HOMESTUCK: ARMSOCK TUTORIAL
Alright! About time I made a long post. TUTORIAL TIME.
So I wrote an armsocks tutorial quite a few months ago with the grievous error that I didn’t upload pictures! In the remaking of my own, I decided to take some snapshots this time. So here it is, updated! The pictures come AFTER THE TEXT, so read the text and then look at the picture.
When you cosplay a troll, you typically have two options for your arms: makeup, or tights. Making trolltights involves taking a pair of tights for your legs and making them into skintight gloves. While it’s not overly hard or complicated, it takes a copious amount of time and most people don’t have the patience to finish. HOWEVER, when done right, they look like makeup and allow you to hold, touch, or do whatever you want with your hands. Which is awesome.
The original tutorial was from a Weeping Angel cosplay and isn’t exactly specific, so in my rage at not knowing what to do (and going through two pairs of tights before success), I made a “How To Make Armsocks For Dummies” tutorial. In 10 easy steps, you too can learn how to armsock!
Please read the WHOLE THING BEFORE YOU START, or you’ll probably mess up.
For this tutorial, you will need:
- a pair of grey tights (I like www.welovecolors.com and their solid opaques; you want LIGHT grey.)
- grey thread (I used Dual Duty All Purpose, color 450)
- a sharp sewing needle (use “sharps”, pick the smallest)
- clear nail polish
- fake nails (I prefer Broadway Nails “Fast French” in the Super Short; they’re regular fingernail size)
- yellow nail polish (for the fake nails)
- the willingness to not put a bullet through your brain during this tutorial and the process
1) Take your tights and cut a hole in the crotch. This doesn’t have to be large or a hole at all (I just cut out the seam where the crotch was) and put your hands through the legholes of the tights, and your head through the hole you cut. Pull the band down over your chest until it fits (should fall right under where your breasts are, mid-ribcage). That should tell you if your tights fit to your arms well- remember, they have to be skin tight. It’s okay if there’s a little give, you’ll need some space to sew and stretch the fabric.
2) Turn the tights inside-out on the arm you want to work on first. Cut the seam at the base of the foot, because it will get in your way later if you don’t. Make sure not to lose a lot of fabric here, just enough to get the seam off because otherwise it will try to kill you (not really, but it’s a pain in the ass and gives you finger-nipples. Which suck.)
3) With your hand, measure where your top 4 fingers are. Take pins and put them in the separations between your fingers; you should have three. Make sure they go through ALL THE WAY to the other side, and leave the base of the pin right where your fingers divide. I’ve found safety pins do this the best.
NOTE: IF YOU CANNOT DO THIS TO SAVE YOUR LIFE (like me), you can guess where your fingers are and edit from there. If you can’t, try to measure it. I’ve done well with just guessing because I have fat fingers, but I don’t know your hand shape, only you do. So yeah. If you want to do it simply, just put pins at the opening at the top where your fingers are and cut straight down from there. Make it longer than you think you need it- you can fix length later but it’s harder if they’re too short.
IMPORTANT: DO NOT CUT THE THUMB WITH THE OTHER FINGERS, IT COMES IN A LATER STEP.
4) Turn the tights inside-out (assuming you haven’t done this already) and begin to sew. What you want is a whipstich; which is basically a circle motion. Thread your needle and knot it, and pull it straight through the fabric; if you start on the pinkie (which is going to be a folded over piece), run the needle through the corner and then once it’s pulled through, circle around and put the needle through the bottom and come out the top. Rinse and repeat. You’ll have one line from your pinky to pointer, and then another to sew up your thumb. These stitches need to be AS SMALL AS YOU CAN STAND THEM, while still keeping the tights together. I recommend a small needle so as to make less holes in your tights, especially if they’re thin. The smaller your stitches, the less apparent they’ll be and the better the tights will look. Make sure only to sew on the inside of the fingers, so the stitches won’t appear in pictures.
WARNING: THIS STEP TAKES THE BULK OF THE TIME FOR TIGHT-MAKING. THIS STEP ALONE, BETWEEN THE TWO HANDS, HAS TAKEN 8-10 HOURS.
As you can see, it’ll start looking kind of shriveled, but it’s seriously how it’s supposed to look.
5) Once you’re done with your stitching, coat your seams with the clear nail polish; this will stop it from running or pulling. Also cover any runs that may have appeared between fingers. CAUTION: DO NOT DO THIS WITH THE TIGHTS OFF. Clear nail polish sets things and can make your seams shrink just enough to make sure your tights no longer fit. Make sure the tights are on your hands for this so this doesn’t happen. Do NOT take them off until the nail polish is dry! This can be achieved by blowing on it, waving your arms around like you’re Gamzee, hairdryers (no heat), anything like that. Just make sure it’s not wet.
