Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Regency Era Fingerless Mitts

Pattern: Butterick 5370, view A.
Alterations?: Yes. Sizing and the shape of the top opening.
Fabric: Antique Silk sari, Indian. Heavily Embroidered. Very thin and fine.
Lining: Same sari silk without embroidery.
Eras: Suitable to the 18th century and through the very early 19th century.

Mitts are incredibly simple and so there really isn't much to this pattern. It is basically a rectangle with the thumb hole position marked, then the little thumb piece. The original pattern has a straight top, but I wanted the pointed fold-over look of the 18th century. It was nothing to just draw out the top with a point. Of course, this addition meant that I had to make other alterations not part of the original. Namely, lining.

Above is the pattern laid over the piece I cut, with the added "point". I added a little bit more width near the cuff edge, but it would turn out to not be nearly enough (see further down for details on sizing).

Due to the alteration I made to the top, it became necessary to do a lining (as the lining is what is seen on the folded back point). Also, the fabric I used was a antique sari silk, heavily laundered and very thin. Added to the fact it was heavily embroidered, and thus very rough on the back side, the lining would have been necessary anyway.

Below you can see the piece pinned to the lining after I have already sewn it to the top, right sides together, and turned it. After that step, I basted the lining to the piece and treated it as one piece.

Unfortunately, I neglected to take any pictures showing the thumb being stitched it. There really ins't much to see. If you are very careful cutting the thumb hole and thumb piece true, they fit up perfectly with a 1/8" seam.
Know this, though. The thumb must be stitching in BY HAND. If you attempt to get the piece under your sewing machine foot to do that tight curving 1/8" seam, you will only frustrate yourself and warp the thumb hole. Do it by hand. =)

The top of the thumb (shown inside out)

The underside of the thumb (shown inside out)

Now, here is where we get to the problem of sizing. This pattern simply has no size variation other than its length, which I find odd. A person with larger hands need not have a longer arm. In any case, the hand of this mitt runs, in my opinion, quite small. I added a 2" strip to the side seam (after realizing it was too small) and still could barely get my hand through without threatening the seams. Also, the mitt does not increase in width up the forearm at all. So unless your forearm happens to be the same circumference as the palm of your hand, this mitt won't fit any higher than your wrist. Also, the thumb piece comes in only one size. I wear size L women's glove, typically, and I was barely able to get my thumb knuckle through the piece.

*I would to thank my lovely assistant, Clyde, for serving as a mitt prop ;) 

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