HAND-CRAFTED LEATHER GOODS
Making a pair of gloves–continued
Making Fur-Backed Gloves:- Fur-backed gloves are not really difficult to make although they need a little more time and trouble. Most of the fur skins you buy in the shops nowadays have their origin on the back of the humble rabbit, but there is no reason to despise them on that account. If you buy a good quality, well-cured skin it will give you really hard wear for several winters. Most of the furs can be obtained in black, grey and brown.
Beaver and squirrel are two more furs which make good gloves, and you may sometimes be able to find enough fur to make a pair of gloves from the best parts of a fur coat which has grown too shabby or old-fashioned for further wear.
The pattern for a pair of fur-backed gloves is a little different from that which you use for a leather pair owing to the fact that the back and front are of different material. The back of the glove usually has the thumb cut all in one with the trank, while the front part has half a thumb inserted in the usual way.
Lay the fur face down on a flat surface with the pattern placed on top in such a way that the fur strokes upwards over the fingers. This is very important and fur gloves must never be cut in any other way. Be particularly careful in placing the pattern on fur which has come from what is known as chinchilla rabbit. This variety usually has a speckled grey back with a white underside which shows as a white border down each side of the cured skin. If the pattern is not placed exactly in the centre of the skin you will have white showing more down one side than the other and the gloves will look odd. As rabbit skins are not very large you will need one skin for each glove, so when buying the fur get two skins that match each other as nearly as possible, especially with regard to the amount of white in the borders.
Mark round the pattern with a black or coloured pencil and cut out very carefully, using a razor blade or a sharp leather knife. Place the pattern for the front half on the wrong side of the leather and mark and cut out. Cut out the half thumb sections and the fourchettes and quirks. Cut out the linings for the tranks but not, of course, for the fourchettes.
Sew the fourchettes together in pairs. If quirks are used with double fourchettes sew these in place. Insert each fourchette in the slits in the back of the hand in the usual way, but lay the finger and fourchette together with right sides facing instead of with the wrong sides facing as you would if you were making a prick seam. Ove-sew the seams very firmly, smoothing the strands of fur away from them as you work. Make sure that the point of each fourchette fits exactly into the bottom of the proper slit. Make sure, too, that you fasten your thread on and off very firmly as these seams are not so easy to repair as those worked in stab stitch.
Lay the back lining on top of the fur inside the glove and sew the edges of the fingers only to the finger seams, leaving the outer edges of the first and fourth fingers free for the time being. Join the lining thumb to the palm lining, joining the back and front linings together by making a seam from the tip of the little finger to the wrist edge on one side, and from the tip of the first finger all round the thumb and to the wrist edge on the other side. This leaves the front fingers loose and these must be left as they are until the leather front has been joined to the fur back. Lay the two sections together right sides inside and over-sew exactly the same seams as those made in the lining, again leaving the fingers open. Turn the glove right side out and sew the lining fingers to the leather fingers, just inside the cut edge.
Now finish off the glove in the usual way by making a prick seam all round the fingers, starting at the top of the first finger and ending at the tip of the little finger. Make sure again that the point of each fourchette, or the centre point of each quirk fits right into the bottom of the appropriate slit.
Should your glove need a strip of elastic in the wrist, put this in now, turning the lining back out of the way while you do it. The wrist edge can be finished by simply turning up the leather or fur on to the lining and hemming or herringboning down. A row of stab stitch or machine stitch, along the edge of the leather part only, makes a good finish. An alternate method is to bind the edge of the glove with a narrow strip of leather.
Joining Fur:- Fur can be joined quite easily in exactly the same way as sheepskin. Wherever possible, joins should be placed where there is the least pull on the glove. Remember that the fur must all lie in one direction so that the hairs in one piece will mingle with those on the other and hide the join. For this reason joins can be made in any direction and the back of the skin can look like a jigsaw puzzle without any of the seams showing on the right side. You must, of course, be careful to see that the colour matches too. Over-sew all joins with fine thread and a fine needle and then flatten them out with the thumb.
