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FEBRUARY 2010

I made this vanity tray as a Valentines gift for Louise Riley on the MiniDolls list and had several people ask me how I made the red leather gloves.

Of course, there are other tutorials on mini glovemaking; this just happens to be how I make mine.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS NEEDED:

Having a pair of real gloves to look at while you work is advisable.

Very thin leather (ultra suede works nicely too; even velvet gift ribbon)
Tiny no hole beads or other bits for trims, if desired. Chenille threads make nice fur trims
Very sharp small narrow blade scissors
Pen or pencil for marking, depending on material used
Needle tool (quilling tool)
Tacky glue
Iron

1. Fold a piece in half, slightly larger than the glove size, and cut a strip long enough for several pairs of gloves (in case you make mistakes, which I often do).  

2. Apply a thin layer of glue on the leather, spread it with fingers or a folded piece of card across the entire surface.

3. Fold it over and finger press along its length.  Then - and this is the key - iron it!  This fuses and flattens the layers and gives the doubled look of real gloves. Beside my iron I keep a spray bottle of water to spritz on fabrics and an old handkerchief to use as a pressing cloth. DON'T spray leather, however, as it will harden.( Ask me how I know.)

4. I have a pattern that I have used for years, covered with clear plastic tape for durability. It looks slightly larger than the gloves should be, which allows a margin for error as I shape the gloves, especially the fingers. Sorry but I can't duplicate it at the moment; our scanner won't work. If you just trace a doll's hand and forearm you can probably get the general shape, then draw in finger lines and fiddle until it looks glove-like!

5. Lay this pattern on the folded strip and trace around it twice with a pencil or pen.  Remember to reverse the glove for the second one.

6. Cut out the gloves like a thumbless mitten, CUTTING AWAY the exterior pen lines. 

7. Next I snip into the mitten to form the separate fingers, looking at the pattern (and the real glove) for guidance.  After that, I snip wee bits away to shape each finger.  Usually one side of the gloves looks better than the other; this becomes the visible top surface of my gloves.

8. I cut a thumb piece from the leather, slanting the top where it will be seamed against the inside of the gloves. Frankly, I just eyeball where it goes (and look once again at my real gloves). I once had an actual thumb piece pattern, but it's been lost lo these many years.

9. Sometimes I use my needle tool on its side to press a seam line along the fingers; this works best with the very thinnest leathers. If I want a hand-stitched look I use the needle tool to press tiny dots along all edges.  Usually just pressing into the leather is enough, especially if it is very smooth.  Sometimes I use a very fine point pen but have ruined many gloves in the process.  Well, actually I didn't really ruin ALL of them; I just turned them over and used the other side. lol

10. The final thing is shaping them onto whatever surface I am using, including in my doll's hands.  Gloves don't lie completely flat and straight; they have bits of curl and elevation.  I manipulate them so that the fingers are slightly bent, etc., and the top glove is at a slight angle to the bottom one. Once again, having a pair of real gloves to observe is very useful.

11. If I want trim on them, like a button or whatever, I add it ONLY after they are glued in place; otherwise I tend to accidentally brush them off as I work with the gloves anyway.



And that's how I made the red leather gloves.

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NOTE: I had a question from Thelma in Tucson about making gloves in quarter scale. Here is how I answered her:

If I were going to make gloves in quarter scale I would do essentially the same process, but would use paper cocktail napkins, silk ribbon, matte photo paper or possibly suede scrapbook paper.  If I were using silk ribbon, I would smooth a very thin layer of glue down the length of a piece of ribbon, then fold it back on itself like a sandwich, then either iron or finger press it.  This does two things; it gives two layers, which suggests an actual glove, and it seals the ribbon so that you can cut into it easily with very sharp little scissors and have no fraying.

I would cut a long mitten shape to begin with and then snip away until what was left looks like a glove.

It's all illusion and I think the key is in the shaping. In other words, I would not leave them totally flat and I would not leave a point on the fingertips.   If one sees what appears to be gloves and they are next to a hat, a purse, or on a vanity tray, the eye believes they are gloves.


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