Skill Investigation: Custom Glove Pattern Making

Made by mbeck1

An attempt to create a unique pattern and glove based on a novelly-shaped hand.

Created: October 6th, 2018



For my project I wanted to try and create a custom glove for a non-human hand. The background for this project is that hands with non-human shapes are often used for grasping applications in the world of robotics, and for soft robotics in particular these hands must usually have some form of fabric housing in order to keep their shape and control their tendon mechanisms.

Process + Product

Originally I looked at professional level techniques to creating custom patterns. I was quickly overwhelmed and moved on to an tutorial that mirrored an approach shown in class, which is to cover your object that you want the pattern for in tape and then to cut the tape all off and trace it onto your fabric. The instructables tutorial I used can be found here:

Because my hand is non-human in shape, I was unable to use a medical glove as the base for the tape. Instead I covered my hand in saran wrap as tightly as I could and then covered the entirety of it with gorilla tape.


I cut the tape out into solid strips, one for each finger and one for the base of the hand and the palm together. I treated each finger as if it was a thumb from the instructables tutorial, since no finger was enough in line with the others for me to want to construct a webbing between them.

For fabric I bought a couple yards of a tan cotton from Michael's. I traced each tape template onto paper first, adding about 3/8 of an inch of cushion for sewing. I then cut out those paper templates and traced them onto the cotton I purchased and cut out each piece of fabric.


I started by sewing each finger together. For sewing I hand-sewed all materials using a small hand-sewing kit I purchased from Target. After sewing each finger and verifying that they fit on their respective fingers I sewed the palm and hand base together. I had to cut some slits into the finished base in order to fit it over the hand model due to it having a tight fit and the hand I am using being curved toward the bottom.


Finally I sewed each finger into the palm by inverting the fabric at each finger location and sewing the material from the inside.



After finishing this project I feel reasonably confident in making a custom pattern given a 3D model and some duct tape, which is pretty awesome. I expect to use this technique in the future as I continue to pursue soft robotics applications.

There are a handful of things I would have done differently after finishing this project. I would like to think more about the slits I cut into the glove to accommodate the wrist curvature, perhaps with some forethought a zipper or something similar could be sewed into the fabric to allow the glove to fit over the hand but still remain tight along the wrist edge when zipped. I would also like to use a heavier fabric, the cotton is okay but for grasping applications something like a canvas might be more appropriate. Finally I would alter the cushioning I gave to the seams slightly, as I ignored some edges when cutting that would have been helpful in sewing together some holes that ended up being present in my final product (one such hole can be seen above toward the bottom of the rightmost finger).

Sample Book

Below are all my class exercise samples. After participating in this course I feel particularly enthused to pursue machine sewing and I am curious to explore the merger of electronics and fabrics more as with the conductive thread.

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An attempt to create a unique pattern and glove based on a novelly-shaped hand.