Wednesday, April 13, 2011

18th Century Mitts

Next up from my weekend in Williamsburg: mitts!! I've always wanted a very pretty pair of mitts, but I could only find wool/linen mitts that were cut too big or too small. This way, I got to make a fancy set of mitts fit to me.
Here's an example of 18th century mitts (the painting is called the Lady with the Veil). I love the raspberry changeable silk with the blue lining. Isn't that a fantastic color combination?! It wouldn't work with any of my dresses, so I decided to go with something else. There's something very coquettish, though, about having the tip of the mitt flipped back to reveal the lining.Here was the inspiration for my project - a pair of silk mitts from Colonial Williamsburg's collection. It helped that there was a reproduction of these available to look at during the workshop. I made a simpler version of this pair: I ditched the inner arm cut-out, green accents instead of blue, no leather lining, and less embroidery because I just don't have the patience.Here I am getting the muslin for my mitt pattern fitted. There definitely seemed to be an art in getting things to fit properly. Sarah, from the Mantua Maker shop, was a pro and tugging, tucking, and otherwise getting the uncooperative fabric to conform to my hand. Here's a shot of the finished product (ignore the non-period fingernails). The fabric is a duchess silk satin. I saw it and immediately fell in love (I was actually holding another bolt of fabric for my mitts when I spotted this fabric underneath a pile on the fabric table). Little did a know that there's a story behind the fabric: the satin was a remnant from Vera Wang! Yes folks, I made a pair of mitts out of the fabric Vera Wang uses in her $5,000-and-up wedding dresses. Pretty neat, huh? Here's a shot with the tips flipped back to show off the sea-green silk taffeta lining.
I decided to finish the edge of my mitts the same in the same manner as my inspiration gloves: a herringbone embroidery stitch up the side in silk embroidery thread.
This is what it looks like when I'm wearing it. The camera didn't do a great job of capturing the stitches, but you get the gist.

5 comments:

Mom said...

The mitts are beautiful the herring bone or feather stitch is one of my favorites. I also like it on hems and on tablecloths but it provides just that tiny stretch that is helpful as you have used it in the mits!

Dani C said...

Beautiful work -- and what a fine score on the fabric! Thanks for showing the distinctive details like the herringbone stitching at the side. One big mystery: is the "S" on the inside wrist decorative or functional? (Ease to get over the wrist?)

Costume Diva said...

I never even though about whether or not the S was functional. When we discussed it in the workshop, it was always referred to as a decorative detail, but you might be onto something.

Lorna McKenzie said...

Love the mitts, the fabric, fit and embroidery, beautiful, I must make myself a pair, thanks for the inspiration

Anonymous said...

The S is fucntional when out into silk mitts. It allows them to have give to make them easier to put on and to take off.