm sure we can knock off some presents from our list if we keep the making of them... simple. These wrist warmers were whipped up out of necessity during last week's freezing temps. I was having a hard time getting anything done because my hands were so cold. They were a gift to myself, but now that I see how much I'm wearing them, and just how useful they are... onto the winter present list they go!
I'm sure there are tons of tutorials for wrist warmers from cast off sweater sleeves, but what makes these unique are the little details. To give them a fitted feeling around the fingers I created 5 parallel pencil pleats down the length of the hand with contrasting white thread. This gave them such crisp tailored look even though they were only sliced sleeves. Those little pleats looked so familiar, and then I realized that they were reminiscent of my grandmother's traditional leather gloves. Her father had immigrated from Romania when he was a small boy and grew up to be a glove manufacturer. There is much family lore about my great grandfather George, and I think he must have channeled those pleats, somehow.
So, now they were snug in the hand but loose enough around the wrists to pull on over a sweater. Maybe too loose. So, I created a fitted option by sewing on buttons and some elastic loops on the arms. Now they have the ability fit over sweaters or to look trim... and even elegant (check out the final photo in this post).
If you'd like to make a pair, and I think you might, look for wool sweaters with a fine gauge and subtle cuff. Throw it in your washing machine and dryer for some quick felting and then get started.
Two sweater sleeves
4 loops of elastic or hair ties
1. Slice off sleeves if you haven't already. Somewhere above the elbow.
2. Try your wrist warmer on for size. Shorten it from the cut side. If you're satisfied with the length proceed to snipping the thumb hole. I did this part by feel not measurement. A simple: oh this is where my thumb needs a hole! Make sure that the side seam is on the same side as your thumb, if possible, so that you can snip along the seam.
3. Sew pencil pleats: starting about an inch from the thumb hole- fold and sew down 1/8 of an inch from the side. Begin at the top and sew in a straight line down about 4 inches.I flared the bottoms a slight bit. My pleats aren't perfectly straight because I was experimenting and eyeballing as I went. For the next pair I might pin them first... or maybe not.
5. If you'd like the fitted version make a teeny tiny hole along the seam below the thumb. Insert a loop of elastic and sew it in place.
I used sturdy button thread since I felt there would be a bit of stress on it. Sew second loop several inches down. Try it on to see where best to place your buttons and then attach them, too.