Fur-Trimmed Gloves:- If you have any pieces of fur which are not large enough to make a whole pair of fur-backed gloves, you can add a note of luxury to your more ordinary leather gloves by giving them a fur trimming. This can consist of a fur gauntlet extending all round the glove below the wrist. This trimming is particularly effective when carried out with smooth furs such as ocelot, leopard, Persian or Indian lamb or astrakhan. Real skins of this type are expensive, so that a little has to go a long way. This is a good way of using up odd bits of fur left over when a fur coat has been re-modelled.
White fur, while hardly suitable for gloves, except for those worn by quite tiny children, makes delightfully warm linings. Gloves lined throughout with fur are apt to be a little clumsy to wear, though many men prefer them to gloves with fur outside. Very soft fine fur with a short pile should be used and should be treated exactly as you would treat ordinary woollen linings. When cutting out such gloves be very careful to see that the outer covering is large enough to allow for the fur lining, or the gloves will be too tight.
Gloves which have the gauntlets only lined with fur are less bulky and are very comfortable to wear since the warmth is felt just where the cold wind is apt to be felt. As there is little pull on this part of the glove, quite small pieces can be joined to make the gauntlet lining. The best way to do this is to join up the pieces till you have a piece which is roughly the size and shape you need. Cut out the fur, using the lower part of your glove pattern. Cut out the lining, making it as much shorter than the glove pattern as the depth of the fur gauntlet. Join the fur and the lining together and make up the glove in the usual way. An attractive way of finishing off the wrist edge is to make the lining about 1” deeper than the actual glove. Turn the lining over on to the right side of the glove, thus reversing the usual procedure, and hem down neatly. Notice that the fur part of the lining must stroke downwards towards the wrist, so that when it is turned up the hairs will stroke upwards over your stitches.
Fur-lined mittens:- Short-haired fur that is worn and faded is still good for lining mittens. The outside of the mittens can be cut from wool cloth, from a worn-out coat or trousers. Fur linings use up hand space, so the cloth part must be cut larger than it would be ordinarily.
Mittens and linings are seamed — the cloth part by machine with decorative hand over-casting, the fur by over-handing. With linings in place, wrist edges can be turned in and slip-stitched together. Fur cuffs can be made by turning back the edges.
Felt and knitted mittens:- An old felt hat and a pair of wool bobby socks, worn in toes and heels, can be made into a pair of warm mittens for school. Use the hat for backs of the mittens. Cut palms from the sock tops so the ribbed cuffs will serve as wristlets. Thumbs may be either felt or knit. Machine-stitch along the edge of knit parts to keep them from un-ravelling.
For novelty, trim edges of the felt mitten backs with pinking shears. Turn under and sew the knit palms to the felt backs with hemming stitches; then join the two with decorative wool over-handing.
To make the wrist fit closely, run a drawstring through the knit ribbing. Make drawstrings by twisting or crocheting wool yarn. Felt, clipped and rolled, makes neat tassels for the ends.
Suede Gloves:- Suede is almost the most attractive leather you can use, especially for making gloves of the more formal type.
Elbow length gloves naturally require more leather than shorter ones, and in the case of suede you cannot economize by turning the pattern for the second glove upside down. Make sure, therefore, that the skin you buy is long enough to take the trank of each glove with the fingers on each pointing upwards.
As has already been pointed out, suede has a definite pile, and if the various sections of the glove are not all placed on the skin in the same direction some parts of the finished glove will appear lighter than others. Stroke the surface of the skin up and down and notice which way makes the suede appear darker. Place the pattern on the skin in such a way that the surface looks darker when you stroke it towards the wrist.
Before marking out your skin measure the arm at its widest point and decide whether your glove will be wide enough. If the pattern is a little too narrow add the extra width required when you are marking out the pattern. Cut out the suede carefully. Quirks can be included if liked, but as suede stretches rather more than most leathers they are not strictly necessary.
