Holiday Gift Sewing: Gloves

V7949 gloves Let me assure you, I’ve gifted my share of rectangular scarves and unfitted pajama pants. But I wanted to stretch myself a little bit with this year’s holiday sewing, so I flipped through the pattern stash and came up with V7949. It’s a nice basic glove pattern with lots of style options, so you can make a pair for everyone on your list (or every outfit in your closet.) The first thing you may notice on opening the pattern is that the fingers are the same length and width for all the sizes. The pattern is designed for stretch fabrics, so this may work just fine for you, but it’s also pretty easy to adjust the pattern to fit. First, check the width of the pattern by wrapping a tape measure around the widest part of your palm and comparing it to the width of the main pattern piece. how to add width to the gloves To add width, determine how much you need to add and divide that number by eight. Draw a line through the center of each finger as shown in the image above, and carefully slash and spread the pattern along each line. Avoid the thumb opening so you don’t have to change the thumb piece.  As long as you make your adjustments between the fingertip dots, you shouldn’t need to change the gussets either. This might seem labor-intensive, but it should only be necessary if you need a major adjustment (adding over an inch, or subtracting more than a half inch.) The stretch fabric allows enough leeway that most people won’t need that much, and if the gloves are too big you can take up excess width in the fingers or palm by sewing a wider seam allowance. finger length measurement Next, check for length adjustments. Place your hand flat on the pattern piece, centering your thumb over the thumb hole. If you’re making the gloves for someone else, no problem – just ask them to send you a tracing of their hand and measure against that. Check that the dots sit right in the joint between each pair of fingers, and that the fingertips are about 1/4″ (6mm) beyond yours. Remember that the stretch of the fabric will accommodate minor variations. To alter the finger lengths, first use a sharp pencil to mark the joint between each pair of fingers, which may be higher or lower than the dot on the pattern. Mark the tip of each finger, and add about 1/4″ (6mm) extra for ease and seam allowance. Redraw the curve of each fingertip at the appropriate length and duplicate all the markings. (It’s helpful to make your alterations on a traced copy of the pattern, so you can place it on top of the original to get the markings in the right place.) Duplicate all your alterations for the back of the hand. The back and front finger lengths may be slightly different, but you don’t need to worry about that – just move each fingertip and dot by the amount corresponding to your first set of alterations. Once the main pattern piece has been altered you need to alter the finger gussets to match. Each of these pieces is marked with a letter that corresponds to a pair of fingers on the main piece. You’ll need to alter each side of each finger separately. gusset-measure Line the pinky of your altered pattern up with the pinky of the original piece, and measure between the dots. Cut straight across the short end of gusset F and spread or overlap it by this same distance. Next, align the ring fingers of the pieces and compare the dots on each side. Transfer the measurement for the pinky side to the long end of gusset F, and the other side to the short end of gusset E. The middle finger corresponds to the long sides of gussets E and D, and the pointer finger to the short side of gusset D. Once all your gussets are altered you should be ready to proceed. When choosing fabric for your gloves, remember that you’ll be working with very small (1/8″ or 3mm) seam allowances. You need something with a bit of stretch (check the stretch gauge on the envelope), but you’ll make your life a lot easier if you choose a stable fabric that doesn’t ravel. In addition to the fabrics listed on the envelope, ponte knits, lightweight fleece, and heavyweight jersey are good choices. I made my gloves from a recycled T-shirt for a comfy, rustic look. If you’re adding embellishment, it’s easiest to do while the gloves are still flat. Follow the pattern directions to reinforce the fingers, but don’t slash the fingers apart just yet. I skipped ahead a little and inserted the thumbs, but you can do them in either order. placing the applique embellishments For the decoration, I was inspired by damask patterns and the Alabama Chanin style of hand embellishment. I experimented with few different styles, but quickly settled on this tone-on-tone appliqué with variegated cotton thread for a little extra interest. If you choose a contrast fabric for applique, make sure that it has a similar amount of stretch to the base fabric. I drew my motifs freehand on a piece of paper, then used wax tracing paper to transfer them to the back side of my fabric and cut them out. I chose different designs for the left and right gloves, and continually assessed and revised the arrangement throughout the stitching process to achieve my desired look. Be creative and play with the design; add beads and embroidery if you’re so inclined. Just make sure to keep your embellishments out of the seam allowances. IMG_2702 Once you’re happy with the embellishment, it’s time to cut the fingers apart and sew them up. Here you can just follow the pattern directions to stitch each fingertip between the dots, sew the gusset darts, then insert the gussets. This is pretty straightforward as long as you pay attention to which gusset goes with which finger, and match up the top and bottom edges of the gusset correctly. Baste first if it helps you. The trickiest bit is right around the point of the gusset dart, so you might find it easier to sew the rest of the way around and finish the last half inch or so by hand. finger gusset basted in place Don’t be intimidated by the tiny seam allowances. Shorten your stitch – I had good luck with a 2mm length – and take your time. To prevent your fabric from being dragged down into the bobbin area, make sure you’re using a sharp, new needle of the appropriate size and type for your fabric. If you have a straight stitch plate for your machine this is a great time to use it; otherwise try stitching on top of a piece of tissue if you have problems. You may want to use a clear foot so you can see where you’re going, and a stiletto or tweezers will be useful for precisely manipulating your fabric. Instead of backtacking at the beginning and end, take a few stitches in place or leave long thread tails to tie in a knot. pickstitching on the thumb For an additional decorative touch, I hand topstitched all the seams with a pick stitch in the same variegated thread I used for the applique. This is a nice way to neaten up the insides of these unlined gloves, and it helps to refine the shape of the fingers for a more elegant look. If you find it tricky to get into the fingertips with your stitching, try inserting a chunky marker as a backstop to prevent your needle from catching the layer underneath. Just make sure the cap is secure to avoid tragedy. I followed the pattern directions to make and attach the cuffs. There’s a little piece of elastic at the inner wrist to cinch it in a bit; I didn’t want this stitching to show so I zigzagged the elastic to the seam allowance only. I found it a little tricky to stitch the inside cuff closed around the elastic section, so I stretched it around a seam roll to hold it taut while I hand stitched. And that’s it! I’m already planning my next pair. V7949 gloves V7949 gloves flat Have you ever made gloves? We’d love to see what you’ve done!

