Tuesday, December 3, 2013

18th Century Mitts in Progress

After Thanksgiving dinner, I had a sudden urge to get to work on some wool mitts.  I had planned on making them as part of my Christmas card outfit.  I was especially motivated to get them done after spending a few chilly hours in CW for a photo shoot without them!  I had my beautiful muff to keep my hands warm, and my nice wool-lined cloak to protect me from the wind, but of course the cloak doesn't stay closed very well and there was nothing covering my forearms.  So I resolved that the next time I go out in 18th Century clothing in the winter, I'm going to have some mitts!

Let me in, my forearms are cold!  
I started out by making a mock-up with scraps of muslin.  I traced around my arm to get the general shape, and then measured around my arm just below the elbow at the widest part.  I took half of that measurement and marked it at the bottom of my tracing, and used the difference between the two to approximate the outline of my finished mitt.  I added a 1/4" seam allowance and cut out my pattern piece.

You can see my original tracing line inside the line of pins.  
I had to add another piece at the top, as my original point was a bit off.

First try-on.  I moved the seam where the thumb meets the top of the hand to make it fit a little more snug after this.

When I was happy with the fit of the muslin (cut on the bias, of course), I traced the mock-up pieces onto newsprint to use as a permanent pattern.  I want to make a linen pair and a satin pair after this one.  However, I'm making the wool pair without seam allowances, as my scraps of wool were very small to start with.  I'm planning to line them with black satin, so I decided to sew them together with a decorative stitch, also in black.  So far I have one sewn together.

I had to add a piece at the point again, because the seams shifted around my arm when I put it on.  I added the extension using the same stitch, but in red so it would blend better.  I figured I'm not the first person to misjudge when cutting out a new garment, and that our ancestors probably had to piece things, too.

Once they are lined, the black will show when the point is turned back.

I might add more decorative stitching over the top of the wrist, like some of these historical examples:

No date given
18th Century


  1. Now I want a pair too! :) They look so cozy!


    1. You can live that dream! :p They're pretty easy to make.