Armbands look pretty easy to make, right?
Right. And they can be, if you are just making armbands with nothing attached to them. I have been working on a choreography that made me want a piece of costume that is flowy but not as big as a veil. So I decided to make arm bands with drapes that match my costume, and I had to experiment and plan a bit before I was able to create nice, full drapes that are short on one end and long on the other. In this video, you will see how I did it. By the end of the video, you will know how to make arm bands with short & long drapes.
Fabric – I used green stretchy fabric for the band and chiffon for the drapes. You can use non-stretchy fabric for the band, but you will have to sew or insert elastic inside the band.
Elastic – Make sure the elastic is thinner than the width of the arm bands.
Pins, needles, scissors, thread, marking pen (Sewing machine is optional.)
Anti-fray glue if you use fabric like chiffon that frays easily and don’t want to or cannot hem it.
So first, measure your upper arm where you want the armband to be. My measurement was 24cm.
Then measure from that point to your elbow. This will be the shortest part of the drape. My measurement was 10cm.
Then measure from armband to your wrist. And this will be the longest part of the drape. My measurement was 35cm.
You can make it longer, but I am playing zill in this piece, and I didn’t want the drapes to get caught between my finger cymbals, so I made it just up to my wrist.
2. Cut fabric
First cut the fabric for the bands. I measured 5cm for the width of the band, and my upper arm measurement, 24cm plus 1cm seam allowance for the length. Make 2 pieces of this.
Then we mark points and cut the fabric for the drapes. The drapes are like skirts, except that it’s worn around your arm, so we need to do quick math to determine the size of the circular hole you need inside of the drape to make it to fit your arm. So let’s determine the diameter of the hole first. To do this, we take the upper arm measurement and divide by 3. So in my case, 24cm divide by 3, which is 8. So I need a circle with 8cm diameter in my drape. If you want to be more accurate, you can use the pi (π) function in your calculator in place of 3.
Now fold the fabric for the drapes in half, then half again. Because we folded the fabric in half, we take the diameter we calculated, which is 8cm, half of that is 4, so that’s the length of the inner circle. Then take the shortest length of the drape, which in my case is 10cm, add 1 cm for seam allowance. So 4cm plus 10 plus 1 equals 15. Mark 15 cm on the horizontal side.
Then do the same for the longest part. My longest measurement was 35cm. So 4cm plus 35 plus 1cm for seam allowance, equals 40. Mark 40cm on the vertical side.
Draw a curve to connect the 2 points, and cut along the curve. Then mark half the diameter of the circle, in my case 4 cm, from the corner, and cut it out. Then separate the 2 pieces. By now you should have 2 half circles that are stretched to the bottom.
Next, make a smaller half circle. This is a lot easier. Just fold the fabric in half then fold again from the same corner to make 45 degrees. Make 15cm marks and 4cm marks, and cut them out. This should produce 2 half circles.
3. Sew bands and drapes
For the armbands, fold the fabric in half, right sides together, then stitch the top.
Then flip inside out to get the right side of the fabric out. If it is challenging to flip it over, you can use a thin object like a chopstick to push out the fabric.
Fold it with the seam side out, sew the ends to make it into a band. Repeat the process to make 2 bands.
For drapes, sew the 2 half circles (1 small, and 1 long) together to make a big stretched circle. If you use chiffon like me, it frays a lot, so you’d have to hem the ends or use anti-fray glue.
4. Attach drapes to bands
Yay, we are almost done! To attach the drapes to the bands, mark quarter points on the band and the inner circle of the drape with pins, and matched them up. This helps you make sure the longest part of the drape ends up sewn to the seam of the band, so when you wear the band, the seam part comes to the bottom, and the seam does not show very much.
Once the quarter points are matched and pined, stitch the drape inside the band.
5. Try on and attach elastic if needed
Now try on the armbands and move your arms around. If you use stretchy material for the armbands, you may find that the bands fit you well. I found that mine fell after moving my arms up and down several times, so I attached elastic inside the bands.
The elastic should be pretty tight on your arm. Sew it inside the armband at 4 points, and it should hold the armband up pretty well. Do the same for the other one.
And done! Feel free to decorate the bands with beads, rhinestones and sequins. Enjoy the flowy, fun addition to your costume. Let me know if you have any questions, and if you create some, I’d love to see it – so please share photos below. 🙂
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