You know the saying “it fits like a glove”? I’ve never had gloves that I would apply that to. I’d be willing to bet that you haven’t, either. I wanted to fix that, because I really like gloves, particularly unexpected and loud gloves.
Years ago, I decided to make a corset for myself. I couldn’t find any information on it. I spent months researching, and finally tracked down a couple of suppliers where I could get metal boning, and a pattern, but the internet failed me when it came to troubleshooting, or fitting, or even pictures of other people’s work. Now, though, there’s information all over the place. It’s fairly easy to find directions for drafting your own pattern, and information about what corset goes with what period, etc.
Gloves seem to be in that first phase. I have found a very small amount of information about making gloves, and most of it is… bad. The best I’ve found is what appears to be a transcription of directions to draft your own gloves from someone’s aunt, and the diagram that goes with it appears to have the thumb backwards. It is… frustrating. Also, because I’m working with leather, it’s terrifying in a whole different way; I’ve never worked with leather before, and leather is EXPENSIVE. And unforgiving. Once you sew it, there’s no going back and ripping things out; you’ve got permanent holes.
So, here’s what I’ve learned so far:
Tracing your hand doesn’t work. It seems like it kind of might, but it doesn’t. Your hand and fingers are a lot deeper than you think.
Fourchettes (the bit of glove on the sides of your fingers) can be either cut per finger and sewn together at the base, or cut as one piece. Cut them as one piece, that is not a place you want a seam, and sewing the tiny bits together is a pain in the ass.
The thumb is both the most complicated bit, and the most important. If your thumb hole and thumb piece are wrong, the whole glove will sit wrong.
If you’re going to sew leather, use the right tools. Get a walking foot, and leather needles, and some scrap leather to check your tension on. Also, make sure you’re using the right leather for the job; upholstery weight leather does not make good clothes, and there is special leather to make gloves from (it’s more stretchy than the regular kind, apparently).
If you’re going to sew gloves, make sure you have good lighting, and an awl. The awl is not to punch holes. It’s to help you control teeeeeeeny tiny pieces of glove while you’re sewing without risking sewing over your fingers. Seriously. The pieces are LITTLE. And the spaces you’re working in are tight.
There are a lot of teeny corners in a glove. Practice sewing your square seams.
Practically speaking, I might have done better to just buy a glove pattern, but I’m me, and I’m sure I can manage to draft my own, damnit. I mean, really, how hard can it be!? Well, if round one was any indication, pretty hard. The first pattern was so tiny it would barely go over my hand, and the fingers were not even a little bit going to work. The thumb piece did actually work, though the thumb hole on the gloves was facing the wrong way and slightly too small. The fourchettes were irritating, but I expected that. Thank god the seams are mostly straight; sewing in such tight spaces on curvy or odd seams would be hellish.
You don’t get a picture of round one of the pattern, because I did manage to get the glove on my hand, and then I couldn’t get it off and had to cut it free. I’m saving the bits to use as decoration on later attempts, though, because I’m using some rather lovely green leather who’s only crime was being the cheapest and largest skin I could find.
Round two will go better, I hope.