Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Making a Pair of Elvish Gloves for ConVolution

For ConVolution, I want to have a series of outfits that I can wear throughout the weekend. One is a "generic" elvish outfit. Some time ago, at an outdoor festival, I had seen someone selling very beautiful leather gloves that were Elvish in nature. However, their asking price was a helluva more than I had wanted to spend (a hundred or so dollars).

Consequently, I opted to make my own, as I thought to make more than one pair. I made some preliminary sketches of what I wanted -- based on what I liked and didn't like at the ones I saw from the festival. Their version was nice, but it had very stiff seams that cut across the palm of the hand, which I didn't like. They also used a very stiff leather, and I felt that a garment weight would work much better for gloves.

I wanted to build one or more outfits that would work with these gloves, but first, I had to make the gloves.

In order to start this project, I traced out my hand on some graph paper, and started sketching out the makings of a pattern for both the front and back of the hand based on my drawings. I wanted it to end about the second knuckle of my fingers.

I added a generous seam allowance on all edges (so I could play with ease & fit), and I also drew in my design marks.

I made one mockup of the full glove without any design features just so I could get a visceral feel of the finished glove. This first mockup wasn't quite what I wanted, but was in the ball-park. I took those changes and marked them onto my master pattern. I played around with how it would be constructed.

In fact, I made three separate mockups in muslin; in three separate ways to see which one would get a better fit & look.  I had an "A-HA" moment after making the first one that resulted in an "easier" construction to get the look I wanted. Consequently, I used differing construction techniques to see what would work best for the final product.
  •  #2 has seams that go up both left & right sides 
  • #3 has a "fold" on the left side and seams on the right.

I also tried some design features on the back of the glove mockups to see if I liked how it looked and felt.

I finally decided to go with #2 with some minor alterations. Because muslin is a fabric that won't necessarily "stretch" like leather, the mockups I made were slightly a bit too snug on my hands.

We had some lovely green suede lying around so I started making the final version. I used purple stitching as an offset to the green. (I decided not to add any design features on the back of the hand; opting rather for straight forward functionality.)

There's still some work that I'd like to do, such as getting silvery leather paint and painting stylistic leaves or something appropriately Elvish or Tolkein on each section, but I'll wait for a bit until I can finalize my other designs.

I am finding that I do like the design process, and find it pretty fulfilling to bring something from concept design to pattern to completed piece. There are times when it is a pain to make these ideas come to life (in terms of "how the heck do I construct this?!?", but very satisfying when you finally get it right. I find it "easier" to accomplish this effort sewing-wise versus knitting.