You may have noticed that we like to talk about gloves. From leather gloves to silk gloves, we have been in the business of gloves for over 70 years... and we’re a little bit obsessed. But, we must admit, gloves are a mystery to some. When you think about a dress, or a beautiful silk scarf, it seems easy to understand how they’re put together. When you think about a glove, however, many would wonder how these wondrous accessories come into being. How are they cut? How are they sized?Who puts them together? Well, we thought we’d share a few of our secrets with you. We’re not expecting you to go off and make your own (in fact we’re hoping you don’t), but we think it’s nice to know the love and craftsmanship that goes into those beautiful babies sitting on your hands…
How to make a Desdemona glove
Our Desdemona glove is an elbow length, pure silk glove with a traditional 'mousquetaire' opening on the inside of the wrist. It comes in ivory and black and are perfect for any elegant occasion.
First step is to lay the fabric out on a cutting bench with stretch going width ways (across the hand).
Soft, light and fluid, Desdemona is made of pure silk jersey which allows for the perfect amount of stretch and flexibility.
- Next, we cut off the required length of silk jersey with a pair of tailoring shears.
- The material is then placed under a die, (a hand shaped knife). The particular die used for Desdemona has a 4 inch mousquetaire blade attached.
- Our mousquetaire blade makes the opening - known as a ‘mousequetaire’ - in the wrist of our Desdemona glove. Mousquetaire gloves have buttons at the wrist so the wearer can slip their hand in and out of the glove easily, whilst leaving the sleeve of the glove on the arm. This is originally how ladies wore evening gloves while dining but it is also perfect for bridal gloves.
- Gloves are sized according to the circumference of your hand and range from 6 and a half to 8 inches. We use different dies according to the size ordered and so we have more than one hand shaped knife floating around the place.
- Next it's time to pull down the lever of the glove press in order to cut the body of the glove with the die. At Cornelia James, we use a cast iron, hand operated glove press that was made by WH Hallett & Son. This is an awesome piece of equipment, weighing in at almost half a ton and, after almost a 100 years constant use, still in perfect working order. The press comes from Yeovil, which used to be the heart of English glovemaking. In fact, their glove making industry is documented right back to 1349 when the Bishop of Bath was apparently assaulted in Yeovil by a group of glovers (we’re a lot nicer over at Cornelia James, we promise.)
- After the body of the glove is cut, more fabric is then placed under two different and smaller dies. These are for the thumbs and the fourchettes, (the fourchettes are the material that forms the gusset between the fingers).
- Next, the cut glove is placed under the button holer. Our button holer is a Pfaff machine (very temperamental) which is part of the Singer group. Our machinist then inserts 3 button holes into the inside wrist of the Desdemona glove.
- The top of the glove is then hemmed. While Desdemona fabric may be flexible, it is also delicate and so this step is usually done by hand.
- The thumb is then set in and the fourchettes are attached before the glove is closed.
- Then there is the addition of 3 pure silk buttons to match the fabric. These are sewn into the mousquetaire of the glove and attached.
- The final process is the pressing of the glove and the final inspection This is done on a heated glove hand which is made of brass. As the machinist presses the gloves, she checks it at the same time.
After all of this is complete, our gloves are delicately wrapped in tissue paper and packaged in a Cornelia James gift box before being sent to a very lucky lady. The effort and craftsmanship that goes into them will be seamless, just the way we like it, but they are the product of more than 9 feet of sewing and a whole lot of love.