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Tribal lace cuffs, tutorial
(do it yourself)

You all know them, those short Tribal cuffs, which fit so nicely to a Gothic or vintage dance outfit.

Here’s a simple instruction for sewing these half gloves without a big effort:

You can also use cut goods of lace or any other stretchy material, like stretch velvet. In this case you should seam the rims above and below. Or you “zigzag” the edges with a narrow stitch.


First you cut the lace into two equal pieces, every one about 30 cm long.

Fold the piece of paper widthwise, that it becomes half of its original size.

Now place the lace (or the fabric) on the folded paper as shown on the photo, to mark the length of the cuffs. Cut the paper off along the mark.

Put one hand on the paper (keep in mind that you need the other hand for the pencil), right the way you want to fit your cuffs. Some prefer the hand  fully covered with lace, others like the alternative, which only covers half the back of the hand. When you’ve found your favourite position, take care that your forearm, wrist and the edge of hand are in line. Splay out your thumb nearly a right angle.

Now outline the shape of your hand. Take care that you don’t hold the pencil diagonal while drawing.

To make the cuffs fit right, you have to add 2,5 cm to the forearm/wrist seam, and for the palm and the thumb ca. 1 cm (that’s already including a very small seam allowance). Moderate the sharp edges around the thumb, as seen on the picture (red dash lines).

Now you cut out your paper measurement. Therefore pin this pattern on the folded lace and transfer the cutting edges with a pencil or tailor’s chalk. Then cut it out without any seam allowance (a small one is included). Repeat this one more time for the second cuff (there’s no need to work it mirror inverted, only if you have a special pattern to show up on your hands back).

Pin the cutout pieces inside out together, rope-stitch them if necessary, and close the seams while leaving a very short distance to the edges.

The fabric around the hole for the thumb will be rolled up a little and sewn by hand. Last but not least you can de-baste the inner seam allowance, if necessary.

A hint for sewing thin laces and fabrics with the machine: Put a piece of sandwich paper or something similar under the seam and sew it together with the lace or fabric. After that you can carefully remove the thin paper.
Voilà, c'est tout

Have fun trying it!

For a pair of cuffs you need:

Ca. 60 cm of elastic lace, width about 14 cm minimum. The lace should have a nice pattern at the rims.

A sheet of paper, a pencil

A pair of scissors, pins, thread, measure tape

Needle or sewing machine