Cut a slit 3” long in the centre of the front part of each trank, making it 1½” above and below the actual place where the wrist joins the hand. Sew in the thumbs and fourchettes in the usual way, using very fine thread and a fairly fine needle. Make the seams as narrow as possible without sewing them so near to the edge that there is a danger of the suede pulling away, and keep the stitches very small and even. Work the points on the back of each trank, using simple stab stitched or machine stitched tucks.
Cut a narrow strip of suede and bind the slit in the front of the glove. If you are a very neat worker you may like to make small buttonholes in the way described previously, but this is a very fussy little job and must be done very neatly if it is to be a success. Make the buttonholes first, bind the edge, sewing the binding down over the buttonhole strips, but not, of course, over the holes.
An easier method is to work small buttonhole loops. The number depends on the size of the buttons you intend to use, but as these should be very small and dainty you will probably find that you will need at least five loops. Join the thread to the back of the binding, then take three stitches about one-quarter inch long as shown in Fig 26(A). Work over these stitches in close buttonhole stitch to make a loop, Fig 26(B). Slip the needle through the binding and bring it out a little further on to start the next loop. Notice that the loops or buttonholes should be worked on the side of the slit nearest to the thumb.
Fold the glove in half and sew all round the fingers and down the side in the usual way; sew on small fancy or pearl buttons to correspond with the loops or buttonholes, taking the stitches through the binding and not through the single thickness of the suede so that they will not pull a hole in the material.
The edges of this type of glove are usually left un-hemmed as the gloves are often worn pulled down and wrinkled over the forearm. Another way of opening the glove to allow it to be pulled on easily is to insert a zip right down the back. Lightweight plastic zips are available in various colours can be decorative as well as useful. Slit the glove for the length required, turn in the edges and top stitch either by hand or by machine over the zip tape. Be sure to leave sufficient space between the suede edges to allow the zip key to move up and down easily. The ends of the zips should be finished off neatly as shown in Fig 27. A small tassel is made from the suede or from matching embroidery silk should be slipped through the zip key.
Felt Gloves:- Felt is an extremely useful material for making gloves since it can be sewn without having to be neatened. It differs from leather in several ways and as you would expect needs slightly different treatment on that account. Felt is a woollen material but it is made, not by being woven on a loom, but by being very closely compressed. It can be thin and rather poor in quality or can be really thick and solid. The texture may be coarse or fine, depending upon the quality of the wool from which it is made. It can be obtained in all kinds of fascinating colours, some deep and vivid, others as delicate as the petals of a flower.
When choosing felt for glove making look for a firm, close material with a very fine texture. It must not be too thick or the gloves you make will be clumsy, but it must be firm enough to prevent the material from pulling away from the stitches. Felt can be bought by the yard, when it is usually about 36” wide, or it can be obtained in pieces ranging from about 4” to 18” square. The size of these pieces varies very much as many shopkeepers cut them up according to their own ideas of what their customers will want. The fact that such small pieces can be bought often means a considerable saving as you need only buy just as much as you require. All the small scraps left over should be saved as they can be used very successfully for making appliqué trimmings and so on.
Gloves with a thumb only and no fingers can be made very successfully from felt and when embroidered in gay colours are very popular with winter sports enthusiasts. They usually have the thumb cut in one with trank, and the pattern can be made very simply by laying the hand flat on the table and drawing round it. Cut out the felt, allowing a good margin all round. The one seam, which goes all round the thumb and the top of the hand, can be machine stitched, stab stitched or joined with a row of ove-rsewn buttonhole stitch. Any embroidery should be worked before this seam is made. The glove may be pressed with a hot iron when it is finished, but avoid using a damp cloth as this may shrink the felt. Felt used for this type of glove may be considerably thicker than that used for gloves which have fingers.
The use of felt for glove making considerably increases the range of colours available. Two colours can be combined to good effect. A pair of black felt gloves can be enlivened by fourchettes and bindings in pastel shades of blue, pink or green, or made vivid with the help of a splash of scarlet, royal blue or emerald green. If you wish to use a contrasting shade you need buy only just as much as you need.
