HAND-CRAFTED LEATHER GOODS
Making a pair of gloves–continued
Making a Pair of Chamois Gloves
Choosing the Skin:-The making of a pair of unlined chamois gloves is quite simple even if you have never made any gloves before. As the material is soft and pliable it is an excellent leather on which the beginner can experiment. Buy as good a quality of leather as you can afford. Do not be tempted to buy cheap leather in case you spoil it. The chances are that this is just what you will do, simply because poor chamois is more difficult to use than a better quality. You will inevitably be disappointed with the result of your work and probably decide that glove making is a waste of time which, of course, it is, if you are satisfied to work with poor quality material.
When you buy the skin hold it up to the light and note if there are thin places or flaws in it. If these are near the middle choose another skin. Feel, too, if there are any hard bits in it. If these are near the edge they will not matter, but a thick spot near the centre can be a nuisance.
Having chosen your leather decide how you are going to stitch it. Black, brown, or navy buttonhole twist is decorative, and being in a contrasting colour is a great help in showing you if your seams are done properly. The stitch must be done very evenly, so if you are in any doubt as to your ability to make the stitches perfectly regular choose a matching gloving thread. You will not need a special gloving needle for chamois, but can use an ordinary sewing needle with an eye large enough to take whatever thread you decide to use.
Marking and Cutting Out:- This is almost the most important operation in glove making and it is imperative that you do it properly. No amount of "finagling" afterwards will put right a seam that is even slightly askew. Stretch the leather well in all directions. Some chamois leather is supplied to the shops, already stretched, and if this has been done you need not stretch it further, except to find out which way is more elastic. Most good leathers stretch more across the width than they do lengthways, and when placing your pattern on the leather you must make sure that the "stretch" will go round the hand and not up and down.
Pin the leather, well-stretched, face down on a drawing board or other perfectly smooth surface. The top of the kitchen table will do quite well if you have no objection to sticking thumbtacks in it. Lay the pattern on the leather and go round each section very carefully, using a soft well-sharpened pencil. Hold the pattern very firmly so that it cannot slip, since it is very easy to make an error which you will not be able to put right once the glove has been cut out. Draw round the top of each finger, then, bend back each section so that you can draw the lines for the slits between them.
Turn the patterns for the trank and thumb over for the second glove and be careful to draw the hole for the thumb very accurately. When using chamois you may find it more economical to turn the pattern upside down for the second glove. If you wish to do this it is a good idea to cut out the first trank and lay it beside the pattern while you draw the second one. In this way you can make quite sure that you will not find yourself with two gloves for the same hand.
As chamois is so pliable and stretches in wear, even when it has been well-stretched beforehand, it is not usual to include quirks. You will, therefore, find that most chamois patterns use single fourchettes. Draw round the fourchette pattern six times for the first glove, then turn it over and draw round it another six times. The thumb and fourchettes must be placed on the leather in the same directions as the main part.
You will probably find your pencil point wearing down as you work, so keep a penknife handy. Absolute accuracy is essential as otherwise the various parts of the glove will not fit, and even the thickness of a pencil can make a difference.
Having marked out all the pieces, remove the thumbtacks and cut out each piece very carefully, following the pencil line.
Make long smooth cuts wherever possible, for it is very difficult to trim off jagged edges once the leather has been cut.
Making Up:- The one drawback to making up chamois leather, which does not affect other types, is that if it is of good quality it is sometimes difficult to tell the right side from the wrong. For this reason always make a practice of inserting both thumbs first. Once you have made sure that you have a glove for each hand you can finish one glove outright.
The insertion of the thumb often proves to be difficult for the beginner, but if you study the pattern or the diagrams given, you should find it quite simple. Remember that the lowest point of the projecting piece on the trank always goes to the top of the slit on the thumb. Lay the wrong sides of the thumb and trank together so that the point marked A on the trank is on top of the point marked A on the thumb and the two edges marked AB are together. The two edges must be exactly the same size. Stab stitch the seam, starting at A and going on to B. Continue the seam along the lines marked BC till you come to C. Place the edge of the hole and the curved edge of the thumb together and continue the seam until you are halfway round the hole. Now fold the thumb in half and stab stitch the two edges together, starting at the top and going down the side of the thumb. Continue round the hole till you reach the place where you left off. Fasten off both ends firmly on the wrong side.
You may find that the thumb is a little too large for your hole in spite of all your care in marking and cutting out. Do not try to gather or ease the thumb to make it fit, but stretch the edge of the hole very gently so that the seam lies perfectly flat. This usually has the effect of making the thumb fit perfectly, but if it should not you may cut off the merest shaving of leather, either round the edge of the hole or round the bottom of the curved edge of the thumb. If the opposite happens and you find that your thumb is too small, stretch the edge of the thumb, Fig 22.
The next process is to put in the points. Tucks are the most usual method for chamois gloves as the thonged decorations mentioned earlier are more suitable for thicker and stiffer leathers. You will probably find that the position of the points is indicated on your pattern either by lines or a series of dots or holes. If it is not, simply fold the back of the glove in half, in line with the centre slit, and make a tuck ⅛" deep, starting ¼" from the slit and extending for about 3" down the back of the glove. Open out the trank and re-fold in line with the slit nearest the thumb. Slope the tuck in a little towards the bottom of the centre tuck and make it the same length, starting ¼" below the first tuck and continuing ¼" beyond the end of it. Make a third tuck to match on the other side of the first. The tucks may be machine stitched instead of worked in stab stitch or they can be worked in crossed over-sewing.
The next step is to sew the fourchettes together in pairs, over-sewing them on the wrong side along the short edge. Watch carefully to see that you have three pairs for each hand. Now take the first pair and place the end of the seam you have just made to the bottom of the slit between the first two fingers on the back of the hand so that the longest side of the right-hand fourchette lies along the inner edge of the first finger, Fig 23. Stab stitch the finger and fourchette together until you reach a point about halfway up. Then measure the fourchette. As the fourchettes are all cut the same length it is obvious that some of them will be too long. Trim the fourchette you are sewing so that the top is the same shape as before. The pointed tip should reach to a point about ³/16" below the centre of the curved top of the finger. Continue to the very top of the fourchette and fasten off very firmly. Some people like to take point of the fourchette to the very tip of the finger, but it is possible to make a much neater finish if they do not quite meet. Go back to the bottom of the fourchette and sew the back of the second one of the pair to the edge of the second finger, trimming it off to fit as before. Sew the next pair between the second and third fingers and the last pair between the third and fourth fingers.
Now take a thread long enough to go all round the fingers as far as the wrist edge and stab stitch the front sections of the fingers to the free edges of the fourchettes. Make sure that the end of the seam in the fourchettes fits exactly into the bottom of the proper slit. When you reach the tip of the little finger merely sew edges down the side of the glove until you reach the wrist edge.
If the glove fits at all loosely sew a piece of elastic to the wrist. Finish off the wrist edge in one of the ways described above. When the gloves are finished, press them as flat as possible by tucking in the fourchettes till each one is hidden by the back and front of the fingers. Press for at least twenty-four hours under a heavy weight. A pile of books will do provided the gloves are completely covered. This treatment will give a professional finish to your work except of course such gloves as can be pressed in the usual way with a hot iron.