6) On whatever side your pointer finger is on for whatever hand you’re working on, move down about an inch or two and make a curved cut from the side of the tight inside. It should look like an apple slice, but WITHOUT cutting it off the hand. This will end up being your thumb. If you can trace on the tights in chalk where your thumb is in relation to your hand, it will help you with spacing. This is where I’ve messed up the most- I’ve always given myself too much space and now it’s getting runs on the space between my thumb and the rest of my hand ‘cause I’m an idiot. 8D KEEP IN MIND THAT YOUR TIGHTS ARE TURNED INSIDE-OUT. IF YOU NEED TO TURN YOUR TIGHTS RIGHT-SIDE UP FOR THIS, GO AHEAD, BUT DON’T FORGET TO FLIP THEM BACK. Make sure you sew this line up, too.
*** Congrats! You’ve made it halfway through. By now, they should look like this ***
Now, keep going!
7) Once the tights are sewn up, put your hand back in them, with the tights still inside-out. If the fingers you made on the tights are longer than your actual fingers, mark a pin about a centimeter above where your finger ends and cut off the excess. Sew up the tips of your fingers again. If you want to be specific, cut the corners off of your fingers and curve them; it makes it look A LOT more natural and very, very nice.
WARNING: YOU MAY SEE RUNS IN YOUR TIGHTS AT THIS POINT. TREAT THEM IMMEDIATELY WITH CLEAR NAIL POLISH. MAKE SURE IT’S ENOUGH TO STOP IT BY STARTING WHERE THE RUN HAS SPREAD AND GO UP TO THE SOURCE.
This is how the corner-cut looks. If you’re doubting your skills at this point, this is how it’ll look when you turn it right-side out.
I promise, you are not doing it wrong. Continue on! Don’t forget to turn them back inside-out for the next step.
8) After your fingertips are sewn up, look below your thumb to your wrist. If your tights are not skin-tight where your wrist is (which they probably will not), put a pin right at the curve where your palm connects to your wrist and another further down on your arm; a good place to do this is pinch the fabric further down and see at which point it smooths out any lines or wrinkles in the tights. Cut a small circle between the pins (apple slice like before, but this time all the way off) and put the tights back on. If you can stretch the tights together and it becomes skin-tight, take the tights off and sew that seam up. This should be on the inside of your wrist. If it still has give or is still too big, cut a bigger circle. Repeat until you have it skin-tight. Whipstitch closed on the inside of your tights.
Last pic is the hole-recut should you not go deep enough. Coat all the new seams with more clear nail-polish. Now, all you need to do is add the nails to the tights! By now, they should look something like this:
9) Turn the tights right-side out and put them on your hands. Make a dot in the center of each of your fingernails with Sharpie. This will be a marker for your fake nails. When this is done, take your Sharpie and slide it into the first finger of the tight. Take your first nail (make sure to fit these on your fingers BEFORE you try this; make sure they’re the right size) and make a small vertical line of superglue from the base of your nail to the exact center (or about halfway through). Press the nail onto the tight and sharpie and begin to spin the sharpie slowly in the tight. This will stop the glue from getting on the Sharpie while still giving you a surface. (I tried this earlier, it actually worked). If you don’t want to spin it, pulling it in and out of the finger also works, but be careful not to stretch the fabric.
CAUTION: PAINT YOUR NAILS BEFORE YOU ADD THEM TO THE TIGHTS. IT WILL JUST MAKE YOUR LIFE EASIER. I’ll talk about an easy way to do that a little farther down.
10) Let them dry. CONGRATS, YOU’VE FINISHED ONE. HAND. Try them on and see how it looks! For my pictures, this is how they look without the nails:
AS FAR AS NAILS: Get a set of nails (thumb, pointer, middle, ring, pinky) for each hand. Get a paper towel and set all the nails on there, in pairs (two thumb with each other, two pointer, ect). Get some tape and make two long rolls; arrange the nails from thumb-pinky on this roll for each hand. This will keep them in place. From there, you can paint them really simply and they’ll dry just fine. Make sure to apply more than one coat or however much it takes to have a clear, solid color. Also, take the nails off after the first coat and check for anything that needs to be touched up.
FINALLY, all complete, they come out like this!
In addition, if you guys LITERALLY CANNOT EVER FIGURE THIS OUT or you’d prefer, I take commissions for these little jerks. :P