Felt can be embroidered with wool or silk and any decoration of this kind should be done before the glove is made up. Any ordinary transfer design can be used and you stamp it on the felt with a hot iron in the usual way. Use a yellow transfer for dark shades and a blue for light ones. Should you wish to draw your own design you will find that an ordinary pencil or crayon such as you use for marking out patterns on leather will be quite satisfactory.
When making up felt gloves mark and cut the pattern just as you would if you were using leather. It is possible to pin a paper pattern to the surface of the felt and cut out the glove in this way, but the first method is generally found to be more satisfactory as it is possible to keep the felt flatter. As the felt is not woven there is no need to lay the pattern on it in any particular direction, so that you can move your pattern about and cut out the gloves with the minimum of waste.
Sew all the seams on the right side, using stab stitch just as you do when working with leather. Another method is to use double over-sewing to form a row of crosses along each seam. Use a slightly thicker thread for this. If preferred, the stitching can be worked in thread of a contrasting colour provided that the stitches are kept perfectly even. The depth of the stitches must be uniform all along the seam. Remember that the needle must go through the felt at right angles each time.
Wrist edges may be finished off in any of the ways described previously. It is not advisable to use buttons and buttonholes or press studs as a fastening as these have a tendency to pull out when the glove is worn. If you must use buttons and buttonholes for any reason sew a strip of matching tape below the buttons and work the holes with buttonhole twist.
Felt gloves are not usually lined nor is it advisable to use felt for linings for leather gloves. It is possible to make seams in felt gloves by machine, but unless your machine is extremely easy to manipulate and you are a very experienced worker you will find it easier and quicker to do the work by hand.
Working Gloves:- There are several kinds of gloves which are made for some special purpose and if you can make ordinary gloves there is no reason why you should not make such working gloves, too. Most of them do not demand any great degree of skill in the making, and since a fault may pass unnoticed or, at least, not matter much, they make very good practice for the beginner.
Many women like to wear gloves while doing their chores, but it is not always a good plan to make use of ordinary gloves that have been discarded. These gloves are usually wearing out anyway and the extra strain they are put to when their wearers are cleaning grates and sweeping floors generally finishes them off entirely. It is better to make a special pair and if they are washable so much the better.
Ordinary material is not particularly suitable though it can be used if it is very closely woven. Looser weaves allow dirt and dust to seep through. Cheap quality chamois or "wash leather," as it is usually called, answers the purpose admirably. You can sometimes buy bundles of this fairly cheaply, and even if you have to have a few joins you will find that gloves made from it will give you a surprising amount of wear.
Use an ordinary glove pattern in a slightly larger size than you usually wear. Make it with fourchettes but no quirks. The gloves should be long enough to cover the wrist and should fit fairly closely so that dust and dirt cannot get in easily. Take care to make the seams really strong as such gloves get far harder wear than ordinary ones.
Gardening Gloves:- Many people who are keen gardeners dislike getting their hands stained and scratched and prefer to wear gloves of some kind. For such jobs as pruning rose trees and digging, gloves are essential, and if they can be made at home so much the better for your purse. For really heavy work, fingerless gloves with a thumb can be worn. Some gardeners, however, find that mittens do not give them enough freedom of movement and they might like the sort of gloves shown in Fig 28. These have a thumb and a first finger, the other three fingers not being separate. To make them, use an ordinary larger size pattern but omit the two outer slits on each side. You will need only one pair of fourchettes for each glove and these should be inserted in the usual way up the side of the first finger and the section which will cover the other three fingers.
You will need very strong, tough leather although it must be fairly flexible. Sew it with string thread and a thick gloving needle. If you feel you would like to stitch it by machine make sure that your machine will sew really thick stuff and use a fairly large needle. Another method is to pierce holes with a sharp nail and then sew through these. When sewing these gloves by hand make the seams on the right side using stab stitch.