Editor’s note: Another glove pattern option is V8311. If making and giving gloves isn’t your thing this year, we’ve pinned a whole bunch of holiday DIY pattern options here. —Meg

Editor of Vogue Patterns magazine

7 comments
  1. I have made gloves. In the 1980’s and out of lycra swimsuit fabric. They also have fringe all the way up past my elbows. I have been wanting to try again and I have both of these patterns. Thank you for all the information.

    1. Wow! Those must have been quite the statement. What color?

  2. Looks ambitious! Beautiful job on your gloves.

  3. Have you heard of polydactyl? It is a medical condition that make people end up born with extra fingers. Custom gloves can become a necessity with this type of formation, so maybe a great idea to show how to add extra fingers to gloves.

    1. That’s a great point! What I’d do in that situation is slash the pattern along one of the lines that’s already marked between the fingers and spread the pattern by a finger’s width (measure the neighboring fingers to determine this). Repeat in the corresponding position on the other side of the hand, and trace one of the neighboring fingers to get the finger length and shape for both sides. Create a new gusset by tracing off the half gusset that matches that finger and doubling it. Then you’d just lengthen or shorten the finger lengths and gussets to fit using the same method described above.

  4. Great idea! Love having a ‘real’ pattern – I just never looked for one!

    I have a very hard time finding gloves that fit – always way too tight – usually ended up with mens XL and then the fingers are way too long. I have very large palms, especially at the base of the thumb.

    I have made my own gloves by analyzing a pair of mens gloves and then drafting my own pattern. Instead of doing a FBA on my bodice, I will be doing a BTJA (Big Thumb Joint Adjustment) on my palm

    Finally I can let someone else do the hard part and I can play – in new gloves!

  5. Thank you for a great explanation. I was looking online for a similar idea and really appreciate it
    3D Puff Embroidery Digitizing

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