Fabulous Rainbow (or any) Armwarmers Tutorial

You need rainbow arms and I’m here to help you get them! Here’s a step-by-step tutorial for making some awesome armwarmers with knit fabric.

OK, you don’t actually have to use rainbow fabric but it’s really cool if you do and Cali has the fabric pictured in this tutorial available here: Rainbow Stripe Jersey Knit. You really just need any knit fabric with at least 25% stretch and some measurements.

To create your pattern, measure around your palm at the widest part, not including your thumb, and add 3/4″. That = Palm measurement. Now measure the around your arm where you’d like them to end and add 3/4″, that = Arm measurement. Last, measure from that point on your arm down to just below your knuckles and add 1″. That = Length.

For a small women’s size, you can use Palm = 8-¼”, Arm = 9-3/4″ and Length = 14-½”.

Draw a vertical line equal to your Length line on a large piece of paper, then center a horizontal line the length of your Palm measurement across the top and a horizontal line the length of your Arm across the bottom. Connect the Palm and Arm lines to form a trapezoid. (ooh, I mathed there!)

Cut around your pattern piece, and fold it in half along the length line. Now draw a cutout for the thumb hole. For an average hand, make the top of this cutout 2-1/2″ from the Palm line. Centering a standard spool of thread (which measures about 1-1/4″ across) on the edge makes a perfect size. If you can’t find a circle the right size, use a ruler and sketch a half circle roughly 5/8″ wide and deep. That’s your pattern piece.

Cut 2 from your fabric, being sure you are cutting so the stretch goes across the width of the pattern. Also cut 2 binding strips 5.5″ wide (stretch direction) by 1″ long.

Fold the armwarmer right sides together and sew from the arm edge to the thumbhole, using a ⅜” seam allowance and using a stretch stitch.

Leaving the armwarmer wrong side out, open up the thumbhole so that it’s fairly straight and accessible for sewing.

Pin a binding strip, right sides together, along the entire length of the thumbhole. Sew using a longer-length straight stitch, 1/4″ from the edge of the thumbhole.

Trim the seam allowance to ⅛”. Press the binding first toward the thumbhole, then wrap it all the way around the raw thumbhole edge to the wrong side of the armwarmer. Tuck in the binding’s raw edge and pin or clip in place so it just covers the line of stitching.

From the right side of the fabric, sew just inside the seam on the binding, using a longer length straight stitch.

Finish the side seam from thumbhole to palm edge, again using a ⅜” seam allowance and a stretching stitch.


Hem the top and bottom of the armwarmers by pressing under 1/2″ and sewing with a stretching stitch, and you’re done!

Now I have a confession. Here’s the actual picture of me buying this at Fabric Outlet of San Francisco, Cali Fabrics’ brick-and-mortar shop.


I could never cut it because no project seemed worthy enough! Then I just super needed some rainbow arm warmersand now I’m still happy because I still have quite a bit of fabric left and rainbow arms too. PLUS, this rainbow jersey is a classic on the Cali website and is frequently in stock. You can grab some right here: https://califabrics.com/bright-rainbow-stripe-stretch-midweight-cotton-jersey-knit/



Jen H, from Tie Dye Diva

Jen creates PDF format sewing patterns for women, children and babies at www.tiedyedivapatterns.com

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