Thursday, February 17, 2011

Gloves: cutting out, seams, and putting in the thumbs

Cutting out:
It's probably not necessary for me to go into a lot of detail here about how to cut out pattern pieces, it is pretty straightforward and the same as any other dressmaking pattern, but with a few little reminders...  
I think a very important thing to remember when cutting out glove pattern pieces is that you will be sewing 3mm seams.  These are tiny little seam allowances here... so if you are like me, and as a time saving exercise mark your marking points with a little snip into the seam allowance then you will have to re-think this one.  I went back to the old ways that my mother taught me, and earmarked those little triangles by snipping them out... so they are little points sticking outside the seam allowance like a tiny shark fin on a smooth sea.  I was pretty pleased with myself for remembering to do this... and didn't just steamroller in and snip them in like normal!

Also, remember those wince-y little gusset pieces? well I just knew they would get all mixed up as the differences between the three pieces are extremely subtle, so I left cutting them out until I was actually using that particular gusset piece right there and then.  When working with teensy little fiddly pieces I find this approach to be far less stressful.
So leave them be, for the time being...

The first step is to stay stitch down around the bottom of the finger bits, and I was lazy here and just used the thread that was already on the needle which happened to be black.  Plus I wanted it to stand out for the photo here, so we could see it... but later on I heartily wished I had used matching thread.  The black does show through a tiny bit.  I regret this.  Important tip; despite that you are treating this as a muslin, if, like me, you entertain a tiny hope that these gloves will be wonderful enough to live permanently in your wardrobe...  treat them with the same respect you would if using your final fashion fabric; use matching thread!
The next step is to cut down each finger "valley"
And next, (on my particular glove choice) I topstitched in place those three short slanted rows across the back of each hand.  Yes, I remembered to use matching thread here.  I just love this type of stitching that is mimicking the delicate tendons on the backs of one's hands, I think it is a charming feature that looks prettily old fashioned and sweet.

The seam allowance on my pattern is given as 3mm.  I decided to be super accurate and use my fading pen (still got it from my quilting days) and draw in the seam allowance for me to sew over.  Two reasons for this: a 3mm seam allowance is too tiny to be even marked on my old machine; also a 3mm seam is not one I ever use so I am unfamiliar with it and didn't trust my eye to gauge it.
The fabric I am using is a type that my machine doesn't particularly like and traditionally likes to chew up, particularly when I am asking it to start sewing a tiny little seam from the edge of the fabric... so I sewed most of the seams starting in the middle and ending up on the edge of the fabric.  This approach works well and I don't run the risk of a chewed up edge.  My machine doesn't have the same problem with the end edge of a seam...  (note to self; should have used matching thread... but at least you can see what I'm talking about here)

The thumb:
So, once I had finished sewing the thumb seam I turned it right side out for a quick visual check.. and see how it has a rather horrible pimply little bump sticking out at the folded corner on the right?
Went back and resewed the end to be more tapered and dart-like for a smoother non-bumpy finish on the outside...
Much better, yes?
I'm all thumbs...
Next step: I inserted those thumb pieces in to the corresponding thumb hole in the main glove pieces, matching up the tiny shark fins.  I pinned and basted this bit quite carefully as I was anticipating it to be quite tricky, but it turned out to be surprisingly straightforward and not even particularly fiddly.  

And I'm not sure I would even bother basting this bit next time.  Apart from the problem with not using matching thread (grrrr... cross with myself) on the outside I can see some of the basting stitches interfering with and marring the perfectly even stitches of the machine stitched seam  (see below).  It's not super obvious, but these tiny imperfections bother me a bit

A fitting aspect of this thumb that concerns me a trifle is that it extends out much further into the main glove area than I anticipated.  Perhaps next time I will make the thumb hole a bit smaller, and the thumb piece a tiny bit shorter...?
What do you think?  Do you think the seam should be closer to the base of the thumb?

Tomorrow; fingers!


  1. I was just thinking how nice the thumb seam looked in the final photo, but I guess it's a matter of personal taste.

  2. Lots of really good insight here! I cut out the pattern yesterday and did finger alterations. They were ridiculously long!

    The design differences in the "Threads" version include hand-sewing with the seams on the outside of the glove. I think I'll flip 'em so they're on the inside. Yours look so much nicer! I'll also try machine sewing and see if my machine eats the fabric. (crossing fingers and toes that she doesn't!)

    Gorgeous start! And try not to kick yourself too hard about the non-matchy thread. It's now a "design decision"! LOL

  3. Oh, I like your venture. I would like to try gloves sometime. But, I have too much other stuff on the table now....and pretty much snowed in so I can't get down the slope to look for material I would like for gloves. Sometime soon, tho.

    I thought it was only my mother that snipped out. It is a great way for me and my poor eyesight.

  4. Fascinating process. And such tiny seams.

  5. I have a Vogue gloves pattern, and have the leather, but never worked up the nerve this winter to make them. So I'm really loving this series - you're giving me strength to perhaps try these on my own some day!