DIY: Embroidered arm warmers

These cashmere arm warmers are one of three projects I created out of a thrifted sweater. When I found this light grey knit treasure, I noticed it was super soft and beautiful but far too small for me. However, it was the perfect candidate for a DIY I had been planning so I bought it right up at that 50% sale (we usually go thrifting only on sale days). Since it was the heat of summer (honestly the perfect time to buy wool goods if you can bear touching them), I washed my new purchase and hid it away in my crafting bag until the temperatures became colder.

This cashmere sweater is small and has a single uniform colour with some minor cabling. However, this project would work for any sort of beautiful angora, wool, or alpaca piece you find while thrifting. The options are endless. I loved the results of this project so much that I intend to make another in black once I find the right candidate.

If you are using a thrifted sweater, hand wash it first with a lanolin-based cleanser such as Eucalan, which does not require rinsing. I use this gentle wash on all my wooly items and love it. Another great no-rinse cleanser you could use is called Soak, but I usually use that on my other delicates such as silks and undergarments because it does not have lanolin.

Apart from the arm warmers, I also created two other projects, which will appear soon here on Kiku Corner: a neck warmer with felted details and a cozy cowl.

Embroidered Arm Warmers

Supplies

  • Cashmere sweater
  • Thread in matching colour to sweater
  • Metallic thread in contrasting colour

Tools

  • Embroidery needle
  • Sewing machine
  • Pinking shears

Directions

  1. Lay sweater on large flat surface. Using pinking shears, cut across arms near shoulder. Save remaining piece for other upcoming projects.
  2. The arms should be very snug. If they are not, use sewing machine to sew a seam to tighten arms. Afterwards, sew a 1cm zigzag seam on freshly cut end of sleeves to secure the raw edge. Try not to stretch fabric while sewing, which will warp the top ends of the warmers.
  3. Thread needle with metallic thread and make approximately ten five-point stars on wrist area of warmer. The stars should be randomly spaced and about the same size, but they do not need to be perfect. We are going for a whimsical appearance. If your thread is very fine, like mine was, go over the stars with stitches one more time to make them more pronounced. Repeat on other arm warmer.

Tomiko's Signature, Kiku Corner

9 comments

  1. Julie says:

    This is such a lovely project. I had a jumper with very tight sleeves a while ago. I took the sleeves off and turned the body into more of a tank top (I think you call them sweater vests) I never even thought to keep the tight sleeves for arm warmers – next time! thanks so much for this great inspiration.

  2. JaneEllen says:

    Great inspiration and idea, arm warmers would be so nice in cold winter here in western CO. Has been more like Spring this year. I miss being able to wear my nice cozy boots, sweaters, scarves. Had a little cold stuff around holidays but that’s it for this winter, so far. Just never know what we’ll get. We are on west side of Rockies so our winters are somewhat milder most of time.
    Love how your arm warmers look. My arms get so cold compared to rest of me so would be nice to wear over pj arms.
    Have wonderful Sunday

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